Outcomes in Small Group Process

My recent post: Can we Survive? is a draft for an item in a psychodrama publication. In that post I link Wisdom Councils and – Creative Insight Councils to the Sociometric methods of J.L. Moreno. The main idea is that there is a lager community and the small group resonates with the larger group in isomoprhic harmony, and can thus give back compelling insights and wisdom.

In this post I want to add a related idea.

From Dynamic Facilitation and the Wisdom Council theory I have got it clear that a small group can achieve something in addition to personal therapy for its members, and assist an organisation or community in developing its life, and in its decision making.

Jim Rough calls it “option creating”, I am not yet sure exactly what he means by this but it is not just a list of possibilities or wild ideas from a brainstorming session. The breakthrough in a group happens when there is an insight into a real option – something the whole group would like to see happen.

Such breakthroughs are possible over the longer time frame of a group, of diverse members, meeting for several days and sharing at a deep level. Traditional meetings can’t achieve this depth.

For a group to be of use to a larger community there needs to be a thorough warm-up before the event as to the purpose and context. While in psychodrama we are aware of the importance of the frame, I have not experienced a group in that tradition that has the focus of leading to outcomes for the whole community. In our organisations we tend to make decision in meetings, and while there is plenty of interaction and depth work, it is not specifically an clearly focussed on future actions. There may be specialist sub-committees, or work groups, but they tend to be by the people with special positions an ongoing positions within the organisation.

Imagine randomly selected diverse small group – from an organisation or community – doing depth work groups with the task of one or two of the following topics:

What is our strategic plan?
What is our vision?
Principles for the Constitution.
Who should be a member?

The group would present its findings to all members of the community or larger organisation and its governing in one a4 document, and 20 minute audio file at a special hui for the occasion.

Cameron Riley interviews Richard Moore

Just listened to Cameron Riley interview Richard Moore. Excellent podcast. A credible analysis of the geo-politics and a credible practical way forward – rare. I am now checking out “dynamic facilitation” dialogue. I love the way he speaks about doing dialogues as an experiment. Reminds me of Moreno’s sociometric experiments. These are not experiments ON people. This is people experimenting together, well that is what I make of it.

The state of the art for community dialogues has a way to go I think. I can see a sort of combination of Imago, NVC, Sociometry working to facilitate such a process. Couple and small group dialogues are hard enough, dialogues for social issues may be simpler. I like the way he proposes that a small group with diverse opinions, if they find a solution, it is likely it will be broadly accepted.

Linux & community

The Community of Linux

“Anyway, I wanted to come back to the idea of Linux. It is a careful phrase, ‘the idea of Linux’. It occurred to me this morning, as I was reading the technology news and reflecting on the tasks of the day, (I’m not exactly sure how, but that is an interesting side question) that Linux and the whole Open Source movement isn’t about the software. It is about community. The Community of Linux.”

This is from Aldon Hynes a regular on Psyber-L. I am looking forward to discussion on this whole topic. The idea of Linux to me is central to the psyche in cyberspace. Community is one reason for that, to be sure.

Community of Practice

Communities of Practice: The Organizational Frontier
by Etienne C. Wenger and William M. Snyder

Note: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 – That link does not work but I just downloaded this: http://www.stevens.edu/cce/NEW/PDFs/commprac.pdf

A new organizational form is emerging in companies that run on knowledge: the community of practice. And for this expanding universe of companies, communities of practice promise to radically galvanize knowledge sharing, learning, and change.

A community of practice is a group of people informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for a joint enterprise. People in companies form them for a variety of reasons — to maintain connections with peers when the company reorganizes; to respond to external changes such as the rise of e-commerce; or to meet new challenges when the company changes strategy.

Regardless of the circumstances that give rise to communities of practice, their members inevitably share knowledge in free-flowing, creative ways that foster new approaches to problems. Over the past five years, the authors have seen communities of practice improve performance at companies as diverse as an international bank, a major car manufacturer, and a U.S. government agency. Communities of practice can drive strategy, generate new lines of business, solve problems, promote the spread of best practices, develop people’s skills, and help companies recruit and retain talent.
The paradox of such communities is that although they are self-organizing and thus resistant to supervision …”