Reflection on SynergyHub Rotterdam
This text is to reflect and learn from what was happening in the SynergyHub. It's about transparency and opening the space that those haven't been there can take part of the discussion.
Philip Engelbutzeder, Doug Webb, Selina Camile, Axel Kalitzki, Lara, Paul Free
How everything started?
(doug or Phillip I think you're the best persons to write about that)
More people from within yunity go invited by a call for:
What is the Synergy Hub vision about?
A diverse set of stakeholders are coming together with shared values to realize a common dream: Sharing a physical location together, in support of each other and the planet.
A lot of different initiatives, grassroots movements, activists and changemakers move into one place to empower others to take actions for everything they would like to create, transform, gift and share.
We are co-creating a microcosm and prototype of the world we envision - and a template so others can build their own Synergy Hubs to broaden the global network; a space where every person is liberated to explore their deepest passions and realize their unlimited potentials; where unity is experienced through our diversity, and our diversity is supported by our unity!
What is the Synergy Hub mission about?
Our plan-in-action will raise attraction and have real impact on the local environment and community. We want to be a place where all kinds of different perspectives meet, and we encourage relationships where people share unconditionally, where we experience giving our time, skills and resources without expecting anything in return.
Through our local connections and extended communities we intend to coordinate resources and empower people to thrive in healthy environments full of joy, fulfilment and abundance.
First interests and issues:
Attracted by this call high motivated unity folks joined the synergy hub. Intranperent and unclear, vision and mission was not very close to what projects and people living in this building where embodying. If the intention is aline with the transported information about mission and vision stayed unclear until the end.
It felt that PR took over CR (community relation). Intransparence, unclearaty and dishonesty as a result. As a clear statement the result wasn't the intention but take effect cause of the way communication was chosen.
What we've defiantly learned and experienced from that how important transperence is, when it comes to group process.
There was't any clear statement what this place is about in coherence with what was happening.
The arriving especially cause we came during different time period come a long with different experience.
First weeks have been mainly filled with meeting, leading to a high frustration. Couple of people where strongly dominating. Moderator who came in took to less time for understanding the situation. The result, 2 weeks meetings.
During this stage of time, even while yunity was already part of the board, there have been discussion about, how to profitize from our impact like foodsharing. Could be cleared after a very clear statement.
Design of the place
While the place was really big and the culture of synchosity and collaboration was still much in a building process, impact got lost.
Just the design of the place had a big impact of the group dynamic. It was made for around 300 ppl while it was just filled with 50. From those 50 not all where interest or introduced to the concept of synergy hub. People were searching for each other on a regular basis. Regular meeting where difficult to establish.
It has been one a care house and was given form Lauence (a company) to Mesteren (a foundation) for 6 month for free, finding a concept maintaining the building. Strategies and plans about how to maintain the building haven't been clear neither transparent. Collaboration got strongly limited trough these.
Before moving in?
On a organisational perspective there have been a couple of things missing before the groups were moving in.
- a clear mission and vision including transparence how to full fill those, builded by the group itself
- group building processes (invitation to clear things in advantage)
- clear and transparence decision finding process
- open documentation about the process
- project management tools for agile purpose
- networking on a local basis
- transparency about the possibility, intention, needs and wishs.
While being in the place:
It was an interesting experience for all of us. Many up and downs, same as a great time to learn. From which the intention of this paper is coming from. Being transparent about our learning process to share to others. Make it accessible.
For an better understanding following structured by the different activities we where involved or initiation.
Probably non of us being here had ever the changes to build up foodsharing in a location with an industry kitchen capable of cooking easily +500 meals per day including multiple reefers. But still and we learned it on the hard way, the community is more important then the location.
How it started:
(following text by a perspective from Paul)
Paul, cause of his interest of using the place in Rotterdam building up a foodsharing community with an focus on: education, selforganisation, non-hieracicle structures, permaculture, building networks and usage of federated communication tools, invited for rethinking the concept of foodsharing especially when it comes to the art of organization.
Research for useful contacts in Rotterdam have been difficult mainly for the reason of the language barrier. All those already longer part of SynergyHub and living in Rotterdam, have been quite isolated when it comes about connection beyond the own circle on a local level.
