Power Guide

LAST UPDATE: 08.08.22

Living systems for thriving groups: supporting you to organise collaboratively

By Navigate


Navigate is a team of experienced facilitators and trainers. This resource is an online course they've developed to help groups thrive by creating and maintaining living social systems that work for them and fit their values.

By “Living Systems” they mean the ongoing ways of handling things like making decisions, engaging with conflict, or organising support. These may be clearly agreed and spoken about (explicit), or just the way things happen (implicit).

The course is designed to give you perspectives on systems, and specific options that you might want to adapt that have worked for other groups or organisations. It will also offer pathways to engage in the process of developing and agreeing the systems with everyone concerned.

Make sure you read/watch the introduction before starting, as there’s important background stuff in there.

Introduction to Living Systems

What we mean by “Living Social/Organisational Systems”, why we think they are important (and can’t be avoided), and how to collaboratively develop them as dynamic 3-dimensional realities that support what you want to happen to actually happen.

Purpose & Power

The importance of establishing clear shared purpose for any group, and the many ways that different imbalances of power can impact our ability to collaborate and care for ourselves and each other. Ways to address power dynamics that will have negative consequences through establishing clear, agreed Living Systems

Decision Making Systems

Exploring ways of developing clear collaborative decision making systems that support effective autonomous working and find ways forward that everyone can support when there is significant disagreement. Two key areas are getting clear on who is involved in which decisions, and what the process is for making different decisions.

Conflict Engagement Systems

Conflict is coming whenever we work or live together, and can destroy or evolve our collaboration. What creates the conditions that support a group to respond to it quickly and transformatively, untangling hurt and mistrust in relationships, building togetherness and addressing the practical and systemic conditions with action.

Feedback Systems

Feedback understood as information about what effect things are having is essential in sustaining and evolving a group. Creating the conditions to sense and respond to the feedback that is useful for us, helping us grow together.

Care & Support Systems

What support do we need to act as we want to, and what have we got in place to ensure we can access that when we need it? How will we care for each other and ourselves, in practical, reliable ways?

Connection & Community Systems

How do we grow a sense of community and connection amongst us, building trust and togetherness? How do we recognise, value and celebrate ourselves, each other and our work, and how do we mourn losses and challenges, etc.? What helps us stay connected to the things that we value, care about and are inspired by?

Resource Distribution Systems

What are we doing to care for and share the resources that we have in ways that fulfil our purpose and care for the people involved sustainably? Resources include our capacity, time, energy, abilities, knowledge, and material resources like a building or money.

Information Flow Systems

What are we doing to share information and make it accessible to those who need it in easy ways?

Sign-up to the course for free.