Community 3.0 Blog

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I invite you to start by delving into my ideas in the series, On the Road to Your Community’s Perfect World,” This is how I believe we can create better, more inclusive, unique communities that can become the solution to our society’s pressing issues. Consider each week’s post a Mile Marker (MM), a cerebral off-ramp from the highway of your daily routine, taking a you little further down this road to a better version of society.

Building Community Through Sustainable Student Engagement

clay forsberg

“Creating communities for the future created by those of the future”

That seems like common sense. Shouldn’t those who will live in the future have a say in what is looks like? Pathetically so, seldom do they. On the contrary, the future normally is designed by those near or at retirement age often mirroring what the past was like seen through their rose-colored glasses. Young people, especially those not yet of voting age, seldom get a say in the matter. Minors are looked at more as pieces of property with few rights rather as than active civic participants with voices to be heard.

Everywhere communities systematically lose their “best and brightest” as they graduate and go off to college. This is especially problematic in rural areas. Communities can only hope they will return or they can recruit other communities’ “best and brightest” to fill their pipeline. Communities attempt to…

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“Let’s Clean Up the World!”

When I started the Community 3.0 project a few years my goals was to synthesize community civic empowerment with organic small business development. In doing that I proposed the concept of turning locally owned businesses into a concept I termed “Front Porches.” A Front Porch was a hub for informal community gatherings designed to promote civic engagement through volunteerism. I created examples of twenty projects, or Solutions, a Front Porch could create to serve its community. These projects included both solving the problems that had fallen through the cracks or taking advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves.

The Solution that always seemed to gravitate to the front of my consciousness was“cleaning up the community.” Clean up efforts also seemed to be the one thing everyone could coalesce upon. No one wants their neighborhoods littered with unsightly garbage. Plus before anything else can be done – you need a clean slate … a platform to build on, literally and figuratively.

Do you ever walk past that vacant lot and wonder what could be … what could be if someone did something, anything. If someone just cleaned it up, that would be a start. But then, who knows what we could make it. And maybe if this vacant lot became something – something beautiful, then maybe it would catch on. In 1982, James Wilson and George Kelling wrote an article in the Atlantic Monthly titled “Broken Windows.” Here’s an example from the article:

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a pavement. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of refuse from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars.

This article became the basis on the “Broken Windows Theory.” In 1994 Bill Bratton became the New York City Police Commissioner under Rudy Giuliani.  A cornerstone of Bratton’s reign was the implementation of the  “Broken Windows” philosophy in New York. A portion of the police budget was put towards the clean-up of neighborhood in high-risk crime areas, including repairing broken windows in abandoned buildings. Bratton even went so far as to repaint subway cars each night if they had been “tagged” during operation that day. Every car left the terminal the next morning “clean.”

“Help Me … I’m Dirty” is Community 3.0‘s version of implementing the“Broken Windows” philosophy through its network of Front Porches. Its premise is that a when a community has a clean environment, free from debris, vandalism and of course broken windows … it has a much higher likelihood of staying that way. It’s a start to all other things a community can do to better itself and help its residents to realize their “Perfect Worlds.”

Lets Do It WOrld logo

Let’s Do It! World

A couple of months ago I was tagged on a Facebook post by David Wilson,Do NGOs Still Have a Right to Exist?“ The topic of the post centered around the lack of scrutiny we put on no-profits and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) on where and how they spend the money we give them. Seldom is there any public discussion on the effectiveness of the strategic and tactically operations.

I decided to comment; but little did I know that comment turned into one of those moments of serendipity that may prove to be a pivotal point in my life. As I was writing, another comment one popped up right in front me. Rather than finishing mine, I stopped and decided to read the comment that appeared first. That comment was from you Kadi Henk from the Estonia based NGO, Let’s Do It! World.” Kadi is their Director of Partnerships, and one of the core members of the organization.

Let’s Do It! World is a civic-led mass movement that began in Estonia in 2008 when 50,000 people united together to clean up the entire country in just five hours. Since then, Let’s Do It! has spread this model—one country in one day—around the world. To date, 112 countries and 14 million people have joined us to clean up illegal waste.

