Swarm is our program on decentralized organization which asks the question: how do we engage thousands more people in our organizations? What we've learned from a diverse range of contexts and disciplines (including biology, complex systems, network theory, and open-source software) is that our groups need structures that maximize members' autonomy and unity.  

Topics covered include:

* What is decentralized organization & why do we need distributed leadership?
* Who do you need to engage & how are you going to pull them in?
* Challenges of creating a culture of self-organizing
* Roles and core activities in a decentralized organization 
* Mass training as a tool for engagement

In response to a great deal of interest, we held Swarm trainings in April & November 2015 and May 2016. We do not have a date for our next Swarm training at this point, so please check back regularly & JOIN OUR MAILING LIST for future updates.




SWARM 1: What is Decentralized Organization? Part 1

In this module we describe the basic trends and environment that around decentralized organization. 


SWARM 2: What is Decentralized Organization? Part 2

Here we seek to explain the dynamics of centralization and decentralization, and where your organization falls on that spectrum. We also go over the basic language needed to understand, design and build decentralized organizations.


SWARM 3: How Things get done in a Decentralized Organization?

In this module we focus on the five major characteristics of decentralized organization. First, we start with the management structure: what is the difference between command & control, on the one hand, and self-management, on the other? Second, we dive into the culture of your organization: is the priority production or relationships? Third, we ask: how are resources and decision-making distributed-- are they hoarded by a few or shared among many? Fourth, we proceed to understand how roles and responsibilities are organized. Lastly, we conclude with the importance of infrastructure for communication.


SWARM 4: Self-Organizing Decentralized Network Part 1 

In collaboration with Samantha Corbin of Movement Netlab, we explain the different shapes of decentralized networks and formal organizations, including the elements of each network and the condition for its health. We thank Movement Netlab for their collaboration on this training!


SWARM 5: Self-Organizing Decentralized Networks Part 2

In this module we seek to explain deeply the different components of a self-organizing decentralized network. You can find more information about this presentation and the work of Movement Netlab here: http://movementnetlab.org


SWARM 6: Self-Organizing Decentralized Networks (Scales & Ecology) Part 3

In this module we focus on the different scales that we are trying to reach with our organizations and how to organize those people in multiple layers. We also analyze the dynamics of how different organizations relate to each other in an ecosystem.


In this module, we seek to understand the function of your organization. While many organizations have a nicely written mission statement about what they do, most of the time the mission doesn't align with reality. Lissy and James walk participants through understanding the function of their organizations in relation to the broader ecosystem. 


In this module we focus on the different activities needed in an organization to be healthy.


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La Minka Webinar Series



La Minka means “working together” in Quechua the language spoken by the indigenous people of the Andes, but for thousands of years people from every culture have developed methods for coordinating the work of thousands of people. In Ayni, we have been pulling from the tradition of many disciplines and cultures to develop tools to help people work together in new and old ways. This series is designed for anyone thinking about how to improve the efficiency and and collaborative efforts within their organizations and movements, or trying to decentralize aspects of their work.

The series will have four parts:

SWARM Practices April 14 | 7 PM

In the Alinsky model there are roles for one organizer, ten leaders, and one hundred followers. That means that one hundred people in the model are only asked to show up with their bodies, while ten leaders get them there, and one organizer holds all the rest of the roles. What if we turned that group into a village of 150 people holding roles and sharing work together? Button technology will change the way your teams work for the better and bring more of your people from the margins to the center. 



Mass Training Culture April 20 | 7 PM

To make gains on Black Liberation, Queer Liberation, Environmental and Reproductive Justice, and all the different front line struggles, our movements must reach a mass scale that we have not yet seen. Mass Training Culture is all about how to prepare your organization to disseminate a shared story, strategy, and structure that thousands of people can plug into to take action. We will cover the steps you will need to take before, during, and after your trainings to reach the scale you need.

How to run a T4T April 27 | 7 PM

It is one thing to know something. It is another thing to turn that knowledge into a an engaging training to teach people what you know. It is entirely something else to prepare people to also run those trainings, but there is little else that can grow the capacity of your movement than developing more people who can train leaders and teams in your network. This webinar will cover everything you need to know to develop your own set of trainers within your movement or organization.


Achieving and Maintaining Your Craft  TBA

In the Art of War, Sun Tzu says that a group of six generals can defeat an army of 10,000 because in a short amount of time the generals will have created an army of 20,000. To become a general in the field of social change, one must become a master of the craft of leadership. This webinar will cover a set of knowledge, attitudes, and practices that will help you work smarter, pace yourself, manage your energy levels, delegate more efficiently and effectively, and achieve discipline. It is impossible to have a strong collective without strong individuals and vice versa.