To explore and develop practices which support the evolution of "inviting communities."
WHAT IS THE INVITING COMMUNITY?
Michael Herman published an online book in 2000 called "Inviting Organization" (http://www.globalchicago.net/ost/invitingorg/02contents.html) in which he first theorized about the existence of the "inviting organization." He described the inviting organization this way:
"We could theorize that this new, inviting organization goes beyond command-and-control, to a place and practice of post-and-host -- the posting of working invitations and hosting of working conversations. We could reason further that while there is much to achieve in organization, nobody wants to BE an achievement. And while people want to BE inspired, as soon as we put "inspire the troops" on our to-do list, we flatten spirit into just another doing. Invitation begins to resolve all of this -- because invitting is something we can DO as an ongoing practice and can aspire to BE as leaders and organizations."
Since then, working with organizations and communities around the world we have found that not only does the inviting organization exist, but the inviting community exists too. Although the two are similar, the practice of invitation in community is distinct and holds great promise for creating transformative places on earth where people learn and contribute to their communities through invitation.
The Ashoka Institute for Community Practice is devoted to uncovering practices that support the emergence of the inviting community. Central to this work is the practice of Open Space Technology which enables groups in communities to create invitations to action and transformation. We are interested in applications of Open Space Technology in community, but we are also interested in further extending the practice of invitation among people in communities.
PROGRAMS AND PUBLICATIONS
The AICP will publish research and white papers on aspects of the emergence of the inviting community, including papers covering governance, community practice and innovative community processes. Papers will be drafted and published free of charge on the world wide web.
The AICP will also provide an online collaborative Wiki web to make information available and to invite the world to participate in the development of knowledge and practice relating to the "inviting community."
The AICP endeavours to sponsor conferences and gatherings using Open Space Technology to bring together practitioners and thinkers who might contribute to the evolution of knowledge and practice relating to the inviting community.
The AICP has no budget and no offices. It runs on the passion and responsibility of its contributors. You are invited to contribute to the work of the Institute.
The name "Ashoka" embodies the kinds of practice that the institute is interested in exploring. The founders of the AICP were inspired by the story of King Ashoka, one of the greatest rulers of Ancient India. King Ashoka is one of the finest examples of spiritual transformation in history. He brought nearly all his country, along with Baluchistan (present day Pakistan) and Afghanistan under his repressive rule. But following his victories of the third century B.C.E. King Ashoka suffered a crisis of conscience, feeling deep remorse at the suffering he had caused and became a devout Buddhist. He embraced non-violence and sent emissaries throughout the country to teach the Buddhist path of enlightenment. Later King Ashoka sent his sons, all of whom were enlightened, to neighbouring countries where the Dharma was introduced and took root.
King Ashoka brought the Dharma to the running of his Empire elevating human dignity through new found freedom economically, socially and spiritually. The Dharma and the arts flourished, the people rejoiced and the nation flourished. Essentially, according to the teachings of Buddhism, Dharma can be interpreted as the Natural Law or, simply put, the way things work. It has as its fragrance, harmlessness of spirit.
In December 2002, the AICP founders met at Ashoka House on Bowen Island, Canada, a retreat owned by Anne Ironside and named for King Ashoka. The occasion of the meeting was a practice workshop on Open Space Technology convened by Chris Corrigan and Michael Herman. From this workshop flowed a number of initiatives including the idea for an institute devoted to the understanding and development of invitation as a community practice. In pursuing this mission, we are inspired both by King Ashoka’s story and by the first meeting at Ashoka House.
The AICP is a brainchild of a few people who have contributed in many ways to its birth. Then Penny started telling others and the list just went on and on...
DO YOU ASHOKA?