On September 8, 2018, World Cleanup Day, people in 150 countries will stand up against the global trash problem, making it the biggest positive civic action the world has seen. Imagine a powerful “green wave” starting in Japan and ending in Hawaii with hundred of millions of people taking positive action together on the very same day.

Let’s Do It! World has never been only about cleaning up waste. We also aim to unite the global community, raise awareness and implement true change to achieve our final goal– a clean and healthy planet.

Kadi’s response was articulate, and considering the topic of the post – very elegantly non-defensive. Personally, I don’t think I could have articulated the way she did without “throwing out some attitude.” Without even finishing my comment, which meant I had to open another Facebook tab – I had to find out who you Kadi was. And once I did, I sent a “friend” request. Within minutes you not only accepted, but ask for a LinkedIn “connection” and messaged me requesting we talk about collaboration possibilities. We did a few days later … and now I’m spearheading the efforts in the United States for Let’s Do It! World.

Be a Shepherd

It’s time for us all to assume a new role, a new place for us in our communities and in the world. It’s not enough to just agree the status quo isn’t working and move on expecting someone else will fix it. We must assume the responsibility ourselves. We must be the guides. In his brilliant piece from 2011, “From Patterns of Emergent Cities: 1. The Founder,” Seb Paquet gives us, those who must be the shepherds, a philosophical guide to what we must provide those in our communities.

A departure: an escape route from the old and tired, into an open space with few constraints;

A sense of possibility— the promise of a new freedom he has had a glimpse of, but has not yet experienced;

Mystery, adventure, and challenge— an experience; danger, even!

An opportunity to contribute his unique talents towards creating something meaningful that, in his eyes, deserves to exist;

And finally, the chance to design a new ‘home’, a new life for ourselves and others.

This departure from “the old and tired” of the our current civic malaise must be replaced not with just new faces; because the problems lie much deeper than just “who.” The problems stem from decades of systemic decay of an institution never designed to solve all that ail the 300,000,000 of us alone in the Unite States. The foundation of all society (both here and abroad) must rest on the underpinnings of direct civic participation and “sweat equity.” And by participation I mean volunteerism – whether that “sweat equity” be manual labor, expertise or organization.

Now is the time … and a perfect place to start is cleaning up our communities by joining me in the Let’s Do It! World effort. Even though Let’s Do It! is a worldwide ambition, my focus is here in the United States. America is big place, in all context, so please help me. We have a little over two years to put this together … but in a country of over 330 million people – there’s no time to waste. Our goal is to clean every neighborhood and community in the country. And while doing this I intend to create a platform to build on. Imagine this platform as a network of Front Porches and the clean up will be just the start. Because once we have the platform and network of grassroots civic empowerment – reliance on government dysfunction and juvenile political squabbling will be a memory.

I’m looking for individuals that are ready to transform their respective neighborhoods, cities, and the world by taking on the following roles. Roles correspond to geographic locales or as I call them – Nodes.

Each Census defined Micropolitan area (ranging between 15,000 and 150,000 and averaging about 50,000) will be a designated Node and will have a project leader or Community Empowerment Concierge (CEC) coordinating the efforts. Census defined Metropolitan Areas, being larger, will be Node segmented per 150,000 people, sub-divided by county (or further if necessary).

Director

Think of the Director as the one casts the production, only the production is a multi-community engagement platform. I’m looking for five Directors. Each Director will be responsible for identify and recruiting leaders(CECs) for each community Node. Once these CECs are in place the Directors will be responsible for training and overseeing their efforts. The Director positions are core members of Community 3.0 and their input on all matters is not only welcomed … but expected.

Community Empowerment Concierge (CEC)

A CEC is the local leader. Each designated Node (approximately 3000 nationwide) will be led by a CEC. He or she is the catalyst, or concierge to community and neighborhood engagement. Their main role is set up and organize Front Porches, normally in the community’s locally owned businesses, but not exclusively. Once set up, these Front Porches will act as launching pads community direct action volunteer projects, or Solutions. The CEC will also assist these Merchant Front Porch in installing the 3.0 Contributor Experience Platform. The platform is Community 3.0‘s proprietary 1-to-1 marketing and loyalty program designed specifically for locally owned small and medium-sized  businesses.

Once set up, the CEC will be the one to keep “stoking the fire” of civic altruistic momentum. The first order of business will be community clean-up organized in conjunction with the worldwide efforts of Let’s Do It! World.

