The Chaordic Stepping Stones of CoCreate Adelaide

On a recent visit to Melbourne, I had the good fortune to catch up with a group of friends well-versed in collaborative events.  Whilst initially looking for answers, I was reminded of the wisdom in questions – the right questions are far more valuable than the answers.

Richard Harmer offered the Chaordic Stepping Stones as a set of questions, and has since created a fantastic overview of his version.  Worth a read of its own – and the basis for this post.

We’re working on some answers in this open document and a design session at 230pm Monday 25th March.  (We’d love to have you if you’re interested, contact me for the details.)

In the meantime, here are some rough and ready ideas for each of the main stepping stones… under no pretense of completeness!

1. Context

“There is an energy bubbling about Adelaide at the moment, inspired by projects like 5000+ and the Transitions Film Festival, and the growth of communities from Hackerspace and the startup space to thriving creative cultural communities.  People are excited about the possibilities for our future.

Long term trends see a rise in awareness and desire for more connectedness in community and neighbourhood ‘revitalisation’, and also evolving forms of grassroots ‘green’ initiatives.  People are also increasingly tired of government community engagement that doesn’t offer anything to participants – the ‘so what?’ of the conversation.

For a bit more detail, see this past blog post of ours.

2. Need

“Very few of us get the chance to apply our energy to something we care about.  In our society, we are locked out of the systems for getting things done.”

People who care and want to make a difference have poor opportunities to take action – it’s hard!  Taking action is going against the grain – pragmatically, and also in terms of social expectations.

Systems undermine community agency – from the way organisations work as closed shops, to the way governments relate to citizens.  You can do things for a cause if you want to slot in to somebody else’s organisation… but if you don’t fit their agenda, there are very few open, creative ‘spaces’ to connect with others and create new initiatives.

It is also challenging to work with other people outside of formal organisations…. there are few support mechanisms for it.

3. Purpose

To provide an ‘open space’ for generative, creative community discussions – that connect and empower passionate community members, to take action to cocreate the visions they have a passion for.

Through this, we also want to challenge people’s thinking – particularly about their role as citizens, and how citizens can take action together.

4. Story

We already have inspiring stories of how strongly our networks have banded together to make CoCreate Adelaide possible – despite all of our differences.

If we can continue to embody this spirit through our event, before and after, then we’ll be able to tell inspiring stories of personal and collective transformation in six months’ time.

5. Principles

  • Everyone is equal
  • Nobody has all the answers
  • Be open to reflection, adaptation and transformation
  • Strive for inclusiveness
  • Stand on each others’ shoulders
  • Don’t push

6. People

The ‘right people’ for CoCreate are inspiring and inspired, and have the passion and energy to take action.

We need diversity to make valuable connections, including having voices representing the main different perspectives on the systems we might hope to transform.

7. Concepts

‘Open spaces’ for powerful discussions, where participants can flow from sharing the visions they care about, to how we can make these visions real together.

8. Beliefs that limit

  • We aren’t able to create these visions – if they are to be made real, it is up to [someone else]
  • Collaboration is too hard for us
  • We’ve been there, done that
  • Our fellow participants won’t support us

9. Structure

A body of open space sessions, focused on two main questions: first what are our visions, and second how can we bring them into the present? (With a possible bridge: where are we now?)

An introduction that connects us to past and place (e.g. welcome to country), to each other (e.g. icebreaker) and our relationship to the future (e.g. foresight).

A conclusion that recaps some of our transformative experiences, identifies promising initiatives – that brings us back together again, and provides a sense of collective achievement and next steps.

10. Practices

  • Ask first how we can support one another
  • Ask next how we can each contribute to our collective vision
  • Ask finally how we can leverage what has come before

11. Harvest

A scribe from each session provides an intro paragraph on the vision that is the topic of the session, the main lessons about context and what is happening, and what may come out of the session.  (Also who ran it, and who wants to be kept in touch regards it.)

Participants self-nominate (on paper, in addition to in-discussion) gifts they can offer in service of the vision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *