Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds is a new book by social justice facilitator and writer adrienne maree brown. adrienne is the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. Emergent Strategy builds upon that anthology's obsession for shaping the future in unconventional ways, sharing the lineage, core principles and elements of emergent strategy. It features interviews with activists, and a toolbox of spells, rituals and emergent strategy activities that anyone can use in their creative and organizing work.
Emergent strategy is rooted in emergence science, where “complex patterns and systems arise from relatively simple interactions, such as the murmuration of a flock of birds” says brown. In the book, brown builds upon ideas from writers and philosophers such as Octavia Butler, Margaret Wheatley, and Grace Lee Boggs. She shares core principles of emergent strategy such as adaptation, decentralization, interdependence, creating possibility, resilience, transformative justice, and nonlinear change.
“It feels especially important now that we are in this period of immense change, where a lot of suffering and oppression is being unveiled,” says brown. “If we continue to pretend change is a linear process we can control, we will miss out on what’s available to us now. Instead of reacting to current conditions and trying to push the pendulum back towards us, how can we use this opportunity to turn all of society towards justice, liberation, equity and equality?”
Emergent Strategy is for people who are actively working to change the world, people who are tired of the way organizing has been done and want to experiment with new methods, and people who are funding these new approaches to the work.
The book shares the core principles of emergent strategy within individual, community, and movement contexts. It also includes a “toolbox” with hands-on activities such as “Emergent Agenda Building”, a new inclusive approach to meetings and planning processes which decentralizes power by helping the group collectively identify the most important conversations they need to be engaging in.
“One of my goals for this is to liberate people from strategic plans, because often as the conditions change we can’t keep up” says brown. “What if we were invited to create strategic intentions instead, and build movement from that place, knowing that we will adapt together to get there?”
Facilitation, Trainings, and Presentations
adrienne maree brown offers facilitation and trainings to help groups, organizations and movements bring emergent strategy principles into their work. She is available for events including emergent strategy facilitation trainings, immersions, presentations and readings. brown has been facilitating professionally for over fifteen years, and has worked with hundreds of organizations at all levels of scale including informal collectives, foundations, national networks and more.
Here is some of what she has to offer:
In this training you will learn the basics of emergent strategy, and identify best practices for facilitation using the tools and strategies shared in the book. This training is six hours or more.
This is a loosely structured convening for people who are already using emergent strategy and would like to share and create new strategies together. An immersion can be between 1-3 days.
brown will read excerpts from “Emergent Strategy,” and engage in a community conversation around best practices for emergent strategy.
brown is particularly interested in adding Emergent Strategy events in the locations listed below (where she is already scheduled to visit in 2017), while continuing to add new cities to the tour.
- Bay Area
- Buffalo, NY
- New York
If you are interested in hosting an event at your school, organization, or community center, fill out the booking form here. brown is especially excited to build with local community groups that may not be affiliated with colleges and institutions, young folks who are just beginning their political journey, and national networks and alliances.