Software Aids Collaboration
Loomio is a software program designed to enable collaboration. The Loomio organisation is a cooperative social enterprise from New Zealand, a part of the Enspiral Group, which in turn is partially funded by the Ministry of Social Development.
Loomio software enables people to go online, talk about ideas, share perspectives and build agreement through either agreeing, disagreeing, abstaining or blocking the idea, eventually leading to a collective decision on future action. The real outcome is that those with an interest in the idea have a platform to engage in the decision making process without coming up against traditional barriers to communication.
Loomio started out as a platform for activists, however over the years has developed into a tool for civil society. Governments have begun to utilise Loomio. Organisations are learning to use Loomio as an alternative to hard-to-follow email threads, or even as an alternative to social media. Loomio is used by more than 20,000 people thoughout 100 countries.
This type of software is in it infancy. Whether Loomio will become the industry standard or whether others will take its place are yet to be seen, but its the start of a new way of making decision, one that is aided and supported by technology and one that enables democratic decision making.
This trend is driven by a younger set of people in the workplace, seeking new ways of working and seeking to be engaged in decision making processes. They will not be satisfied with management platitudes promising involvement, they are not ready to wait in the queue for someone else to give them permission to engage; this group of people will expect employers to not only provide access to this technology, but also enable its use throughout their organisation.
There are two key management takeaway from the adaptation of new technology. The first is that adaptation will be driven by future employees. Management will need to adapt to attract the right people. The second takeaway is that once the lid is lifted on the technology bottle, there is no putting it back in the bottle. The only course available then is to learn how to use the knowledge that is floating around.