James Rizzi - Summer in the City

Leave person, every place and everything better off from you being there

We will discuss how compensation works for both the Director and CEC position upon contact. However, involvement in this project of societal evolution should not be determined by monetary compensation alone. We are looking for people who are cause driven and want to make the world a better place. However cliché that might sound, it’s imperative. The motto that underpins everything we do is: “Leave person, every place and everything better off from you being there.” You must want to be part of something that is only as big as the people involved and at the same time is only limited by our imaginations. You have to want to create something that can change society from the ground up … with you being one of the underpinning cornerstones. It’s this network and foundation that we build that will support not only the Let’s Do It! World project, but many other altruistic ones … possibly even one you are currently working on. Community 3.0 is a platform for everyone’s contribution and a vehicle to realize dreams and aspiration.

I ask for your help. Who do you think would be interested in this opportunity – colleague, a friend, a family member or even a student? Do you happen to know anyone who’s cramped in his or her job – someone who’s great but hasn’t been given the opportunity to do great work? Someone who’s stuck in a situation that feels like a job instead of a career? We need someone with drive and willingness to learn, and above all … a commitment to making things better.

And as I mentioned above – join me and, Make every person, every place and everything better off from you being there. This would be a great way to do it.

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Please direct your referrals, ideas and questions to clayforsberg@gmail.com.

The Millennials Rising “Anti-Congress”

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.The “Anti-Congress” is the assembly venue for “Millennial Rising.” It consists of the fifty members of “Millennials Rising” as well as Alliance members of the Community 3.0. On occasion a Community 3.0 Front Porch (Merchant), general Members and community media representatives will be allowed to sit in. But as a whole the meetings are closed. Gathering of the entire “Anti-Congress” will occur every month. Specific spin-off meetings will happen when needed depending on project load.

The purpose of “the “Anti-Congress” is to give the youth opportunity to bring in a different perspective to the issues of the community all not just the older generations. These younger generations will debate and present issues relevant to not only them but also the community as a whole. “Millennials Rising” members will present the world from through their eyes. And with the assistance of the Community 3.0 member Merchants, these issues will be addressed.

The assembly will be run by an elected “Millennials Rising” leader. The person will also set the agenda of the meeting. Meeting agenda will consist of the following:

  • current project status
  • future project brainstorming
  • acknowledgements
  • general current event discussion

Project details will be tracked and discussed when the “Anti-Congress” in the Coffee Shop” Google+ forum.

The attitude of the “Millennials Rising” and in turn the tone of the “Anti-Congress” will be pragmatic. The goal is action, not bureaucracy. “Millennials Rising” needs no government backing aside from specific project approval or permitting. As with Community 3.0 as a whole, our purpose is to accomplish the things that government and the other dysfunctional institutions either can’t or won’t. 

“Breeding Orion” … Build Don’t Tear Down

clay forsberg

With the rise of Bernie Sanders, the socialist anti-capitalist rhetoric has surfaced again in the political arena. Only now it appears like it’s gaining traction. Sanders’ campaign, which in the past would be nothing more than an idealistic third-party run, has been a legitimate threat to the coronation of America’s first female president. Excuse my sarcasm but considering the Clinton legacy, it seems appropriate.

Screams of inequality and Sanders’ promises of universal healthcare and free college education for all has mobilized legions of young, male and female alike. I agree we have inequality. My #Occupy shirt has been worn so much it’s as much a part of me as my glasses and my morning yogurt. Still I don’t blindly follow campaign promises.

Ocupy shirt

We Must focus On The “How” … Not Just The “What”

My concern with Sanders stems from I believe in the “how” as much if not more than the

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Creating Successful Chaos Within a Well-Ordered Failure

clay forsberg

“Our challenge is not bringing order to successful chaos but creating successful chaos within a well-ordered failure.” ~ Charles Marohn, ‘Strong Towns’

Collaboration, peer-to-peer participation and bottom-up empowerment all sounds good. And in theory … it is. The more democratic the process, the more responsive it should be. But responsiveness doesn’t necessarily translate into results. In the last piece, “Herding Cats,” organization of the masses by the masses can be exactly like that, “herding cats.” The key to any collective effort is having a defined mission that is generally agreed upon and then putting its implementation into play using a set process. In the case of Community 3.0 that mission is the physical, cerebral and spiritual well-being of your community.

