Sociocracy 3.0 – An open framework for evolving agile and resilient organizations

Effective Collaboration At Any Scale

  • principles-based: a coherent guide for growing organizational integrity
  • flexible: adaptable patterns, independent and mutually reinforcing
  • free: licensed under a Creative Commons Free Culture License

Influences and History

Core concepts for understanding S3:

  • patterns
  • the seven principles
  • driver
  • value
  • waste
  • domain


A pattern is a template for successfully navigating a specific context.

  • S3 patterns are discovered through observing many organizations as they solve problems and respond to opportunities
  • S3 patterns can be evolved and adapted to suit differing contexts

All Patterns are based on The Seven Principles

Effectiveness: Devote time only to what brings you closer towards achieving your objectives.

Consent: Do things in the absence of reasons not to.

Empiricism: Test all assumptions through experiments, continuous revision and falsification.

Continuous Improvement: Change incrementally to accommodate steady empirical learning.

Equivalence: People affected by decisions influence and change them on the basis of reasons to do so.

Transparency: All information is available to everyone in an organization, unless there is a reason for confidentiality.

Accountability: Respond when something is needed, do what you agreed to and take ownership for the course of the organization.


A driver is the source of motivation for action in a specific situation (the “why”): something an individual, a group, or organization needs (or requires) in the context of achieving their objectives.


  • focus on the present (not the future or assumptions)
  • precede goals, objectives, aims, mission, vision, purpose
  • can change

Primary Driver, Subdriver and Superdriver

A driver can be understood in relation to the domain it defines and its relationship to other drivers.

The driver that defines a domain is called the primary driver of that domain.

The primary driver is the superdriver of all other drivers that arise as a consequence of people responding to it.

A primary driver is itself a subdriver of its superdriver, except in the case of the organization itself, in which case it is referred to as the organizations primary driver.

Two drivers existing as a direct consequence of a response to the same superdriver, are described as peer drivers.

The prefixes primary, peer, sub- and super-, can refer to both drivers and domains.

Drivers: Value and Waste

Value: is the importance, worth or usefulness of something in relation to a driver.

Waste: is anything not necessary for – or standing in the way of – effective response of a driver.

By adopting the concept of value and waste, many practices and ideas from lean production and lean software development can be utilized by organizations pulling in S3 patterns:

  • value stream mapping
  • various strategies for eliminating waste
  • the Kanban Method


A domain is the set of subdrivers an organization may benefit from addressing when responding to a driver.

Domains need to be accounted for by people, but exist independently.

Building an organization from domains defined in relation to organizational drivers facilitates effective collaboration by creating enabling constraints with clear and coherent parameters for accountability.

Domains and Accountability

  • accountability applies to all agreements, including the organization itself, circles, and roles
  • everyone’s primary accountability is for effective collaboration in response to organizational drivers
  • circles are accountable for their work, their body of agreements and their own development
  • everyone in an organization is accountable for aligning action with organizational values and principles

Read next: Co-Creation and Evolution

©2017 by Bernhard Bockelbrink and James Priest. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0