Biodynamics for Everyone – A New Strategy

Toni Weir, secretary of Biodynamics New Zealand, reports on a focused inquiry process which has given the organisation a new strategy for the future.

The Biodynamic Conference this year was experienced in a new way. For the first time we ‘met’ online, and each speaker beamed in from their own farm or garden to give us their words of wisdom. It was a bit of a watershed in our biodynamic world. We opened our minds to another way of ‘doing things round here’.

In May, your Biodynamics New Zealand Council also opened their minds to new ways. Gathered together, acknowledging members past and present and no longer present, they agreed that Biodynamics New Zealand can no longer just continue in the same furrow; it has to change how it works in order to enable it to continue to support people in their biodynamic journeys

So, with big help from Herbert Wolpert, who is a great facilitator, and using the Bernard Lievegoed process, they embarked on a day of deep digging, some composting and a little bit of seed sowing. The result is a brand-new strategy and a commitment to the governing body (council) making decisions and management (staff) implementing them. (Bernard Lievegoed founded NPI, the Netherlands Pedagogical Institute, which works with organisations to help realise their economic, social and cultural goals.)

To begin the process, the different areas of the organisation were considered. Governance is a leadership task: vision, values, strategy and networking. Management includes roles and responsibilities, processes, finances and resources. Finally, people, the social subsystem, are important, as only people can transform ideas into action and outcomes. The connections between all of these are important. Leadership and management are not separate entities. The seven beacons in the drawing on the right describe the road from ideas to implementation.

This concept is from the work of Bernard Lievegoed and NPI.

The archetype behind it is as follows:

  • VISION – Saturn
  • VALUES – Jupiter
  • STRATEGY – Mars
  • PEOPLE – Sun
  • PROCESSES- Mercury

Expiry Dates:

VISION: around 10-12 years

VALUES: around 5-7 years

S T R AT EGY: between 3-5 years

Once the council understood the timeframe for the strategy, council members were then asked to consider, among other things, communication, finances, calendars, differing needs of our membership, community and technology, using the social process of ‘relate, inform, consult and decide’. (See table at top of next page.

Strategy decisions

From the list of topics mentioned above, each council member was asked to name the most important areas they felt should be considered for the strategy. The council discussed the themes that came out of this discussion and reordered them to finalise the three goals of the strategy:1. Community-building2. Financial sustainability3. Visibility of biodynamicsTasks were noted under those titles, and a strategy was born.

Your council have been subsequently working hard toward implementation of the plans developed out of this strategy. Two areas that have progressed since May are the appointment of an operations manager, and the closing of the physical office. The operations manager, along with other staff, will undertake the work necessary to action the projects identified in the strategy. The council will continue to work on strategy and governance, providing guidance to the operations manager on the vision it sees for Biodynamics New Zealand. The other major change is the closure of the physical office. With technology changing to enable remote working and paperless offices, the need to have a physical space designated as ‘the office’ is no longer necessary.

Information on the implications of this for members will be communicated well in advance. The office will be closed by the end of the year, and Biodynamics New Zealand will start 2023 reinvigorated and ready to move forward with confidence. We thank you for your support as we walked this challenging path, and we hope for your continued support as we enter this new phase of biodynamic life.

We look forward to celebrating in 2024 the beginning of another 100 years of biodynamics.