Nurturing well-being by creating avenues and conduits for engagement is the road to this mission’s success. And hopefully through these efforts,the inherent benevolence of the members of your…

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The Art of Collaboration

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“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Building the Front Porch: “The Where”

Establish the tone personality of your Front Porch. What causes will it focus on (i.e. education and mentoring, elderly outreach, civic cleanup, etc.). Name your Front Porch and even create logo and a graphic identity. The more tangible it becomes … the more likely you’ll cement your participation after the initial wave of emotional momentum. By establishing at least a skeleton of focus, tangent timing wasting should be held at a minimum – further reducing the potential for conflict and disengagement.

Your Front Porch must have Solutionist tone. Indians have an expression called jugaad – meaning an innovative fix using few resources. Look at everything and everyone as resource to be maximized. If there’s something you need that you don’t have in-house, don’t just buy it – barter if possible. Your Front Porch is bound to have something someone else or another Front Porch needs.

Your Front Porches can meet in various places. Being a host (whether at someone’s home or garage or at a local business) further inks levels of participation. “Switching things up” also builds out various locales and further integration of the neighborhood via serendipitous encounters. Front Porches are not physical locations but rather groupings of people brought together for a specific common goal.

Make your meeting times variable also. Not everyone who wants to participate has the same time demands on their schedule. Meeting of your Front Porch could be formally set or even spur of the moment. Imagine a “spur of the moment” Front Porch designed for a time-sensitive mini project or“Quest.” Notifications could be triggered by text or even beacons if the mini-project is location sensitive. Working and thinking at unconventional times of the day can also spur creativity – breaking one of the “sameness” of their normal time routine.

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The Facilitator

“The chair is a position at centre of flows not a person – meritocracy falsely privileges the person.” Indy Johar

“Witness the paradox in decentralized organizations. As they become more decentralized, the CEO or ‘top’ leader exerts less and less formal authority in developing strategy, and managing its people and operations. However, simultaneously they have to play a vital, centralized role in ‘holding the space’ to ensure its progressive, decentralized practices do not regress back to a more traditional organizational model. Further, there appears to be clear evidence that the CEO in all the progressive organizations are highly visionary leaders and play a key role in setting the vision at the highest level. These organizations are ecosystems like rainforests, where ‘there is no single tree in charge of the whole forest.’ But clearly, the role of the founder or CEO is quite unlike any other, and the task of holding the space is vital for the health of the entire system. So in fact they aren’t truly decentralized.” (Resolving the awkward Paradox)

“Listening to the group and reflecting back and clarifying the tasks that are emerging is an act of service, and a skill that can be honed. Some people naturally have a knack for it. Scoping and assigning work, however, is just one of many important tasks— delegating doesn’t make you superior. It also doesn’t always need to be done by the same person. Those who have the capacity to manage task delegation need a break from it sometimes, so they can focus on the details level too.” (No Boss Does Not Mean No Leadership)

“In the absence of leadership, hidden hierarchies will emerge based on personal relationships, charisma and persuasiveness, and various flavors of privilege from wider social dynamics. A leadership vacuum results in ineffectiveness, interpersonal conflict, disempowerment, and burnout.” (No Boss Does Not Mean No Leadership)

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Building the Team: “The Who”

“While most people believe that “the more brainpower in the room, the better”, there is much scientific proof emerging that the exact opposite is true.   In fact, throwing more people at a problem is one of the most common productivity traps that we fall into. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos coined a “two pizza rule.” If a team couldn’t be fed with two pizzas, it was too big. People in smaller teams are far more productive. As group size rises, all sorts of issues spring up and individual performance levels diminish. So while larger teams may be getting more done altogether, it’s happening at a rate lower than the sum of individual efforts.The larger the team, the more links between people get accumulated and the costs of coordination sky-rocket.” (Small teams perform better

“Some of my most memorable projects included people with diverse skills who consistently complemented each other and helped everyone raise the bar. Depending on your tasks, having people with skills and strengths that compliment each other, reduces conflict, competition and motivates the team. For example, if you have someone who is strong in ideation or problem solving, you can complement that person with someone who is strong in execution or operations. A coherent team will build on each other’s strengths and cover for any weaknesses.” (Small teams perform better

