Values, ethics and practice


Here are some themes and words we find meaningful, and which guide our relationships within the co-operative and our work in the wider world –

  • Advocates and agitators for change. Rhizome exists to support those who want to make change. We share that desire. We’re also constantly agitating for better processes to deliver that change.
  • Collaborative decision-making. We use consensus decision-making and co-facilitate wherever possible, for example
  • Common ownership. Rhizome is a co-operative, and our resources are available freely under a Creative Commons license
  • Continuing improvement and learning. We regularly co-facilitate to ensure that we learn from each other. We evaluate every session, with the group and with our co-facilitator. We’re learning geeks. Standing still doesn’t interest us. We also share thoughts on our blog, and at our co-operative gatherings which happen 2 or 3 times a year.
  • Fairness. We couldn’t be a co-op that uses consensus and agitates for change in the world if we weren’t interested in fairness. The difficulty is in putting it into practice: in making sure all of our facilitators are treated equally and have equal access to work; in making sure we’re fair with all the groups we work with, and assert ourselves to be treated fairly in return
  • Friendliness. Doesn’t cost anything, so why not?
  • Focus on supporting effective change. In all our work we aim to make ‘catalytic interventions’ – that is to leave individuals, groups and organisations changed for the better, and more able to make change for the better
  • Good interpersonal communications
  • Mutual support. Our co-operative structure provides freelance trainers, facilitators and mediators with a way of giving and receiving mutual support. Indeed it’s what attracted most of our members to Rhizome in the first place. We also adhere to the co-operative principles which include mutual support and co-operation between co-ops
  • Open source development. From the very start we’ve adopted an attitude that your input makes us stronger. We see ourselves as a resource for the community and one to be shaped by that community – we welcome input via comments on the blog, or whatever other method takes your fancy
  • Participation. We have chosen a participatory structure for Rhizome. We try to ensure we work in participatory ways – involving groups in the planning and delivery of our work. We work with participation – developing new ways for groups to interact as equals
  • Radical. We try to be radical in all that we do. That may be politically, in the nature of our relationships with one another, or in terms of the work that we deliver
  • Transparency. We use our blog to report back on our work (both when it’s going well and when it’s not), and produce an annual summary to let you know who we’re working with and the issues we’re wrestling with
  • Trust. The rest of this list becomes meaningless without trust.

Why not just write a policy? We talked about that. Everyone has ethical and environmental policies these days, from governments to arms manufacturers. Policies are ten a penny. We’ve decided that for now we want our values to live, breathe and possibly grow and change – we want to share the concepts with you here and then share the practice with you through our blog. We’ll be taking the value of transparency seriously, posting regular thoughts and evaluations of our work in practice, sharing the tough choices we might sometimes need to make, posting information about our ongoing ecological and social footprint. And of course we’ll be asking you to interact with us every step of the way.


Back to About Rhizome


4 thoughts on “Values, ethics and practice

  1. Nice set of words. Some more words I like and try to express through my work are: innovation, flexibility, adaptability, being responsive to what is happening around us, balancing structure with emergent strategy and practice, reflective use of power, an ethic of service, assuring quality, harnessing the power of intention, whole systems approaches.

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