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MIX 2.0 - a real community

jon-ingham's picture

MIX 2.0 - a real community

By Jon Ingham on February 24, 2013

'The MIX as a community': for me this is the key hacking area by far. I'm interested that Alberto Blanco suggests that we are already a community. For me, it doesn't feel like it. Certainly not a 'community of passion' that we hacked about before. Perhaps that's just because I've not been participating in the most recent hacks, but back in in 2011 I started to feel that we weren't constructed in the right way to achieve what we were set out to do (see http://blog.social-advantage.com/2011/07/management-20-on-mix.html ) and I therefore lost of some of my intial enthusiasm. We're certainly not a flat / democratic / self-managing community. To be fair, we were never set up this way, with Chris Grams appointing himself as the benevolent dictator for life, which I did understand. But we're not even set up in a way that naturally forms relationships between us. The 'me in three' and photo allows us to provide some information about each other, but there's no real opportunity to talk to each other here, other than about the ideas put forward within the hack. The current MIX puts ideas in the centre, whereas we really we need to focus much more on each other and creating deeper relationships between us. Helping us to share our own experiences, insights and perspectives, and build on these by connecting with the experiences, insights and perspectives of others. And doing this in a less structured way than is currently enabled here. There's a couple of difficulties in doing this of course. 1. Creating this sort of community is never easy. Some of you were members of a 'moon-shots' ning group / community that I tried to moderate for a while before the MIX was set up. This group attempted to do what I've been suggesting above but it didn't really get anywhere. But just because it's hard to do doesn't mean we shouldn't try. In fact I'd suggest we positively need to push the boundaries of how we behave together if we're going to succeed in pushing the boundaries on the innovations we create. 2. It's particularly difficult because there is a natural hierarchy in place here, with Gary at the top. And there are a lot of hierarchical behaviours going on as well. I love Jamie Notter's hack on 'Embracing Decentralisation' (which in many ways, deals with the same issues that I'm writing about here), particularly his observation on the Mashup event and the traditional way this was done. I also observed the same tendency at MLab events in London (eg see http://blog.social-advantage.com/2009/01/mlab-management-20-conference.html .) And if I can be blunt, since we're amongst friends, I also think you see the same thing when Gary strolls into a conference surrounded by two minders, delivers an excellent presentation - but without taking questions - and is escorted straight out again. The same mindset is unfortunately often demonstrated here. If we're going to innovate effectively, we need to get rid of some of this hierarchy and start connecting more as equals. So what's needed? Well, it is partly about 'Connecting MIXers with Mavericks' as submitted by the MIX team, but it's also about breaking down the silos so we don't have the un-neccessary divides of MIXers vs Mavericks, MIX team vs not in the team, etc. And I think that does need to be led by Gary and the 'MIX team', but as community facilitators, rather than as the lead innovators. I think if we did all this we'd start to see some more interesting innovations coming through too.

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george-por's picture

Jon, do you know whether Gary or anybody from the MIX team has ever read this post? Did you get any feedback from them?

jon-ingham's picture

Hi George, other than Michele, no, I suspect not. I doesn't seem to be a big thing for the MIX community as a whole either. (Though I still think the point is right.)

siviwe-magidigidi's picture

I strongly support Jon's views, thank you for that progressive insight, it is also important that as communities and initiators (or idea generators or now supporters and facilitators) we stick to community ethics and ethos and keep on remining each other when we do not live-up and display acceptable community values and behaviours, maybe on that thought community values and ethics may need to be established (suggestion) but not to be strigent enough to hold innovation, insights and display of our own experiences but to display co-equal collaboration, democratic, flat engagement structures without middling as clearly stated by Jon as this co-equal approach we will need to inculcate in our work environment which is cuurently governed by hierachy and authority leading to less creativity and innovation and that is why we are having these conversations in the first place is to redress these experiences.

michele-zanini_4's picture

Hi Jon, thanks for your very thoughtful comments. We heard you loud and clear--if you had any specific ideas/suggestions for how we might overcome the two obstacles you've laid out above, that'd be really helpful to us... thanks again

Michele

jon-ingham's picture

Thanks Michele, well I think it's largely the same action for both things - it's about getting people who have always seen themselves as idea generators to see themselves as supporters and facilitators instead. So that rather than post their own ideas, they're commenting and building on other peoples. So perhaps not that hard if the motivation is there.