The bleedingEDGE Experience Platform is the conduit connecting the Front Porch (merchant), the Contributor (customer) and their community. The “experience platform” is the communications vehicle for the Smooth Space described in the piece Jeet Kune Do, Rhizomes and the Community 3.0 Philosophy.” Tailored for specific situations and events –  each communication is customized to the Front Porch, personalized to each current customer or Contributor and sent via direct mail, email or even text – depending on the preference of the recipient. Everything is specifically timed to maximize its response and effectiveness. The goal of the platform is to solidify the loyalty bond between Front Porch and Contributor. Think of it like your community’s own customized Artificial Intelligence.

Collaboration isn’t a static endeavor. Not only are the relationships formed and the activities that result from it dynamic, so should be the individuals that operate within these collaborations. The Front Porch must be a vehicle for personal growth also. Constant attention must be paid to establishing and maintaining tolerance and empathy for fellow members of the group. Collaboration should be oriented towards more than just the accomplishment of the task … but also learning how to collaborate better. By developing individual skills, the group as a whole will prosper (as well as the 3.0 network).

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Selecting the Solution: “The What”

Selecting the Solution to be pursued and agreeing on how to do it is the collaboration. Once agreement amongst the group it acknowledged – execution can take place. Each Front Porch will have their own method of doing this and the method can change at will also. The process actually won’t be so formal, since project will just pop up and generally agreed upon. Create a narrative here, not so much rules but just a feeling. 

Each gathering, formal or ad hoc, should incorporate a Menu of conversation. The menu will often roll over from one meeting to the next. The gatherings are meant to be fluid, except for pre-determined agenda items that may be time sensitive. By default the “menu” can be set by either the leader of the group (Front Porch) or by the owner of the location where the meeting is being held – or anyone else designated by the Front Porch. The “menu” can even be set on a rotating basis. The goal should be not to centralize too much power (however formal or not) in the hands of a few. Diversity of thought, especially the initiation of ideas breeds renewed emotional momentum. The “Chalkboard” (what’s on the “menu”): set periodic (or ongoing) issue(s) or problem(s) to solve. Gatherings don’t have to include the items in conversation, but rather they’re always there marinating. Some items may represent macro issues, or tactical sub-plots. Situational or environmental changes within the group, the Front Porch or even the community may dictate which items take priority at any given time.

Make effort to not get stuck in the trap of the “first bad idea.” Often what appears to be the right thing to do or the obvious way of doing it, is often just what’s always been done. Think twice before jumping and committing the precious resources of your Front Porch. Introducing outside influences in the your Front Porch may give you a different perspective, especially if the Solution your group is pursuing a different demographic than that of those implementing the Solution. For example: People who are secure with a home/food/basic job security will approach your ideas from a different lens than those who are not sure where the next meal is coming from, or where they will spend the night, or if they will get work that covers basic expenses, or if they can keep the work they find. A good start is to incorporate demographic maps in your decision-making. Using demographics and maps to determine the menu.

But before you give … think! How can I really make a difference in someone’s life this year? What can I do that extends past just the quarters, the bells and the Christmas dinner? “Walk that mile in someone’s shoes.” Talk to people outside your element, people you’d never associate with. Take a bus. Take a bus anywhere – especially to an area you’d never think about going to, and talk to people you’d never think about talking to. What would make their life a little more tolerable? Find out what would make their “Perfect World” a little closer. “Grow some empathy!” (Before you give … “Walk a mile in their shoes!”)

As a part of the Community 3.0 platform we’ve put together a roster of several examples of what can come of collaborations in your community’s Front Porches. These example represent Solutions to many common needs every community face. By no means is the roster comprehensive, it’s a start.

Community 3.0 Solutions:

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The Collaboration: “The How”

Once Solution for a collaboration is chosen, process is essentially just a series of additive contributions. How these additions are made, which ones are allowed and when the process is completed is “The Art of Collaboration.”

