How to bring about authentic engagement and real transparency beyond the protocols of formal accountability?
Trust can develop only in an environment of transparency, and real transparency can only develop if there is trust. In order to cultivate this virtuous cycle, it is important to enter into relationships with a spirit of trust, and to create structures and processes that support trust and transparency together. To this end, there must be space for both rational discussion and emotional exchange. A sphere of trust contributes to an environment that enables reliable and even unpleasant information to be openly shared.
Transparency cannot just be “organized.” It must be felt.
# Examples - In Germany’s Cusanus University , the Student Union has a model of making unconditional scholarships, fully self-governed by the students themselves. From the general pot of money collected by everyone, small study groups assess people’s individual needs within their group and report back to a general assembly of students. A team assesses if the requested amount can be allocated to each person, or only a more modest sum. This peer-management of scholarship money, which requires people to expose their vulnerabilities to their peers, can only occur in a sphere of trust – in the small group instead of the general assembly. - In meetings, provide time and space for people to speak informally, “off the record,” so that authentic feelings and uncertainties can be expressed. - Routinely take minutes of meetings and share them. Make all forms of documentation accessible to everyone involved. - Make all changes to a wiki or open source project available to everyone to scrutinize and comment on.