Network & Organisation

Gathering: A process to support decision making

CoCoInfo Tags: 

    • Network & Organisation
    • Decision making
    • Other
    • Peerness
    • Network & Organisation

This is a highly effective and surprisingly efficient method of decision making. It works in any group whose members are prepared to take responsibility for some of the group process. In other words it works in peer facilitated groups and it can also work in hierarchically facilitated groups as long as the members can exercise some of their power.

The process goes like this:

At any stage anyone who thinks it is appropriate can start a gather. What they do is to summarise the situation. The aim of the summary is to incorporate all the different opinions and needs being expressed.

If anyone disagrees with the gather, i.e. they think it is not a complete summary or it is inaccurate in some way, then they can re-gather. The rule is, though, that the re-gather must be a complete summary. In other words the re-gatherer is not allowed to just disagree with some part of the gather.

If anyone disagrees with the re-gather then they can re-gather in the same way. The process continues until everyone is content with the latest gather.

This way a summary is arrived at which incorporates all shades of opinion, need and fact. This means that the group validates all points of view, minority views are as important as majority views.

The gather may effectively be a decision. It could, for instance, be along the lines that a majority want to do A, a minority would prefer to do B, which is incompatible with A, but do not object to A, another minority want to do C which can be done in addition to A, another minority is opposed to A and most people think that it is acceptable for A to be done despite this latter minority's objections.

If there is a sense that that the situation outlined in the gather is not a satisfactory basis upon which to proceed then the discussion will continue until someone starts another gather.

Although the process can sound a bit complicated, in practice it is usually surprisingly easy. Often it can circumvent the need for unnecessary discussion. Thus, in an ongoing group dealing with an ongoing issue someone can start off with a gather that summarises the current situation. If everyone is happy with that and there is nothing more that needs doing currently then the group can get straight on with the next business.

The discipline of the process encourages everyone to give good attention to all points of view. That means that people are and feel heard and understood. This can avoid a lot of repetitive argument as people struggle to be heard.

The process also encourages a creative problem solving approach to decision making. In other words the group looks for solutions that can honour all the different needs and opinions rather than arguing over the merits of existing proposals.

The process supports non hierarchical decision making where no one and no group tries or has the authority to exercise control over others. At the end of the process each individual decides for themselves what to do, but they do so in the light of the information contained in the gathers.

The ‘Inspiration’ CoCo Magazine Dream

CoCoInfo Tags: 

    • Network & Organisation
    • Newsletter
    • Network & Organisation

Imagining the readers’ joy when receiving and reading the ‘INSPIRATION’ magazine

Each two-three months people look in their letterbox, whether this is the snail or email one, and find the ‘INSPIRATION’ magazine, filled with articles and graphics. Hey browse through it and immediately find something that is directly relevant to their co-counselling, sometimes only vaguely relevant, but all of them exude inspiration, beauty and ‘Inspiration’ for getting on with life.

Some people read the magazine, for the sheer fun of reading it. Other people look in it to find ways or people who they can contact for sharing experiences with or to have sessions with.  The ‘Inspiration’ magazine adds really to the potential of creating meaning in life.

They recommend fellow co-counsellors also to subscribe to it. It is so easy, they can request a printed copy, the pdf version of the printed version or both.

The ‘INSPIRATION’ magazine is becoming so successful that one starts to think about regional editions.

In short: the primary focus of the ‘Inspiration’ Magazine is to inspire people by its articles and graphics.

Innovative and supportive magazine co-operation

Real peership requires the authors being in charge of the Newsletter, not the Newsletter Editor(s) or producers or distribution team. In the new set-up there is not really one editorial team, production or distribution team. History in Co-Counselling has shown that that even when a newsletter has been set-up with the best of intentions as a team, it turns very quickly into a one-woman show. 

Stimulating and supporting Authors to produce copy

The Amazing thing there is no Editorial Team!  Instead there are several temporary small groups of people with shared topic interests, consisting of authors and supporters. So authors are more or less part of the magazine as well, in a way it is also their magazine.

There are many ways of how these temporary topic groups can be formed

‘Inspiration’ organises Engaging Magazine Cafés and CoCo Open Spaces that bring authors and supporters together.

Examples of  Temporary Shared Topical Groups

  • Zander’s survey
  • Lindsay’s questionnaire
  • Collecting McCoCo reports
  • Searching the Archives and CoCoInfo for inspiring contributions
  • Running writing workshops
  • Running interview workshops
  • There are written guidelines for articles and graphics comparable as there are now for the CCI newsletter.
  • Authors and supporters can consult other magazine participants and ask for support. However, the authors and supporters take the final decision about publishing the contribution and there is no editorial team.

Supporting the creativity of producing articles and graphics

Guidelines for producing articles and graphics

Laying out the Pages

The layout of the ‘INSPIRATION’ magazine is wild, inspiring, and technically perfect at some places, endearingly clumsy at other places. This is achieved because the authors and their supporters layout their pages the way they want themselves.  

The great thing is also that printing in colour has become very affordable!

Composing the final ‘Inspiration’ Magazine

The author/supporter group submit their final laid-out pages to that person who is at that point the final ‘Inspiration’ composer. This can be a different person or persons for each issue. There is no final editor or editorial team.

This is possible because at an ‘Inspiration’ CoCo Café one has agreed on a content framework for the forthcoming issues.

. and guidelines

Email version based on the printed version

Before the prints are joined together in A3s to go to the printer, they are scanned into searchable PDFs. These are bookmarked in such a way that its contents become very easily accessible, like the Here and Nows on CoCoInfo

Distributing The ‘Inspiration’ Magazine

The PDFs are sent to the people who like to have the electronic version. The printed versions are sent to the people who like that version. It is also possible to receive both versions.

After three months the electronic versions become also available on CoCoInfo.

Supporting the networking among co-counsellors

The primary focus of the ‘Inspiration’ Magazine is to inspire by its articles and graphics.
If there is an opportunity for ‘Inspiration’ to support networking among co-counsellors, this can be but does not need to be grasped as it is not ‘Inspiration’’s  first purpose.

One of the ways ‘Inspiration’ can support networking is that each ‘Inspiration’ article and graphic contains not only the author’s name but also phone number and email address so that they can be contacted for exchanging experiences, celebrations or even setting up sessions. This is the default position, unless an author chooses otherwise.

Co-Counsellors can subscribe to email newsletters like the CoCoScotland newsletter that informs them about last-minute workshop offerings and other networking opportunities.

The ‘Inspiration’ relationship with the coco community

‘Inspiration’ is not a community magazine and does not and need not depend on community. Having said that, by actively creating temporary author/supporters networks it contributes to community development without having to achieve that in the long run.

Also by inspiring co-counsellors it supports potential community development like fertiliser supports the grow of plants without being involved in shaping the community garden.

The Finance and Subscription Administration