First meeting with all those being interested in rethinking the concept of foodsharing including organizing the next steps came together. By the feedback from those being part of this meeting concept and following tasks haven't been fully understood. In this point of time this wasn't clear communicated.
Webpage, first cooperation and contacts to locals have been builded up after this meeting. A couple of days new energy with Phillip and Axel arrived. Both very enthusiastic about building up foodsharing.
Interest in going into an advice process to understand what is already happening was little. Planing the coming steps free from prefabricated concepts was not existing. So we jumped directly into action.
What happened after:
- Facebook group was builded
- car organized
- first pick up at a market
- marketing via facebook
During a very short period of time we could reach around 500 group members. Collecting tons of food. Introducing many people into the idea of foodsharing and hosting events.
Focus on synchonisation of the different methods still little. In the end it could be described that we lost our self in the routine day life, missing the importance of community building processes and well being.
Events with the purpose of "how to organize" foodsharing have been happening, but not being very fruit able. Information have been presented instead of created by and with the local community. The adoption was little.
The connection between the locals towards each other have been small. The way it was organized the connections, informations flow and work has been mainly happening through us.
Main focus have been on food saving. The way it was shared have been very similar to food banks.
Work have been for a view of us exoursting, while community building, well being and education have been left beside.
The first meetings to solve those issues were missleaded by cannabis consumption.
But not everything have been bad. We've made it possible to seed the idea of food saving. Saved tons of food. Cooked many meals. And went a couple of times to the park with the purpose of sharing.
The interest was high. The fairsharepoint got through those activities well established.
Conflicts we've had we spoke very openly about. Listening and honesty as a basis.
What we've learned:
There's no need to rush. The world isn't how it is cause we're not fast enough, but the world is how it is, cause we take to little time and effort to reflect.
Facilitation of the building:
the best overview about facilitation is on your side @Doug I guess? Would you like to write a bit?
The group dynamics within yunity have been mainly very well except from the foodsharing part.
Several groups have been active in the building. The interests of being in the building have been different, but never clear communicated. Very interesting have been the fact that people from very different backgrounds came together, without having a clear vision. Likely imaginable the learning experience have been quiet high for all those being part of.
A culture of polyntnes over honesty made it difficult to come over the disharmony oppressed by cultural behavior patterns.
Organization has been a mix between top down organization to DIY. Communication have been different then reality. It was presented as a bosless structure, while acting very different. In use for structure have been a concept called mastermind and a Phillosophie called LEUK (logical, ethical, universal, kingslee).
Concept of mastermind can work, but always fails with the mastermind especially if informations aren't transparent. ....and it never works within groups interested in creating cultures free from hieracys supporred by stucture, selforganized, agile and self determined.
Talking openly about these themes have been any time oppressed by meesteren (the foundation inviting initiates to be part of the building)
Fear of loosing control seems reasonable.
The different groups mainly preferred to keep to themselves. Couple of individuals try to worked as bridges. Real connection have been difficult to establish towards all. As a reason it was less about the people itself, even while not all have been very open, but it was more the design itself. Instead of functional spaces, the spaces where defined by people or groups. Meetings and inter-group communication was quite limited cause of this.
Group building takes time. Take this time. Don't get lost in routine day life. It's easy to left people out and disturb through this all the group dynamic.
Rethink the constellation you came into the building. Now there are new resources and possiblitys. There's no need to get stock in the "own group silo".
Find out about the different needs, motivations and resources. Make sure the way you act is understandable. Be open but direct. Encourage people to do the same.
Organically grow of workflow improvement is beautiful, but sometimes a bit structure can help. Make sure everyone sees the same tracks.
Frustration cause of a lack of informations is nothing what is needed. Be transparent. Make sure that informations are exsesable for all.
Marketing strategies when it comes to community building are failing when it comes to present a clear picture of what is happening.
Hierachys still sucks. If you build them supported by structure build at least an Anagram and be aware that it is your responsibility then to keep the information flow. But again, hierarchy sucks.
Like any meeting, set clear intentions. Don't marketize them. Be open, honest transparent, direct.
Create enough space to make personal connection in-between all the work and routine day life. Celebration
retro perspective rotterdam meeting minutes (08.09.16)
about retroperpective Rotterdam synergy hub (08.09.2016)
Doug Webb Lara, Selina Camile, Paul Free
every week was different
In the beginning a lot of question marks for me. Didn't really know what to do.
