April 7th, 2020 17:51

Tell us about your congregation

Richard D. Bartlett
Richard D. Bartlett Public Seen by 172

In my dreams this Microsolidarity Loomio group includes one thread per congregation, with very occasional updates from someone in the core team, like a kind of diary sharing work in progress and creating a minimal baseline awareness of what our peers are up to.

If you are organising something congregation-like, and you feel moved to start such a thread, that would be rad because you'll be making my dreams come true!

Congregation diaries:

Do you have one to add?

Victor Vorski

Victor Vorski April 7th, 2020 18:11

How does one start a congregation? What makes a good congregation?

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett April 7th, 2020 19:53

We don't know yet!

Josh Fairhead

Josh Fairhead April 17th, 2020 21:00

@Richard D. Bartlett - I've been thinking about the ternary recommend above, I wonder if it's people, place, purpose? Start with any two and the third becomes apparent.

Josef Davies-Coates

Josef Davies-Coates April 18th, 2020 08:26

@Josh Fairhead as @Richard D. Bartlett says there:

> I think it is important for a community to be aligned at the abstract level: having shared values, principles and purposes. However, I don’t think it is very interesting to create that alignment by talking about it. Instead, the focus is on finding alignment by doing stuff together.

So I think he's not included purpose in the "three concrete elements" to avoid the risk of getting stuck talking about what the group or congregations' purpose is?

Josh Fairhead

Josh Fairhead April 18th, 2020 09:20

Ahhh thank you, yes it's been a while since I read the article. I couldn't agree more then, espoused beliefs are usually incongruent with action. Thanks for flagging :)

Richard D. Bartlett

Richard D. Bartlett April 18th, 2020 09:51

Ya these are just my reckons and biases though, time will tell what works in practice,.

Toni Blanco

Toni Blanco April 19th, 2020 23:01

I have been lurking this Loomio for a couple of weeks and this particular conversation triggered my participation. I just published a post where I discuss the trap in which I see falling very well-intentioned people again and again. But there are other lessons I learned when participating in purpose-driven organizations like Ouishare. I participated there after being involved with libertarian-alternative organizations (for my PhD dissertation) that excel in what we understand as microsolidarirty and thrive economically but struggling in replicating/scaling. The result of that research, among others, was the creation of a pod (one year ago). 

I learned that Ouishare replicates and scale, but struggles in mutual support and nurturing "their commons". It is not that I saw plenty of things that, according to my research, I thought caused that, but my intellectual humility put that suspicion in the hold... until experience proved me right. I guess I will develop further in future posts, but here are some lessons that come to mind right now, for what it worths. 

1) Fuck Purpose and Values with capital P and V. We want to grow beautiful gardens of purposes and values. Find alignment in concrete practices and objectives in which those gardens can flourish. 

2) Regarding those practices:

  • Make your organizational practices fractal (consistency/coherence between internal and external relations).

  • Do not act as you know how others have to live their lives or run their business because you think you have higher moral standards. That leads to poor results, most of the time. Listen and be humble. Focus on adding value for both the one that pays you and the ecosystem. 

  • Think together the relational dimension of the community, the business dimension and the material conditions needed to make it sustainable.

  • Do not optimize. Think about redundancy and abundance as a must for surviving.

  • Prevent people with a scarcity mentality to occupy a relevant responsibility by organizational design (your set of practices). You will see folks that defend your purpose and values, sure. That certainly contribute a lot to the purpose and the organization, sure. But what you want to check is that they do not: a) only are generous with people with greater influence or resource access than them b) same with acknowledgment and attribution c) Barely participate in activities that put their flesh (not their financial contribution) in the game. 

  • Support asymmetrically the ones that prove to make the effort to jump in the wagon. Manage correctly expectations of reciprocity and mutual support in general (yours' and others'). Start micro, and then escalate. 

Sure we can discuss and improve the list above together. I have observed also a strong gender dimension here that I do not want to elaborate on now. 

I am currently busy as hell, but I'll try to join the conversation, and sharing the experience with my pod. I am really happy with it (so far).


Ria Baeck April 21st, 2020 09:51

I would love to hear/read more on each of the topics you raise here!
Yes about shared practices! Also nice: 'make the practices fractal'! I would like to have some more 'flesh to the bones' on some of your next points. Maybe a blog article??? would be nice. thanks anyway! (as I read you are busy)

Toni Blanco

Toni Blanco May 5th, 2020 00:43

Hi, Ria. I am sorry for not getting to you sooner. Never been this busy in my life! A lot of care work (toddlers, mum) and also that work that pays the bills.

The fractal idea goes further than what I summarized. And it does practically, not theoretically.

We had a plan to release consolidated knowledge and tools, and a beta tester call before releasing some materials (are they clear/complete enough?), but all this Covid19 mess is slowing us down. Look, I am catching up here at 2 AM! I am going to rethink that part of our planning and keep you updated. Explaining the fractal idea would be a fun post, I guess. It goes in two directions. a) We found that every practice we introduce includes, to some extent, the rest. That is why the more of them you adopt, the more effective and powerful they become, but also the easier is to adopt them. b) The way (the rules by) imagination works at the individual level, dyad, triad, crew/pod, congregation, and societal level is the same. And that is a clue to interpreting why the same practices (and their tensions) work, producing different outcomes, at any level. But I prevent myself to write about these things unless I clearly see how that would help to orient people into the adoption of practices. I guess that they do for researchers/experimenters, like the ones gathered here!


Ria Baeck May 5th, 2020 15:10

Hello @Toni Blanco - thanks for answering; but you never need to have not enough sleep to answer me!

Toni Blanco

Toni Blanco May 5th, 2020 21:10

No problem Ria. It was for all the gang. I do want to share about my microsolidarity crew and learn from yours. And I do not want to look like that guy that promoted one day his LinkedIn profile and disappeared. I find that kind of behavior very disrespectful.


Ria Baeck May 6th, 2020 06:51

Thanks Toni! appreciated!

Tibor Katelbach

Tibor Katelbach May 12th, 2020 09:08

our congregation is called Open Atlas , in reunion Island but the people are all over France and Europe, we try to think society in a way that corresponds to an approach respecting humans, nature and the finite planet, we only build opensource, digital tools and animation methods for collective intelligence like communecter.org, whihch in french means connecting the commons. We build tools to help communities in many different way , with a territorial, local and geographical approach, a sort of territorial wikipedia. The same engine allows us to build no brand interfaces for communities with innovative approaches.

We set up a third place model that we experiment, adapt and apply here in Reunion Island called KiltirLab (multi locations localy) where we coCreate, coWork, Collaborate and interconnect with many other Third places here and all over Europe. We help Third places interconnect.
The KiltirLab is also a wholesale distribution point where we experiment tools and processes for autonomy, with farmers and consumer, to optimise short circuits. We tried to write a utopic society program called Smarterre, that creates smartTerritories with a community creating sectorial approach and lot's of interoperability. We build territorial thematic observatories that in turn produces communities.
We are currently building OCECO (Open Collab Tools for a cooperative economy), a ressource and proposal (project) management interface, integrating reciprocity rules for Organization, it's based on a new tech stack called COForms (Collaborative Open Forms) which allows us to translate any workflow or process magically , we working with ValueFlows and REA semantics.
We strat the POC, and manage to find financing and currently connecting partners to think, build, use and experiment the tool and the processes.

When we talk about our congregation, we talk about little boats with crews, collaborating on moving ports , we go from port to port , the congregation or ecosystem is like a bigger boat, and all this in the open ocean ready to meet many more boats !!!