Mon 15 Jun 2020 10:19AM

Invitation to Crew: Welcoming to Microsolidarity in an online remote work environment

RH Ronen Hirsch Public Seen by 105

How to welcome individuals to Micosolidarity in an online remote-work environment?


Ronen Hirsch Mon 15 Jun 2020 10:20AM

This invitation is an outcome of the virtual meetup that took place on June 12, 2020 with @Toni Blanco , @Alex Rodriguez , @James Lewis and @Ronen Hirsch .


Microsolidarity has been, so far, operating with an intentional bias towards physical proximity. This has made Microsolidarity less accessible to people who live in remote locations.

The pandemic has applied pressured some established (or establishing) Microsolidarity groups to reconsider their relationship with online/remote forms of community.

This crew will explore how people in remote locations can come together to effectively form crews and congregations. We will aspire to create a generative process that transforms a continuous flow of individual strangers into a continuous flow of cohesive groups who are able to embrace, practice, and thrive within Microsolidarity.


  1. The following norms are offered as a starting point and to set a tone for the formation of the crew. They are open to discussion, refinement, and change as we discover working together.

  2. We will be trying to "walk the talk" by working as a remote team.

  3. We will be emphasizing asynchronous collaborative work in an open (public for reading, only crew can contribute) subgroup within the Loomio Microsoldarity group. We will determine and refine agreements on how to use this space as we become more familiar with the needs that arise.

  4. We will be doing weekly meetings for both work and mutual care.

  5. We will be using sociocratic-consent as a default decision-making method and if necessary we will use it to bootstrap other methods.

  6. We will strive to create a calm and peaceful work environment. We will avoid disruptive and subtly stress-inducing patterns (such as high-frequency chat rooms that demand attention and rapid response). We will embrace patterns that evoke spaciousness, thoughtfulness, and well-being.

  7. We will strive to establish a sense of "collective presence" by focusing on and addressing the needs and challenges that are actually in front of us and setting aside theoretical issues we may encounter in the future.

  8. We will practice working with a sense of unfolding wholeness. At any given point in the process, we will make sure we have a shared sense of the "whole" that we are creating.


We will work together for an initial cycle of 6 weeks during which we will work online both asynchronously and share time together in video meetings.

We will all allocate time for a weekly 2-hour meeting. Video meetings will include time for work-related conversations and for mutual care. The first meeting will be an initiation of the crew during which we will review the norms we want to embrace in our work together. The last meeting will be a retrospective.

The crew will start its work on the week that starts on June 28th. See below instructions for scheduling.


We will produce a written artifact that describes a generative process for converting a continuous flow of individuals into a continuous flow of teams.

We will then take some time (~2 weeks) to reflect on this outcome, to potentially share it with others and to consider if/how we wish to move forward as a crew (or other structure/s).


To join please:

  1. Respond to this invitation with a short statement about your interest in this crew.

  2. Please @mention people from the existing Microsolidarity Loomio space who you feel can contribute to this exploration.

  3. Please fill out this survey for determining a suitable recurring weekly time for the meetings.


James Lewis Mon 15 Jun 2020 10:33AM

Sounds great, I'd love to join. I'm interested as this is exactly the space I'm in and I resonate with the nicely presented 'norms'. Maybe @Sven also interested?


Alex Rodriguez Tue 16 Jun 2020 6:09PM

I am definitely interested! As I mentioned in our call last week, I've been looking to deepen my practice around translocal remote working and would love to be in relationship with some other folks that are wanting to do the work with this framework of intention.


Ronen Hirsch Mon 15 Jun 2020 11:07AM

ping @Tibor Katelbach


Nenad Maljković Tue 16 Jun 2020 8:51AM

Maybe this might interest you @Aimee and @Naomi Smith? We kind of already work like this in Permaculture CoLab...


Aimee Wed 17 Jun 2020 7:19AM

thank you for the ping on this, I would love to join at the same time I am mindful at the moment of limited time capacity - will put it on the list of possibles for now until my weekly capacity check Sunday


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 17 Jun 2020 10:45AM

This is rad @Ronen Hirsch - FYI I made you an admin of this group so you can create subgroups.


Jon Schull Wed 17 Jun 2020 2:34PM

interested in microsolidarity, social innovation, AND enabling technologies


Josh Fairhead Sun 21 Jun 2020 7:10PM

Hey @Ronen Hirsch - Thanks for starting this; the survey link was "bad gateway" but count me in :)

Ping for @Roberto Valenti who may be interested also


Roberto Valenti Mon 22 Jun 2020 10:04PM

Yes this sounds great! I have been building some tools that could facilitate formation, looking forward to contribute!


Toni Blanco Tue 23 Jun 2020 12:16PM

Weird, the survey link worked for me and others, maybe just try again.


Josh Fairhead Wed 24 Jun 2020 2:42PM

Yep, that round did it


Toni Blanco Tue 23 Jun 2020 12:11PM

As I told you in the meet up I am in. I am not very active here or elsewhere bevause I am recovering now from a kidney stone and taking care of my mama together with my sisters.


Jon Schull Wed 24 Jun 2020 3:05PM

I'm co-Founder of e-NABLE, a global network of volunteers who make free open source 3D-printed prosthetics for children and underserved populations. We have 150 chapters around the world and a continuous flow of individual strangers who we would love to turn into a continuous flow of cohesive groups.