“Aboriginal Australians had/have long-lasting oral narratives told to whole tribes. The story was ‘kept true’ by telling it in front of everyone (not have each player read it alone in their own time). You progress in your understanding of the intended meaning by asking the right questions and being referred to the next level of knowledge custodian.” (Neil Davidson)

The Minneapolis-based rap collective Doomtree is a case study in collaboration. Going against a history in the genre where many would rather kill their peers than work them. For the record (literally and figuratively), this has changed in recent years – but still Doomtree is different. The five rappers who collaborate with the crew’s two DJs are forward-thinking in that they view the idea of hip-hop as a collaborative enterprise; and it’s evident in the group’s work. To accomplish their desired result, they religiously abide by four axioms:

  • Check your ego: Most of the members have been in situations where rap is considered a competition. In fact Eminen’s famed psuedo-biopic, “Nine Mile” was all about how he used a rap competition to rise above his sordid upbringing. But in the end, as troupe member Sims says: “We’re a band … there’s no killing anyone else here.”
  • Get to where you need to get: This sounds mundane, but if everyone can’t get together – you can’t collaborate. And by getting together, you committed. It says this matters and “I’m prepared and willing to take the time.” In Doomtree’s case, “We end up driving a few hours from home, out of cell-phone service, like a cloistered jury or something,” Dessa says.
  • “Let’s get this done:” Once they’ve set up shop themselves, Doomtree doesn’t do a lot of waiting around. Once one of them throws a good idea, whether it be a beat, a verse or rhyme – they run with it. Not having to be the one who starts it is liberating. “I don’t have to have a verse, or I can make my verse a little bridge. It’s freeing in a way,” Sims says. “I find it really fun—it allows me to be more playful and take more risks, because if they don’t work, I don’t care.”
  • Trust the collaboration: Trusting yourself and your collaborators, to know how to run with a creative instinct is a gift that comes with the freedom that this sort of process brings. And it’s something that is easiest to find when you’re not looking over your shoulder, or trying to hoard all of the elements you think you need to be great.

Would you rate yourself as a good collaborator?

  • Do you understand the unique value you bring to a project? Do others agree?
  • Do you resist documenting that unique value to stay unique?
  • Do you share expertise when asked without trying to take over or reinvent the entire project?
  • Do you get yourself up to speed before you contribute and try to understand why things are done that way?
  • Do you get the job done or go the extra mile to ensure it’s as good as it can be?
  • Do you work to build good relationships with other team members?
  • Do you adapt to other collaborators’ way of working or do you demand they adapt to you?
  • Do you clearly communicate when the project will be done and keep people updated?
  • Do you clearly identify everything you need in advance or drop challenges on others at the last minute?
  • Do you claim your time is more valuable than anyone else’s?
  • Do you notice and uncover when other collaborators are uncomfortable?
  • Do you listen and embrace feedback or do you resist and deny it?
  • Do you give unsolicited opinions before checking if they’re wanted?
  • Do you leave projects when you’re no longer needed?
  • Do you compromise your point of view when necessary for a team to complete a project?
  • Do you make other collaborators feel better about their work or do you bring them down to demonstrate your superiority?

Not everyone must participate all the time (initial project selection, additions and execution). And even if they do participate, the level of intensity will vary according to the project (depending on resources available and enthusiasm). Don’t cluster collaboration members by activity levels. And contribution should not depend on rank or status. “Immediate or situational rank” should be dependent on ones expertise on the issue current at hand. If the parameters which the initial draft are acceptable to a ‘contributor’ then they can input and join in: example “Everything Can Change Except Values.” In the 3.0 case, the base tenets must stay in place. If a potential ‘contributor’ can’t abide with the “tenets” established by the Front Porch (in accordance to those set by Community 3.0), then they will have to move on.

Create a Serendipity portal (web page) that allows a Member to virtually walk around town and experience different things prodding them to leave the house – and then the experience could even be better or different. Kind of like entering a portal or a secret door (like a video game). Every Front Porch will have a different thing happening. Everyone is always welcome. Bridging the societal chasms. The web page should be set up like a menu (not like a meeting).

Even even the collaboration will occur at the physical Front Porch, that doesn’t mean virtual collaboration shouldn’t be done. On the contrary, social media and virtual community gathering tools are invaluable. In fact Community 3.0 uses Google+ community group, the Coffee House, to manage its Front Porch sponsored Solution activity.

