Tag Archives: Renee Owen

Rainbow Community School, Asheville, NC

Logo Rainbow Community SchoolRainbow Community School is a private, independent school serving 42 preschoolers and about 120 students from kindergarten through eighth grade in Asheville, North Carolina. For more than 35 years, we have been a national leader in alternative, holistic and contemplative education.

The essay by Renee Owen, “Educating the Innovation Generation, Part IV, How Can School Create and Innovative Culture” discusses the school’s reasons for using sociocracy (Dynamic Governance).

Rainbow Community School, Asheville, NC

Logo Rainbow Community SchoolA hierarchy is very efficient. For example, during a crisis, a leader can issue life-saving orders; but it comes with inherent problems. In addition to the equitability issues involved with a hierarchical structure, innovative ideas from the bottom of the hierarchy don’t make their way to the top, creating stagnation. On the other hand, a grassroots approach, where all individuals have equal voice and power, creates a lot of great ideas, but typically lacks the efficiency to be highly productive; especially in a school where teachers can end up with overwhelming administrative responsibilities and “political” concerns in addition to their classroom duties. Dynamic Governance is a sophisticated “both/and” approach to structuring an organization. It makes appropriate use of the efficiency of a hierarchy, yet at specific times the hierarchy dissolves and everyone has an equal voice for making decisions by consent. Dynamic Governance, if instituted adeptly, melts toxicity, and gives everyone the motivation, power, and tools to be highly innovative and productive. It’s truly the best of both worlds.

Renee Owen, Educating the Innovation Generation, Part IV: how Can Schools Create an Innovative Culture. 13 March 2014. Renee Owen is Executive Director of The Rainbow Community School in Asheville, North Carolina, (Formerly the Mountain School, established in 1977). Rainbow emphasizes Seven Domains: Spiritual, Mental, Creative, Emotional, Social, Natural, and Physical which represent the colors of the rainbow.

Videos on Sociocracy by People Using It

The  Sociocracy Consulting Group website  has a collection a of resources including videos explaining sociocracy and featuring people who are using sociocracy in their organizations.  A sampling of those available is listed below. At this writing they are all on one page, just scroll down to find the ones you would like to watch. (The links within each listing are to the organizations represented, not the videos.)

  • Excerpts from Ted Millich’s documentary Beyond Democracy.
  • Paul Kervick from Living Well, an award-winning health care organization in Bristol MA.
  • Renee Owen, Executive Director of Rainbow Mountain Children’s School in Asheville, NC.
  • Clips of several members of a permaculture group, Lost Valley Educational Center and intentional community.
  • A series of videos by Nathaniel Whitestone of Aptivate and Decision Lab in Great Britain that introduce the principles and methods of sociocracy. Nathaniel is also very involved with cooperative organizations in the UK.

There are also a number of videos on  YouTube, including copies of these, though at this point the ones collected at the Sociocracy Consulting site are the most accurate and useful.

Please let us know if you find additional videos. We would like to index them so people can find them. The examples of organizations using sociocracy are growing exponentially so it is difficult to track them.