An appreciative audience for Crowd Wise

I spent the afternoon in London on Wednesday at a meeting of the Capacity Building Forum. You may be glad to know that there was, finally, talk of agreeing a new name (the current one hardly trips off the tongue) and creating a website so that the outside world can locate and get involved with the Forum. Essentially it’s an informal gathering of staff from various network based campaigning organisations, with a few odds and ends like Rhizome thrown in for good measure.

An hour of the agenda was given over to a skillshare on Crowd Wise, which Perry came along to offer, with Adam from the Fairtrade Foundation and myself as backing vocalists. When we’d suggested Crowd Wise as a topic for the day, I knew there would be interest, but it was actually met with very palpable excitement.

We tried out the method, and whilst Perry added up the votes from our practice session, Adam and I took questions on our recent experiment with Crowd Wise as part of a consultation with Fairtrade Foundation campaigners. The questions we were asked give a glimpse of why people are finding Crowd Wise exciting. There were several questions just to clarify the possibilities –  for example how were people kept in touch with the process when, like with the Fairtrade Foundation, Crowd Wise was used over a series of events.

We also talked about marginal voices – were they really heard in the process? Our experience from recent work is yes. The group builds a collaborative way forward that includes recognisable elements of those voices. Indeed 2 such voices attended a feedback meeting I ran for the Fairtrade Foundation, and seemed in no way resentful that the outcome ignored their views.

We also had a short discussion on whether Crowd Wise brought the possibility of consensus to organisations with hierarchical structures. The answer? Yes. And this is where a lot of the excitement lay. I suspect Perry might be kept busy over coming months and years….

Matthew

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