Event:2015/01/13 Event Title

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How We Organize Working Group Agenda January 13th, 2015 7 - 8:30pm

  • (10min) Grounding Ourselves Exercise
    • Take a few moments for yourself and draw a shape that represents some form of organizing that happens in the commons which you feel works well
    • Explain your shape to others
  • (15min) Report Back from those who've attended previous meetings
    • What important work has been done?
    • What do we need to continue working on?
      • Accommodating for a diversity of organizing styles
      • Tension between do-ocracy and consensus
    • Are there any outstanding requests of our working group?
  • (15min) Return to conversation about TIL tenancy and Publication Studios tenancy of desk
    • Can someone recall the details of this situation?
      • Ian is renting a desk in TIL for Publication Studios
      • We think he should submit a proposal for tenancy
      • Should we set a policy that collectives cannot sublet their own space? This is written in our sublease agreement already. Let's remind the delegates.
    • What should we do next? Ian has agreed to join us next Tuesday, 1/20, if necessary
    • Also (from old agenda): TIL and subleasing space. Discuss Cere's points made here: https://omnicommons.org/lists/private/how-we-organize/2014-December/000021.html
  • (20min) Possibility of helping organize an Omni-wide strategic planning/visioning retreat
    • There's been loose discussion about the need for time to reflect on all we've done so far and what our plans are for the next couple years
    • Does our working group feel like we should take up some of this organizing task?
    • What forms of retreat should we pursue? Should it take place at the Omni or somewhere outisde of the Omni, but still in the Bay area? Should it be overnight? etc.
      • Would be important to have one person from each collective there
      • Set a date for an intentional organizing meeting around it
        • Have people come with topics they want to discuss
        • Camping in Pt Reyes? Harbin hot springs...?
        • Timeframe, location
  • (30min) How can we more effectively organize access to the working groups? Promoting growth and effectiveness
    • Gathering a list of all the working groups, who their "bottom-liner" is, what their mailing list is, their date and time of meeting, etc.
    • How can we make this information visible and attractive around the Omni for folks to see so they can join?
      • Public terminals in the space with an app for reporting activity thats been undertaken (plus callout option for volunteers)
        • Hol volunteers to set them up in February
      • Welcoming Committee is working on signage,
        • Joel has volunteered to do this also
        • Should also reach out to Material Print Machine
      • Volunteer orientation sessions once a month.
      • We need a giant whiteboard map of the building! Talk to MPM
      • Posting Safer Space policy
    • How can we return to inviting our internal collectives to join the working groups?
      • Just telling them they have to isn't working
      • Updating bottom-liners
      • Make personal invitations highlighting the social / fun aspects
      • Ask people to invite friends to working groups

Working Groups

  • Commons - Saturday at 1 - Jenny
  • CDC - Sundays at noon - Sarah P
  • Communications is in hibernation
  • Fundraising - Mondays at 7 - Laura
  • How We Organize - Tuesdays at 7 - Stephen
  • Finance - Tuesdays at 7 - Amgo
  • Welcoming Committee - Thursdays at 6 - Jenny
  • Building and Facilities - needs bottomliner, maybe Matt? Joe?


  • We're approaching the 6-month review of collectives! Agenda item for next week?
    • More of a review than a reapplication process;
  • How to channel volunteer energy of those using the space for free?
    • Need more tools / cleaning supplies easily accessible
    • Need to make a clear sign for the janitorial closet
    • Maybe ask for a deposit even for free events
    • Request worktrade in exchange for free space
  • Clutter, specifically in the Disco Room
    • Leave No Trace signs throughout the building
    • Signs in the bathroom , "this is YOUR bathroom, please help keep it clean" with a map to the janitorial closet
  • What does it mean to keep and maintain a commons?
  • Chains for holding certain stuffs to the walls

Action Items

  • Create a consolidated document of the agreement and expectations for use of the space (Jenny)
  • Reportback on Thursday & request of availability to meet (Jenny)
  • Email Ian about proposal next week (Stephen)

Next Meeting

  • Meet w/ Ian about tenancy proposal
  • 6-month review of collectives
  • Set date for visioning planning meeting
  • Getting renters to contribute to hygiene of the space

This is Laura T. I cant attend the meeting but want to support whatever visioning and planning process we decide we need. I'm pasting here an overview of the process I mean when I say Strategic planning. STRATEGIC PLANNING

When organizations and groups set aside time for participatory Strategic Planning, they need to define:

a FOCUS for the planning (what are the key issues and challenges we need to be sure to address in our planning?) and, in the light of that focus they need to define

WHO needs to be involved in the implementation and therefore the planning process, and then define the details of the PROCESS to use and how to allocate the time effectively in developing the plan. The skeleton of the process is as follows:

   ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN:  What is going on that we need to respond to (globally, in the community we serve, in our chosen field of work, in our own history, internally within our group)? For OC that might mean reviewing our accomplishments, naming what is working well and what isn’t, and honing our understanding of our purpose.

   PRACTICAL VISION:  What would we like to see in place 3-5 years from now as a result of our efforts?

   UNDERLYING CONTRADICTIONS:  What current obstacles are blocking the realization of our vision? This is the crux of the process where the group names the systems, root causes, embedded patterns of behavior, mental images held by the group about its identity, etc that hold the group back. Contradictions may be the habits or patterns that have helped the organization thrive to this point but will now get in the way of achieving the Vision, or unresolved contradictory values the prevent the full realization of either (such as wanting to be open to all but also wanting safety). An underlying contradiction is something that is real, kept alive by group members in some way, and something that they can change.

   STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS:  What actions / directions do we need to take in the next year or two to deal with the obstacles and move us towards our vision? The group decides what changes they will work toward that will unblock their potential to accomplish their vision. These are often changes that crosscut the organization; that everyone needs to participate in shifting.

   IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE:  What do we actually intend to accomplish in the coming year (or several years)?  by when?

   90 DAY LAUNCH CALENDAR:  What are the priority tasks for launching our plan, and what are the detailed steps and assignments to ensure their accomplishment?

The 90 day calendar enables the group to check in quarterly on their progress and remanuever in response to the always changing reality, while always keeping an eye on the strategic directions and the vision.