Tools for Viable Organizing – Kyle Thompson


Tools for Viable Organizing

Tools for Viable Organizing

Kyle Thompson

This article is also available in PDF form, suitable for printing.Organizing is difficult, and often exhausting work. It means bringing together strangers and facing a hostile environment along with them.

To help, this pamphlet introduces the structure for developing viable organizations. By viability, I mean the ability to adapt to and survive changes in the environment. The structure of viable organizations lets members share important information with those who need it, while filtering out noise. This ability to adapt and channel information allows for quick responses to danger or need, without losing sight of the big picture.

This structure has been used in many co-ops, as well as in the democratic revolution of 1970-1973 in Chile.

The Viable System Model

The Viable System Model (VSM) gives us this structure for building viable organizations. We can also use it to check if our organizations are set up to survive hostile environments. Any viable system should look like the VSM, so don’t be surprised if you are already doing a lot of what it suggests.

The VSM has six parts, called systems. These don’t need to be their own offices or committees, but every viable organization should somehow include all six functions…

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Tools for Viable Organizing