We made morning syn. and with foodsharing meeting but didn't know how and what to do.
When Axel then came it changed.
A lot of things happened then.
A lot of food got saved.
got a lot of people
but became very stressful
first experience in making food sellers of cooperation. liked the experience.
After the fire alarm (curtis story) we went out of the building.
Was frustrated what was happening with foodsharing.
- good communication within the unity group.
- did't connect much to other projects and people
- learned to connect more with people in the first place when arriving somewhere
- last week then connected and talked to ppl (was quite interesting)
- I really liked the morning round
- liked the mind map to see the other part of foodsharing
didn't saw and and understand the bigger picture, but then step by step
- didn't liked the communication in between. ...to much weed was smoked
- difficulties with Axel and Phillip
- really great with Lara and Paul
- fun in-between. Liked the "cleaning revolution" story and action
- liked the sharing gathering
then really optimistic
went on a trip, had then the car crash.
Things felt quite funny cause of being detached from.
The opening of the synergy hub was very hopefully. Cult and group leader came for hosting meetings.
Most unity ppl where not interested in the money stuff so I was happy to step into this role. So talked with many people and groups. Was in-between.
- felt not good in the end, lost authency ...cause of diplomatic behavior. (if you play a character don't forget the you do so)
- burned out
- culture of stress (form Mestereen)
- then left the place
- when came back curtis was in psychiatric institution. Felt tat this place is failing
Trancpereny necessary for consent
- 3 different weeks (felt also in every week differently)
- 1. week didn't felt very active
We made a mind map and talked a lot. We got a better group dynamic. For this reason we three (Lara, Paul and me)
- good atmosphere and ?
- some events like giving free food away, talking to ppl and knocking on doors.
events in the Park
-in the coming week then more active.
- getting started and atmosphere was getting worth in the group.
- didn't had much time to reflect
- 7 days just work work work.
- wasn't very good, so made sometimes bad feelings towards the group.
- slept less
- worked to much and became then ill
- felt dissy one day, did't drink enough, conitued working in the kitchen
- missed informations sometimes about what was happening, and where the communication was going on
- was sometimes not in the group or in the processes cause of not knowing that they where happening
- then the fire alarm and curtis story, have been sad that we didn't build up a community and ppl have been dependent on us
- didn't build foodsharing up very good
What I experienced
Optimistic →Frustrated → Skeptical → Enthusiastic → Slowly burning out → Quickly burning out → Depressed and numb → (Hitching, Crash, Holiday) → Amused and detached → Feeling wiser.
Communication with people from Dutch background proved difficult. Regularly asking you to stop doing something without getting to know you or providing a reason why. One Dutch individual was genuinely surprised when I told him he might get a better response from people if he accounted for these things and seemed to really take it on board - perhaps the rest of the Dutch people didn't know this?
Was pretty startled by the ad hominem attacks on Lara and Selina who very quickly got blamed for everything simply for having dreads/braids/colorful clothes/spiri-of-fun.
Spent a lot of my time personally running between different parts of the organization and 'fighting fires'. This involved me being 'diplomatic' and 'unbiased' in order to get everyone communicating with me. This lead to me not being able to fully express my own opinions. Very tiring, not so much benefit.
For me, there was quite clearly a hierarchy - this would not have been a problem if clearly and accurately articulated before I had entered the building. It wasn't, and was exposed only bit by bit: this gave the impression of constantly failing as each new 'crime' was committed and then blamed.
One tiny kitchen for ~50 people: recipe for disaster.
'Tyrrany of Structurelessness' all over again. Power hierarchy masked over by the illusion of structurelessness. Intransparent decision making process, authoritarian decision making, etc. This was within all non-yunity groups (not that yunity are a bunch of angels!)
Really manipulative wordplay. Lot's of new and unneccessary words, cultish, didn't change when we asked about it... zzz. Included the use of organizational names: "We are all yunity/Meesteren/Noomap/etc/etc" - this lead to quite unnecessary obfuscation. Taxonomy is important, and simply claiming 'that everyone is everything' is really not helpful IMHO.
Large disparity in the 'free' section regarding finance. 'I will eat free food if it's there, but otherwise I will buy it for me' - lack of solidarity made collecting food from market disbalanced and very tiring for those doing it.
