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Cassie Robinson

Making good compost

Endings can be a natural consequence of growth—when organisations or a whole sector reach a point when there is too much going on and insufficient resources to go around. Civil society organisations which have grown very rapidly and expanded their services can end up losing their focus and effectiveness. Even if a sector is needed more than ever and has a lot of demand, it can get stuck. It can experience too much activity and too little progress.

We use metaphors from the natural world, and the first is the idea of pruning—when trees and plants that grow quickly need to be “pruned” to focus their nutrients. This pruning process also helps to remove disease or excessive growth. This is where the idea of composting is important. Composting improves the soil. It provides nutrients. It stimulates the ecosystem. It builds health. If we don’t consider organisational endings, we lose the chance to leave things in a better way than when we found them. We don’t consider what would make better compost. This is all part of the processes of change, adaptation and transitions.


KEYWORDS: transformation, growth, futuring, defuturing, contra-innovation

This session is supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

RSD12-Toronto and RSD12-ONLINE




Citation Data

Author(s): Cassie Robinson
Year: 2023
Title: Stewarding Loss—For Hopeful Futures
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Toronto, CAN | ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 3 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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