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  • Vignesh Prasad

Fractals in Organisations

I've always been fascinated by the concept of fractals. There's something beautiful about the idea of a pattern that repeats whether you're zoomed in or out. We see it in nature all around us whether it's in tree branches or veins on a leaf or if you're looking at a map a river and it's tributaries. Recently though it struck me how fractals are the ideal way to think about organisations as well.

When we started Vismaya Kalike five years ago, we committed to creating joyful learning spaces where children can have agency. For five years we've worked with a community in South Bangalore and right throughout we've done our best to ensure that the children always have the ability to decide for themselves how the space should be and particularly what they should do each day. Since then we've grown to six centres and have also partnered with other organisations to help them set up their own learning spaces.

Scaling has been really challenging and it's been hard to ensure that the children have freedom across all the centres. We have been working with facilitators and organisation leaders conducting discussions and workshops on agency, freedom, joyful learning etc. Yet we still see centres that look more like tuitions than learning centres in many areas.

While initially this was frustrating the idea of fractals has helped view this differently. The same ideas of agency and joyful learning must apply to facilitators, team members and organisations as well. While we are patient with learners and allow them their own learning journey we often find ourselves frustrated with facilitators and organisations. We have always said that the responsibility for learning should be with the children and that we must only create the right environments for the child to learn but when it came to facilitators and other organisations suddenly we decided that we need to take responsibility.

In many ways the same patterns that we observed with children were also applicable for facilitators, communities and organisations. Everyone has a different journey and different process. While it is important to acknowledge that the costs and the impact of a challenging facilitator is very different from a challenging learner the most important thing is to not forget that we embody our philosophy and vision at all levels.

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