Have you ever worked on a good team that you knew had the potential to be a great team, but somehow just didn’t happen? Are you curious about why groups — be they a family, a leadership team, or a project team — sometimes get stuck? Do you ever wonder how to un-stick them? If so, come to this Thursday’s brown bag lunch, where I will be sharing a framework that makes visible the invisible dynamics of groups, based on the work of family systems theorist David Kantor.
If you want to join the conversation, please RSVP in the comments below. Thanks!
This Thursday’s brown bag discussion will be about innovations in participatory governance. We’ll explore why the time is now to reinvigorate the democratic system, identify different experiments to bring participation back in to government and governance, and attempt to make sense of the field. We’d love for people to come prepared to share and have a dialogue around different models they’ve seen, what is working, and what could be next in all these exciting efforts to re-boot the democratic process.
In case you missed it, we are hosting brown bag discussions every Thursday noon at Fiore Caffe in San Francisco. These brown bags are all about learning with and from each other, so please do come join us.
The particular inspiration for this brown bag comes from work Eugene and I did with Code for America last week. Code for America exists to “help governments work better for everyone with the people and the power of the web.” Groupaya spends a lot of time thinking about bigger and better ways for teams, organizations and networks to work together more skillfully. The web has been a transformational tool towards this end, providing new structures for communication, collaboration, and participation. This week, Code for America reminded us of the great potential — and importance — of applying our learning to the experience of being a citizen. We’d love to continue the dialogue this Thursday with anyone intrigued by new models of participation that could breath life back in to the experience of government.
Kristin Cobble and Rebecca Petzel at our inaugural brown bag last Thursday. They'll be at Enterprise 2.0 this week.
We enjoyed hosting our first brown bag session last Thursday! This week, the whole team will be out and about, and we’d love to meet you!
Kristin Cobble and Rebecca Petzel will be spending the week at Enterprise 2.0 in Santa Clara, California. Two of our past projects are going to be prominently mentioned at the keynote talks later this afternoon and tomorrow morning, so look out for those. If you’ll be around, and if you’d like to meet Kristin or Rebecca, leave a comment on this post, and they’ll look out for you.
I’ll be in Portland tomorrow and in Seattle on Thursday, and I’ll be hosting informal meetups in both places:
4pm, Tuesday, November 15 Jelly Helm Studios (thanks to my friend, Jelly Helm, for hosting!)
Goldsmith Bldg. #309
412 NW Couch Street
Portland, Oregon 97209
9am, Thursday, November 17 Chocolati Cafe
8319 Greenwood Ave
Seattle, WA 98103
There will be good people and good conversation about collaboration, leadership, and creating our future. If you’d like to join us, please leave a comment below and say which meetup you’ll be attending, so I know to expect you.
We hold learning in the highest regard. It’s a critical part of what we do with clients, and it needs to be a critical part of Groupaya the organization.
In order to create more space to learn from each other, we’ve decided to start doing informal brown bag sessions every Thursday at noon at Fiore Caffe in San Francisco. And since we’re all about learning with community, we figured we’d open these up to anyone who’d like to participate.
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and you’d like to participate, please leave a comment below so we know how many to expect, and come join us! It will be a great way to meet all three of us in the flesh and to learn with us.
Photo by WarzauWynn. Licensed CC-BY-NC-ND.
I’ll be leading this Thursday’s (November 10) brown bag in a session I’m tentatively calling, “Saving The World Through Better Note-Taking.” I’m going to be sharing some ideas I’ve had for a long-time about the role of artifacts in effective collaboration, followed by what I hope will be some rousing discussion.
This will also be somewhat of a practice run for me, as I’ll be doing a similar brown bag in Portland and possibly Seattle next week. If you’re in either of those cities and would like to participate or simply meet up next week, please note that in the comments below as well.
It was exciting to officially Introduce Groupaya to the world last week. And trust us, we know there’s still a lot more to be explained. In one of our very first comments, David Jay asked a great starting question: what groups are you planning to work with?
Great question David. Eugene summed it up well, responding:
“We want to work with groups who are doing something positive for society, preferably something hard. We will intentionally not be narrow in the groups with whom we work, as diversity leads to richer learning.”
As this comment illuminates, we’re pretty obsessed with impact and learning. Why? Because we’re in this game to save the world (to put it mildly). In fact, increasing impact is a large part of the reason Kristin and Eugene started this crazy thing.
Prior to 2010, they were both thriving in their individual work to help groups work together more skillfully. Upon meeting, the quickly realized that their breadth of experience and approaches to harnessing and bringing out collective wisdom – enabling groups to achieve the unimaginable – were complementary. And more importantly, their values were aligned as to the importance of such work in building a more sustainable future. They suspected that by combining forces, they could add value to groups (and the world) far beyond either of their individual capacity. And this strong belief and commitment to making an impact is what led me, Rebecca, to join this crazy adventure.