Toni Blanco Sat 11 Jul 2020 12:03AM

Very interesting, @Jon Schull

@Ronen Hirsch @Alex Rodriguez please check here their twelve step generative sequence, I am analyzing it and I will tell you why I think it works.


Ronen Hirsch Mon 13 Jul 2020 8:18AM

yes, it is a good example of a generative process :) it seems to benefit from:

  1. Having a very specific domain.

  2. A specific "matchmaking requirement.

  3. That volunteers (it seems!) can engage as individuals (on their own).

    @Jon Schull this sounds like a beautiful project (maybe the most meaningful application of 3D printing I've encountered!). I'm curious:

  1. What role do the "local chapters" play?

  2. Where would you like to see improvements in your existing process?

  3. Where does "strangers -> cohesive groups" meet your organization?


Jon Schull Tue 14 Jul 2020 2:53PM

@Ronen Hirsch Very good questions, thank you! I'll use them as a framework for my reply.

>"Having a very specific domain."

The specific domain (3D-printed prosthetics) is important. We attract people who want to work with 3D-printers and people who want to donate prosthetics. It's been surprisingly difficult to get the collective to expand their skills and motivations to other approaches (such as-crafting assistive technologies for specific clients) and other communities in need (such as 3D-printed graphics for blind people).

"> A specific "matchmaking requirement."

Actually that's not a requirement. But the option does make it easier for people to participate, if only by giving the impression that the path forward is clearly marked. (In truth, custom prosthetics often requires perseverance and improvisation, and our drop-out rate is not small.)

> "That volunteers (it seems!) can engage as individuals (on their own)."

Indeed, and they do, in some cases developing initiatives central leadership can not even imagine.

> What role do the "local chapters" play?

In many cases, a huge role. I have the impression that e-NABLE Chapters in France, Turkey, and Brazil are almost full-fledged NGOs. Many chapters however are a local handful of people collaborating casually and covering a few cases a year. A few chapters specialize in helping us (attempt) to coordinate and support the larger movement.

We do have a good practice of telling the stories of chapters of note in our newsletter. Check it out! [subscribe](http://lb.benchmarkemail.com//listbuilder/signupnew?s3BwOY6eesar%252B7x75CqIIhd%252FnLIIeiK%252BLryeyv9Nt09oHob%252BACS9Ug%253D%253D), [Winter2020](http://enableoutreach.bmeurl.co/9BB1DA2), [Summer 2020](http://enableoutreach.bmetrack.com/c/v?e=1089A3D&c=B8409&t=0&l=&email=8mN3auz4XcyKzqwCcvpTC4byzHNB5Rcr),

> Where would you like to see improvements in your existing process?

A long story.

  • We are very weak on followup, impact assessment, and visibility into the e-NABLE movement. To address this, we are planning to require that chapters provide semi-annual reports in order to stay listed on the [Map of Chapters](https://map.e-nable.org). This might allow us to identify and disseminate best practices, etc.

  • We have the usual long-tail distribution of a few active heroes vs many under-utilized human resources, etc.

I suspect that the way to shape the culture and improve our efficacy would be to have a systematically guided onboarding (and indoctrination process) that would shape new recruits cohort by cohort (which is a sporadically heavy stream) while allowing us to learn more about their wants and potential contributions. But an ongoing labor-intensive systematic program is not something we have undertaken, in part because it requires a long term commitment from a very competent champion...and in a community of mostly unpaid volunteers that person is hard to come by.

Which brings us to one more vulnerability I will mention. "Champions" are found, not made, and they are hard to find. And then, when they become unavailable due to other obligations we can become becalmed. Furthermore, in a volunteer community, we occasionally get stuck with "wannabe champions" who turn out to do more harm than good and are hard to displace.

These are opportunities as well as challenges, and we're happy to discuss.


Ronen Hirsch Fri 7 Aug 2020 11:09AM

Yesterday we concluded our first work cycle with a retrospective. One of the questions we discussed was if/what to signal back to the main Loomio Microsolidarity group. We discovered that we wanted to signal back that "we happened" but DID NOT feel compelled (or motivated) to write about our experiences. WE ARE happy to answer specific questions, so if you have any, please feel free to ask.

The crew that came together included @Toni Blanco @Alex Rodriguez @Josh Fairhead and me. Some documentation/echoes are available in the open-to-the-public (for reading) subgroup.

Some themes we explored:

  1. Busy-ness and overdoing.

  2. Generative processes & Unfolding Wholeness (Christoper Alexander & the "Japanese Teahouse").

  3. Orientation in a space.

  4. Speed (at which people move) and deceleration (change of speed) ... slowing down into relationship.

  5. Sound

  6. Social signaling ... and "negative" signaling (via negativa)

  7. Alive/vital/imperative ... mutual risk.

  8. Ritual / "reset ritual" / dissent

There was a shared feeling that it was a good cycle: we got to know each other, we developed some shared vocabulary and a deeper sense of who we are and where we are coming from. We remained spacious and attentive and available to softly explore. We did not arrive at concrete deliverables but feel better prepared to do so in the future.

We have decided to take a summer break (~August) and then continue into a 2nd cycle. The 2nd cycle will have a different structure (less synchronous video calls and more asynchronous work). It will have a soft start and last until the end-of-year holiday season.