I went to the Barnardo’s Social Innovation Lab breakfast meetup on the topic of breaking down hierarchies.
It was interesting to hear other people talking about the hierarchies of authority and how we can build networks that provide different ways for different people to hold power. My way of thinking immediately conceives of hierarchies and networks from a systems interaction point of view, so it’s good for me to get a more people orientated perspective.
One of the ideas we talked about was how hierarchies create spaces, and how access to those spaces is controlled. There are spaces that certain people aren’t invited too, or are given limited and temporary access but then excluded from. And there are people who gain access to those kinds of space through informal means such as being focused on a mission, rather than through formal means such as their role. Perhaps it is only by accessing those guarded spaces that those outside the hierarchy can influence it. Different environments create different conversations and so it’s important for those higher up in the hierarchy to stay connected to others in other positions to be able to make empathetic decisions.