We’ve been trying to express this vision, this belief, the ultimate inspiration behind Why Groupaya Does What It Does, and we think we’re close in this beautiful graphic below (originally sketched by Eugene, brought to life by Amy Wu Wong). But we’d love your feedback as we continue to adapt our vision.
Do you have a sense of Why We Do What We Do from this picture? Does it inspire you to join the Groupaya movement?
Now that we’re out of the closet, you’ll notice a few posts in the coming weeks talking about Groupaya’s strategy. We’re on the tail end of our strategic planning process (defining our mission, core values, principles for how we work, and the plan for achieving our vision), and we’d love to enlist your feedback.
Of course we don’t want to presume strategy work is as fascinating to the rest of the world as it is to us, but it is important for us to share. Why you ask? Well in our first strategy session, we took a step back and asked a simple question: What is strategic planning? We agreed:
It’s an opportunity to align our team around a vision, shared values, and goals
It’s a path and a plan for how we’re going to achieve our goals
Most importantly, it’s a process for activating ourselves and our larger network
Kristin, Eugene, and I all have a lot of strategy work under our belts, and we often see other strategy processes place too much emphasis on the end product (a report or a deck) and not enough on the process of developing the strategy and evolving it. Those processes too often result in little more than a nicely bound stack of paper on a shelf. Nilofer Merchant extensively explores the failure of this outcome and approach in her book, The New How.
In our experience, the most effective strategic planning is a collective inquiry process through which an organization and its network’s potential is uncovered and unleashed. And then, once the strategy has been developed, it is continuously evolved.
But we’re a teeny, tiny, budding company with five people on a good day. Who do we need to activate besides ourselves? Who should we be sharing with? The answer hit us over the head like a ton of bricks. You! Our friends, our colleagues, the people we are excited to learn and share with over the coming years.
So, in this spirit, we’d love to invite you, our valued network, to help us define our path and bring this future into reality. In future posts, we will share some of the details of our strategy. For now, we are curious, what are some of your “best practices” around developing or evolving strategy? We look forward to hearing from you!
Thanks to our delightful colleague, Rebecca Petzel, we seem to be out of the closet. As much as I enjoyed all of the superlatives in her post, she may have exaggerated a bit in describing us. This has spurred me to share some of my own thoughts on who we are, what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it. This, of course, was all part of Rebecca’s evil plan in the first place.
Rebecca was being tongue-in-cheek when she described Groupaya as “super stealth, super secret.” Either that, or we are the worst people in the world at keeping a secret. We don’t do super stealth, super secret, because we have a strong ethos around openness, transparency, and generosity. All of these things make groups and the world better.
Our intention has always been to be transparent about our planning process as a way of thinking out loud and telling our story. In practice, this isn’t always easy. For one thing, I didn’t want to confuse my clients and peers unnecessarily. Blue Oxen Associates is still around, although I’ll be shutting it down by the end of the year (as I’ll explain in more detail later).
For another thing, we wanted to shave several yaks before we started telling our story in earnest. In order to tell our story, we needed a blog. In order to have a blog, we needed a name. And what’s a good name without a logo?! Etc.
Well, we’re through shaving yaks, and we’re ready to begin sharing in earnest. Our story and our thinking will come out in bits and pieces over the coming weeks. We’ll probably have an “official” launch as well. Maybe.
Even though this is our first pass at talking about ourselves, we did take the occasional video during our planning process. This is our first, a three-minute clip courtesy of Kristin Cobble‘s nine-year old son, who is an actual superhero. We recorded this last December, before we even had a name, and it will give you a taste of how confused we were back then. Enjoy!
We’ve also been on Twitter and Facebook for a while, so follow us there too!
For the past year, Kristin Cobble and Eugene Eric Kim have been sitting on a super stealth, super secret, super impactful new startup. Yesterday, these two superheroes signed a formal partnership agreement and are now ready to bring Groupaya to the world! Well, almost ready.
OK, so what is Groupaya? Stay tuned! Right now we can tell you:
This is the brainchild of Eugene Eric Kim and Kristin Cobble. Eugene Eric Kim has quite a reputation around collaboration: known far and wide as one of the best designers of collaborative experiences. Kristin Cobble lives and breathes organizational and leadership development. For over 20 years, she’s helped leadership teams and organizations think bigger about what is possible and then make it reality. When these two met two years ago, they recognized that if they combined forces, well, the sky could be the limit.
Groupaya is group + upaya. “Upaya” means “skillful means” in Sanskrit. Groups… well you know what those are. Groupaya’s main raison d’être is to help groups more skillfully work together to create a future we all want to be part of.
I’m Rebecca Petzel. In my previous life, I ran around with a group of friends who called themselves collaboration ninjas. I like to help rag-tag social entrepreneurs unlock their potential through intelligent, super impactful collaborations. I’m helping Eugene and Kristin bring their collective wisdom to the world, and will be documenting the journey here. Here’s to hoping I don’t embarrass any of us too much.
OK, that’s enough for now. Please stay-tuned and share what you think as Groupaya unfolds!