For those who more adventurous, Loomio‘s collaborative decision-making platform is good option for those that want to venture outside the normal Google+ option we will provide. The platform’s tangent control  functionality, as well as its in-person organization capabilities, are strong for more complex Solution endeavours.

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“Herding cats” … 

I hate to deviate from my normal utopian outlook, but I can’t stress enough that a transition to a participatory society won’t be easy. America’s founding fathers proclaimed democracy is a messy endeavor. And one where “the people” actually do the work will be even more so.

However well intended collaborations are to represent equality of views, they almost inevitably end in creating bottlenecks amongst top contributors. Often little gets done without getting run past these informal leaders. Special effort must be so the most active and overburdened collaborators know how to filter and prioritize tasks and requests. They have to know it’s alright to say no (or to allocate only half the time requested). And maybe best of all, encourage them to make an introduction to someone else when the request doesn’t draw on their own unique contributions. (insight gained from Collaboration Overload)

Another obstacle is the fact that the “deep thinking” needed to bring a project to fruition is a solitary task can further contribute to the inefficiency of the process. Collaborators need to know when to collaborate and when to remove themselves from “the party” and burrow down and get cerebral.

And then we have the collaboration “time drain.”. More collaborations mean more meetings. And more meetings mean more time spent in meetings and less time actually doing the work. Even though the social aspect of collaborative efforts is important, having meeting for the sake of having meetings shouldn’t be the default action. Just because it’s a collaboration … doesn’t mean it automatically needs a meeting. Make the time together  worth it everyones time. Collaborations should be synergistic … not antagonistic.

Not everyone flourishes under a system self-determination also. Gabriela Krupa illustrates this on her experience with Holacracy:

“I caught myself in a paradox: I’m happy to have leeway in my work and be able to do things as I see fit, but at the same time I would appreciate someone who could point me in the right direction: ‘this is right, just continue that way’ or ‘change direction, you can do better.’ I caught myself looking for confirmation that my choices and actions were right, wanted, or useful for my colleagues.” Just because open or flat organization don’t have a formal management structure, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t set up informal mentoring arrangements. In fact making a concerted effort to mentor in the informal settings can work much better than formal hierarchical management relationships.”

“Even if we abandon the idea that this is a static centralized hub, we can nonetheless still see it as creating a centralizing force. Those who volunteer to be delegates get the opportunity to form bonds with people across the city and in different campaigns, that those who choose to operate only in the local groups would miss out on. This can have the effect of increasing the communication power of those dedicated individuals, without it translating into greater power throughout the whole network.” (Imagining social movements)

In the end, collaboration is nothing more than communication. How do we create the foundation for collaborative, civil conversations, moderator participation, appreciate everyone’s contribution and reduce the influence of charismatic people (or get their help leveling the playing field) – should be the ultimate goal of the Front Porch and specifically that of the group moderator. (Mazzi Partners)

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Execution: “Rubber to the Road”

It’s not enough not identify a problem and figure out the solution, that solution has to be implemented. Community 3.0‘s Front Porch Solution formula provides a guide for this. But above all Community 3.0 is about “resource maximization.” Or as the Indians call it, jugaad: “making do with very little.”

Solution template: 

  • objective
  • target market and marketing strategy to reach them
  • resources needed
  • resources currently at hand
  • resources yet to get and where are they going to come from
  • agenda / timetable (including drop dead date)
Solution Guidelines:
  • every Solution is compose of multiple components – and should be considered a project on their own with its own endpoint
  • make each Solution component small enough to get a handle on (i.e. tutoring for a single school)
  • multiple Front Porches (Merchants) can work on a common Solution and components allocated accordingly
  • practice “resource maximization” – barter, trade as much as possible (include multiple participant trades)
  • layout agenda for each Solution (including components) including resource requests (labor, materials, etc.)
  • Solutions will tracked and manged through the Community 3.0 Google+ Coffee House group for the specific Node (city or town)
  • Community 3.0 will support Merchant Solution projects with 1:1 marketing efforts as part of the Community 3.0 Contributor Experience Platform
  • involve collaborators in determining projects based on strengths of the Front Porch (Merchant and Member) – access information through the Community 3.0 “Helper” data base

Forget the Hero Entrepreneur