Mess with the dynamics

January Co-op Days

Last week the members of the We Are Open Co-op got together. As per usual, we crashed into Bryan’s family’s lives to meet and talk and make and work during our biannual in-person meet up.

Over the last two years, we’ve talked often about expanding the Co-op. As we’ve navigated the ins and outs of the post-capitalist dream world we find ourselves actively building, we’ve talked about what it means to add more people into the mix. We’ve not, however, made serious advancements in our thinking around this. We were learning how we work together and what our needs are in terms of our governance and structures. We were envisioning our collective future. We were settling into the group dynamics of four people who have overwhelming respect for one another’s work.

We have become comfortable enough at the We Are Open Co-op, that we’re in danger of becoming complacent*. So one of our goals for 2018 is to find at least ONE new member to join the We Are Open Co-op. We’re very much aware of how important our working atmosphere is to us and have thus discussed quite extensively what we will look for in a new member.

*This is a lie. Have you met us? We’re moving at the speed of light, complacency doesn’t stand a chance.

We’ve created some guidelines to help people who might be interested in joining our co-op. We’ve outlined why you should be excited about the idea. We’ve updated our wiki to explain how we do the money stuff, how we fund internal projects, and the kind of access members have. We are ready to shift the dynamics of our comfortable co-op and push the co-op towards a new future.

We also spent some time getting ourselves together so that we can be more structured and productive (e.g. so new members don’t think we’re chaotic crazy pants people). We assigned “owners” to our various infrastructural stuff, but made sure everyone has write access. So while Doug, for example, “owns” the We Are Open Co-op Calendar, any of us can move and edit events. This shared calendar makes it easy for co-op members to see who has what kind of event, where and when. We documented that we will use our GitHub issues for internal work to be done and a pipeline Trello board for clients.

Speaking of clients, we talked about upcoming work, upcoming collaborations, upcoming events and all the other stuff we’ve got floating around in our minds. Then we talked about Co-op initiated projects and their sponsors. We reestablished our desire to take some of these projects further and strategized on how to get stuff done.

Finally, we talked about the fact that our co-op is uniquely positioned to serve as a sort of Innovation Swat Team. Organisations that need an innovation lab, but don’t know how to start would benefit from our expertise. Folks who want to think outside the box and push the boundaries can rely on our expertise in open collaboration, facilitation, technology, learning, etc, etc. Plus, we’re members of the greater Co-operative Technologist network, so there’s kind of nothing we can’t get done. If the Internet, culture, openness, community building, social engineering, making stuff and/or thinking big thoughts is involved, the members of the We Are Open Co-op are beneficial additions to any project or team.

Wondering about our skills? Take a look.