• images
  • February 9, 2016

In most fields of human endeavour, there is no one accepted definitive correct paradigm. Instead we see a range of alternatives, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Individuals must pick an option after assessing the available options against their own criteria. GTD is the only great task management method This is not the case...

It’s the organising, stupid, or, why field campaigning isn’t everything
  • images
  • December 20, 2015
It’s the organising, stupid, or, why field campaigning isn’t everything

Effective tactics without grassroots structures will fail to build lasting power.

More and more campaigns are embracing individual contact as a way of shifting public opinion. Political parties are trying to win votes, while civic society groups from unions to anti-fracking/pro-food groups are also getting in on the action. In a way, it’s very encouraging. Personal contact is a particularly authentic and non-manipulative tactic. I also...

Hahrie Han on how relationships improve mobilisation

I have shocking news for you: people are more likely to take action if a relationship exists. The are particular ideas associated with relational engagement, and using these ideas can improve mobilisation outcomes. This is my takeaway from an upcoming paper by Hahrie Han: The Organizational Roots of Political Activism: Field Experiments on Creating a...

The role of stories in organising

Earlier this year I completed a course in organising with Marshall Ganz: Leadership, Organizing and Action. Ganz’ deconstructs organising into five crafts: public narrative, relationships, structure, strategy, and action. In this post I summarise and explore Ganz’ treatment of public narrative. All unsourced quotations come from the course – which is now accepting applications for...

“Launching a Leadership Revolution”, Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward

Blimey I’ve read a lot of books about leadership. Over time, they get less useful. This is because, firstly, I’ve read the great ones and am now reading the less great ones, and, secondly, because I start out already knowing more of what they have to say. This point came home to me with Launching...

Retain volunteers with intrinsically-motivating work

Just because the work is important, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be rewarding. Civic associations depend upon volunteers to get their work done. But sometimes they trust that the purpose is enough to motivate volunteers – solving climate change is important! reducing poverty! tackling domestic violence! While purpose is motivational, work itself can be designed to be...

Groups are fascinating things. Sometimes you’re in a group and everything seems to go so well, it’s almost like magic. Other times – much more often, I fear – groups are a burden. Communication is poor, decision-making is chaotic, and things aren’t getting done. Jo Freeman’s “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” is a 1970 paper that...

Living in Canberra as I do, it’s no surprise that at a recent party I found myself in a conversation about the ethics of canvassing voters. With Taylor Swift in the background, a few peers and I discussed whether it was manipulative to have personal conversations with voters with the aim of getting them to...

How Organizations Develop Activists

NB – this is a long post! (2300 words). You probably won’t be inclined to read it if you have half-heartedly come here while checking on Facebook. Maybe bookmark it? Clip it to Evernote? Or just promise yourself.  There probably aren’t many people who would decide what to read by opening Amazon’s Kindle section and...

we still have our bodies

On Sunday 2 November, Brisbane Airport rejected a climate change billboard as “too political”. The billboard was the initiative of a handful of climate and environment NGOs who sought to reach G20 leaders arriving in Brisbane before the G20 Leaders’ Summit beginning on 15 November. Brisbane Airport tweeted @GuardianAus We don’t accept any political ads,...