Organisation and Structure of the Radical Think Tank (RTT)

The organisation is structured around “projects” and “ways of working”.

Projects.

RTT will comprise of a number of research projects. People would commit to these for the duration of the project but not necessarily need to have any ongoing RTT commitment after the completion of them. However this commitment would be clear and solid for the duration of the project. As long as the research project was within the general aims of RTT anyone could initiate a project and make a commitment to joining in a project’s research team or network. This way the organisation with have an open structure and be able to involve the maximum number of people finding out and contributing data. This would work a bit like the crowd-sourced models used in areas such as astronomy where people can given some data to collect and analyse. So for example a RTT project make want to collect data on how empowering people find meetings. A standard questionnaire could be produced online which can be downloaded and people anywhere can join the project, use the questionnaire to get data at the end of campaign meetings and then enter the data onto a aggregating openly accessible programme they can access directly. This then is the future of open source collaborative research – getting lots of data from many people and sharing it freely rather than the old model of the “expert” researcher trying to do it all by themselves and hiding and restricting access to their results.

Ways of Working.

Open networks only work well if they have clear rules and norms. And these need to be rooted in and reflect the ethical and political values of the network. A provisional summary of a ways of working text would be the follows:

  1. RTT is a participatory organisation which aims to encourage involvement and give respect to all its members regardless of background.
  2. It’s meeting and organisation will make decisions by consensus and aim to use creative methods to come to the best collective decisions
  3. It’s projects will have clear aims and the commitment of those working on the project will be well spelled out. People will then be expected to fulfil their commitments.
  4. RTT will set clear short term aims which are attainable so it is clear where the organisation is headed. Such aims with be set at full meetings of the collective using an outside facilitator if needed.
  5. Any major conflict or disagreement in the collective will be dealt with by using mediation techniques and members will be expected to participate in such processes if the need arises.
  6. RTT will aim to make all its activities enjoyable and fun. These involve ways to create good will and support between members such as sharing food, social events – and generally keeping it light!

Of course developing and improving on these ways of working is a project in itself and as RTT learns about good and creative practice in other organisations and networks it would wish to incorporate these ideas into its own ways of working.

We currently have three levels of commitment and involvement conceptualised:

Administrators/core organisers.

This would include Roger and maybe 2-3 other people who would meet regular and deal with the administration, social media etc. Some or all of these people could be paid by RTT to do this work in the medium to longer term.

A collective of supporting academics and/or activists.

Maybe we could have 10-20 people who would put their name to the organisation as “members”. They would contribute ideas, and advice and provide links to other networks. They could be involved in specific research projects. Four times a year we could have a meet up to decide on aims and projects and continue these dialogues through social media.

A wider social media linked networks.

These might be people on an email list or subscribing to the blog or friends of the facebook page etc. They would be interested in being kept in touch with development but have no active involvement.

radicalthinktank@gmail.com

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