Today, 101s is launching the group-dynamics dojo.

(Pssst. If you’ve landed on this page already wanting to join, jump to the bottom of the page to sign up.)

Before I explain the dojo, though, let me tell you about the problems it’s trying to address.

The problem

Ever since we started 101s, it’s been clear to us that

  1. There are many people in communities, teams, collectives, and organisations who want to help these groups improve. Either by increasing their alignment with their own values (or their ability to adopt new ones), handling conflict better, adapting to a changing world, and, not least, making an impact.
  2. These people often lack key resources.
  3. Most importantly, there are people in similar positions in other groups, who either know what they don’t, or have access to what they need — and who would be eager to share. However,
  4. These people often don’t know each other, nor do they have a structure in place to allow them to discover how they can support each other, and the groups they care about.

This leads to avoidable group challenges: little engagement (leading to little impact and stagnation), hemorrhaging key members due to members who haven’t learned how to take accountability, siloing into ever-smaller niches, group carers’ burnout, then disarray, and sometimes rupture or dissolution.

This visualization is meant to exemplify community rupture © CC-BY SA 4.0, original by Martin Grandjean

Moreover, this often happens with little hindsight learning about conflicts, engagement, accountability, boundaries or value integrity, leaving the field ripe for disillusionment and eventual repetition.

This way, we don’t get to change the world as we hoped we would. The impact of our groups, through the things we build, our activism, art, projects and inspiration that we gift the world simply don’t get to take root, grow and bear fruit.

We feel that, in our groups, there is so much potential for better outcomes.

Early attempts

During lockdown, before 101s was born, we were already trying to find better solutions. As members of similar but unconnected communities, we put together a meeting between several moderators, event organizers and community members from three different countries. The idea was simple: to get to know each other, share our challenges in tending to our communities, and to thus improve them, with each other’s help. The meeting went wonderfully, and people were energized.

And then, nothing. No follow-up. Lights off.

The two of us who currently make up 101s were members of all these groups, but not really moderators or administrators, so we didn’t feel like we ought to push the idea too much. And the others? Well, our lives are so busy these days, and our energy limited. And, we think, the vision of what exactly could happen in these exchanges hadn’t formed too well in people’s minds yet.

It was a positive first step, and we also knew we could do better. Today, we are able to build on that initiative, as part of 101s, with you! We’re calling it:

The group dynamics dojo

The group dynamics dojo is an invitation to plark across groups, in order to learn how to plark better inside our groups.

We feel that we are in a better position to provide and encourage the learning that our groups need. Firstly, we are a separate organisation from the communities, collectives, teams or organisations we want to support. As such, the space that we have created is now clearly an invitation, clearly opt-in. Moreover, we can now sustain the space independently of any internal group dynamics (except our own, of course, which we’re tending to with care). Finally, this work is part of our ikigai at 101s, so (with your help, too) it will receive the resources it needs to thrive.

How will it work?

Firstly, it will be a continuously evolving and adapting, yet carefully crafted experiment, that one day will yield enough information about what works and what doesn’t to have a solid structure. At the moment, though, we are not making the mistake of assuming we know what’s best. Instead, we will find that out together with you:

Alpha version

In computer programming, an ‘alpha’ version is the proof-of-concept version of a piece of software, the first one to be put to the test of real-life applications. It can be assumed that the alpha version won’t offer as smooth a user experience as the final release, which will probably look and feel quite different. The community collaborates in adapting and building on this alpha version to reach an iteration that better meets the needs of its users.

In the same way, we’re really excited to announce that the group dynamics dojo is now in its alpha stage. As such, it’s ready for its first testing rounds!

We have a (minimal) stable structure in place for the first test runs. It includes regular online meetings and, most likely, an online group to host us, the practitioners. The meetings will also have a minimal stable structure, on top of which we’ll play with things like themes, breaking out into support groups / circles / pods, key guests or speakers, and probably many other interventions to help us help each other.

In the next few months, we will plark to continuously learn how to use our time best (in the most fun, useful and inspiring way), with a focus on mutual support, sharing, and problem-solving on similar challenges (lightening and sharing the load).

Our first meeting will be focused on getting to know each other, and we’ll have some questions lined up for you. Next, after we integrate everyone’s responses, questions and feedback from the first meeting, we’ll suggest a flexible structure to properly initiate the group dynamics dojo.

We are all living resources. Together, we have the potential to pool our knowledge, experience, and heart for community in the same space and build a gathering of trust, openness and support… Wow! This goes to the very essence of what 101s is about.

Is this for me?

If you’re still reading, very likely. We have the experience of taking responsibility, jumping in and creating spaces for people to come together and create community. We’ve also met and worked with many other enthusiasts, carers, glues, nurturers, energizers of communities, collectives, teams, organisations, and groups of all types — perhaps like you. If you find yourself helping with

  • conflicts,
  • increasing the safety of your community’s gatherings,
  • avoiding common pitfalls of a new group initiative,
  • drafting norms or protocols for your group,
  • engaging others to participate through posts, comments or events,
  • dealing with difficult members

then the dojo will benefit you, because all of these topics, and more, will be part of the discussions. You’ll also enjoy it if you find group care a valuable and fun skill to explore and learn.

Are there any conditions?

Yes. If you aren’t joining at the invitation of someone who’s already a part of the dojo, you will be added to our waiting list. We will go through the waiting list one by one, and have a chat with everyone about your interest and experience, to make sure we and the dojo are a good match for each other.

Also, we’d like to keep the group active: if members do not come for three months running, they will be asked to reapply in the future.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up for the group-dynamics dojo and general newsletter list using the form below. (If you’re already subscribed to our general newsletter, please use the same email.) And, if you come at someone’s recommendation, do reply to the confirmation email you receive, and tell us about it. Looking forward to meeting you!