Categories
Creativity Groups Psyche Psychodrama Relationships Science

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.

Categories
Featured Journal Psyber Relationships World

Relations of the means of community

Takeover

Facebook just bought FriendFeed. The ensuing discussions have been fascinating, they raise the question:

Who owns your words?
There has been a fear that our personal writing, intimately connected to us, will be lost, deleted, stolen. It has happened before! E-minds, is one example, and there must be many more. The cry is Backup! OK. I have just set up this blog to make a weekly digest of my Tweets and the @replys. Good idea. Thanks to Twitter Tools. However it is not enough.

Who owns your relationships?

FriendFeed is a community, there is an invasion, a takeover. We can escape with some of our goods, but we have lost our land, and the community. (I am reporting what I hear, and sense though I have only been a member for a few days.)

“A platform is not a community, it is the people.” He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

Yes and no. People are splitting off from FriendFeed, to identica, to Facebook to streamy.com, some are staying. There is a turmoil and a community is in stress. And the people were alienated from the decision. By joining a proprietary community we know this can happen, but no one involved the community members. The real value of FriendFeed is the people, but they were simply sold as part of the property.  The relations of of the means of community are not reflected in the relations of the community.

If this jargon is not familiar, read the Communist Manifesto on the relations of production (or look here) and the relations on the means of production. Production is social, ownership is private in capitalism.

We are seeing the virtual microcosm playing out the capitalism of the macrocosm.

And of course, the FB / FF takeover has raised these questions and the responses. Dave Winer is particularly warmed up to the issue, leading two important threads.

One is Your Blog Loves You. We can trust a blog because we own it, and not only that, it can’t be sold, so I can trust your blog as well. (well mostly), I can certainly trust the blogosphere as a whole to persist.

 

Is this a retreat into individualism & denial of community? Not really. The communal space is then the larger blogosphere, with its clustering, and overlapping communities. Bazaars not a cathederal.

The other Dave Winer initiative is: we’ll build one we own!
Permalink
Align the interests of: 1. Users and 2. Investors.
How to do that?
Well, they need to be the same people.

Align the interests of: 1. Users and 2. Investors. How to do that?  Well they need to be the same people.

I like the idea, but have misgivings! I’d like to follow up research on online community and the relations of ownership. I will have a look again at Virtual Communities on my bookshelf. Or maybe the current discussion, if you move among the bazaars will do the trick. (See Doc Searls response for example.)

Tom Atlee has just written an excellent item on Town Hall Meetings, notice how important the framework is and how it determines the outcome. Even the simple idea of breaking up into Topic Tables would have a huge impact.

It might pay to start with Engles and his book on Utopias, here is the chapter on Utopian Socialism. I say this because I read it in 1974, after investing 5 years of my life creating and participating in a physical community that was owned by its members. I wish id read it before I embarked on the project!

In conclusion…

Where I am at? The container for dialogue, for community, matters. No one structure or method is best. What suits the purpose.

Categories
World

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.

Categories
Psyber

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.

Categories
Creativity Relationships

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 …”