Building Global Grassroots Democracy - Lessons from Collaboration Incubator


How might we build global grassroots democracy that enables us to create a future that nurtures us and the planet?

This compelling vision brought together a group of diverse artists, designers, community builders, social scientists, healers, teachers and entrepreneurs, to gather together at the Dream Farm Commons, a beautiful artist run exhibition and project space in downtown Oakland, California.

At a time when the notion of democracy itself seems to be under siege at a global scale, I was intrigued and drawn to join this gathering to rethink democracy as a bottom-up grassroots movement.

The intense 3 day “Collaboration Incubator” facilitated by Manuela Bosch, Vanilla Way Network, offered a fresh new way of approaching democracy-building, rooted in generative-based frameworks such as Theory U, Social Presencing Theater and Dragon Dreaming, weaving intuition, activism and embodiment work to envision and co-create desired futures to navigate complex challenges at hand. This was one of several Incubators that have taken place already and will continue to be offered in 2019 (see end of post for more info).


Several key themes emerged that appear to be essential building blocks for grass-roots democracy building — connecting with the deeply personal, building trust and relationships for deeper and more intuitive context sharing, and connecting with place-based hubs for local actions.

I found the practice of exploring my own inner journey and building collective trust as an essential element before collective vision setting, and is something that is frequently overlooked by many social change agendas. The following describes some techniques for using these building blocks to create a sacred container — a “generative holding space” for activating and manifesting our highest collective potential as movement builders and social change agents.

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