Friday, September 6, 2013

Campaign groups: try being more Troi

Last time I blogged about the Friends of the Earth Campaign Organisers programme (which FYI is now live and seeking applicants) I was mulling over how to explain a potentially complex proposition simply.

All I needed to do, it seems, is remember that Star Trek The Next Generation is an excellent way of making sense of the world and group dynamics. 

Naturally, what follows below is my own decidely unofficial thinking, and if you want 'hat-on' explanation and discussion you should go to the link above or the Campaign Hub. But writing this here allows me to be a little more playful, more experimental and try this out with you.

So, let me know what you think. :-)

The Campaign Organisers Programme is a way of helping our local campaign groups be bigger, better and more successful by helping them be more like Deanna Troi.

Confused? Allow me to explain.

We have great Picards, ship's captains in a non-hierarchical sense, coordinators of local groups, leaders, people with their eye on the overall plan and direction.

We also have lots of brilliant first officers (Rikers bearded or otherwise) - campaigners, issues experts, field commanders. As a campaigning movement, how could we not have these people?

We could always, use more Picards, more Rikers. They're awesome,

But what we also really need - and what the Campaign Organisers Programme is designed to give us - is more Troi's.

People with both eyes on the involvement, nurturing and empowerment of others. People who bring other people into a group, who understand their wants and needs and help them get involved, creating spaces for support and shared learning. 

Campaigners, yes, but catalysts too.

Because the only way this movement of ours is going to grow long-term, the only way we're going to change things as much as we want, is if groups look after their people, old hands and new crew alike, and help them grow.

There are local groups out there already doing much of this, and I'm not saying a Picard or a Riker can't also be something of a Troi at the same time. Equally, I know from my own experience in groups how difficult it is to keep your eye on two bottom lines simultaneously, however compatible they might be.

So, the role matters and needs dedicated attention. We know what our own best practice is and we can run a kick-ass training programme to share it. We know we can learn from other movements like Transition too. 

Let's make it happen then. Consider signing up yourself, or recommending it to others inside or outside local groups.

Campaign Organisers: a new tradition of empathic campaigning. Build the movement. Nurture others. Win the game. Be more Troi.

Are you in?

Postscript: here's the Facebook debate my Trek metaphor originally provoked. Many thanks to Dave, Matt and Stu for their contributions.