Central Position

What is the no-name initiative?

The No-name Initiative (NNI) is a transformational group process that supports expression, emotional processing, awareness dialogue, as well as personal responsibility and accountability. The potential outcomes of this process are not only civic empowerment and activation of individual agency, but most importantly it is a process that facilitates greater understanding of ‘self’ and ‘other’ and creates opportunity for healing. Typical outcomes of such a process are a sense of ‘we are in this together’, feeling more empowered to facilitate change, and greater insight as to what is needed.

What is in a (no) name?

Many shrug when they first hear about the “no-name” initiative. The name (or lack of) is however an important (metaphoric) component of this initiative. The “no-name” serves as a place holder. It is a place holder to allow the space and opportunity for whatever needs to emerge from the system (‘community’, ‘group of people’, ‘dialogue group’, or ‘team’). One can never know what that is before you enter that group in dialogue. One can only assume – and that is the greatest mistake one can make. Often we have ideas of what ‘should’ happen in a community, village, organisation, and/or country. It is easy to assess a system and then propose and plan what the next steps might be. This tendency for us to try and “fix” is part of our problem. We cannot “fix” others. We cannot ‘fix’ communities. As soon as we endeavour this quite pompous idea, we impose our own structures of beliefs and assumptions upon others – often from a place of power and rank on the vulnerable or ‘group in crisis/need’.

The NNI makes a point of not prescribing what ‘should’ happen in the NNI process – its first and foremost concern is for the system to reveal itself. In other words – to have the group/community express itself on a deeper level so that everyone present can see and/or experience what is really going on below the surface. Once we have access to that, the group becomes more empowered to make the conscious changes and choices they yearn for. In this way it becomes imperative to have a ‘place holder’ to ensure that the opportunity for real transformation (that the NNI provides) does not get “filled” by other agendas and intentions. The NNI is the starting point. As soon as we see and work with the underlying collective emotional field, transformation becomes inevitable and the possibility that opens up with that, infinite.

Finally, the “no-name” also refers to the accessibility and inclusivity of the approach similar to a “no name brand”.