Organising Cycle

The Organising Cycle is a model used by alliances like ours. It is based on the model first used overseas by the Industrial Areas Foundation.

The first step is building relationships

We use relational meetings to find leaders among diverse communities and organisations, and to bring them into relationships with each other. 
Relationships are the foundation of our work.

In the relational meetings we have identified leaders. In the next phase, the leaders run listening campaigns.

Listening campaigns

Listening campaigns can take many forms, from one-to-ones to large gatherings, to small group meetings called table talks.

They can happen in workplaces, community halls, in people’s homes, or on Zoom. 

In the listening campaign’s purpose is to find stories and problems, as well as to identify leaders and build relationships. 

Discernment, research and planning

After listening, the next step in our organising cycle is discernment, research, and planning.

It is where we order and prioritise what we have heard in the listening campaign, and make decisions about which items we want to work on. In discernment, issues are chosen based on what people commit to working on

Following discernment, we form research-action teams around the issue. These groups do research, including meeting academic experts, to identify solutions. They also do power analysis: looking closely at who the decision-makers are who can deliver on solutions, and what it would take to move them to make our solutions a reality.


After all that work we come now to action, to move the decision-makers to adopt our solution.

Action can take place in many ways. It typically includes telling stories that emerged from the listening campaigns. It also includes negotiating with decision-makers to get a commitment. 


After an action, we always evaluate. We reflect on what we have achieved and learnt from our experience. This helps us to keep on improving and building on our actions.

This diagram of a typical discernment process out lines the questions we ask our membership, and steps we take to identify winnable policy changes for our communities.