What I learned
If there are rules, there are rules and it is necessary to inform people about them if you want them to enter a space with consent.
If playing a role, be conscious you are playing a role the whole time.
If there is a commonly used word that explains a thing, use that. Do not prefix 'co-' or inject 'syn' wherever you can. If you want to be clear (for instance, claiming back a word), have it defined clearly somewhere.
Would never build the intention to live somewhere without identifying common goal, common decision making system and becoming part of the community. Still happy to visit places without those things.
Asking for adivce is generally a good and illuminating experience. Can be done in a new-agey or ordinary way. Is also called 'conversation' ;p
take it or not, direct respond to people involved in the synergyHub
take it or not
In here some of my perspectives during the time I've stayed here. Some might be usefull some may not. It's honest and direct. Anything you'll like to feedback on me, do it!
....that's the way we can learn from each other.
About the existince of the synergyHub I've known from the beginning, but couldn't find time to attend earlier then I did. A view days before I've planned going to Spain to join creating a sharing network within a movment I've resieved a video invitation of Phillip.
After checking the webpage with the invitation to the wuppdays it was for me a clear call. What I didn't know that video and webpage have been about pr, instead of transperency and describing what's really happening in this moment.
...so what happend is that someone highly interested in expanding freedom through all the oppressions comming from the convention of society, in coherence of collaboration fall into a place where it's reframed as a process of transition, try'n to hold those back seeding the change.
Out of respect same as first understanding the situation in first a bit more clearer I adjusted myself. After conversations and observations I felt that the most oppression is forced by fear. Which is by itself nothing to evaluate, but in case it's reflect on daily behaviors I like to question.
Behond this, what means synergy actually?
Here I just stick in my perspective for the first. Synergy is the interaction of elements of any kind that occur together within a complex dynamic system to reinforce each other within a resulting common benefit .
May I'll be wrong on this but if not I'll be glad to come back.
Since the 1. day I'm here I'm listening to converstation about cocreation. Since the 2. day I'm here I've tryed to etablish 2 times per day a synchronizing meeting. Not much people behond those from yunity where showing up.
I listen to converstion where it's about etablishment a society which is about sharing. What I don't see is actions leading towards. I'm really not a friend of open value networks, but as I reflected from conversations that there is an intention to.
I have no interest in using money, but others do so and are interested in collecting it. So why not emptying all your pockets? ...and then finding in a collective process out where to use it as best.
....it could start with CSR, collaborative consumption, go across social trading, creating the own crypto currency, building coop buisiness, fablab etc.
What is needed is trust, space for creativity and the strong wish of getting something done in a collaborative process.
Fear and routine daylife are counter parts.
And here I'll like directly jump into the organisational part.
If you have limited resources where the heck is the Kanbanmytology (the synchonize meetings where planed to fall naturaly into the kanbanmytology). But that this can be in effective in place there needs to be a clear vision to then know where the highest priority is to work on. To create this in a collaborative process there's comunity building supportive.
Fear and routine daylife are counter parts.
Clear words about mastermind:
It has nothing to do with transformation. It's just using old patterns framed in a different language.
The benefit about mastermind lies on my perspective mainly on the information flow. Where then it's also the responsibility of the mastermind to provide facilitator and voluteers with informations. On these bases it's then possible to plan the upcoming steps.
...but yes, there is the idea of a moss team (not sure how to spell it).
The idea is to hold informations back.
I'm not going to put any affort into supporting structures which have same patterns as sects have.
If I feel invited I'm happy to put affort into cocreating a structure which is less about supporting hieracys but synergys. (which I actually thought the place is about)
To start working on a couple of topics I've mentioned I used the advice process. ...unfortunately I've got a couple of times interrupted. ...and yes, curtis and community played a big role in that.
Some more words about the curtis story:
Am I blind or did I missed where it was about transformation and water and ice? I just saw the same stupid patterns like usual. ....violence spiral. Funny game huh? If it's not visable for you I'm happy to make it visable. Feel invited into a social experiment. Just give me a ping.
...yes it was played on both sides, which is the reason it was continuing.
Next time you feel responsible without being able to break through the spiral of violence, adress it! Don't stick to positions! And if you exclude someone be honest.
(that was how the place looked like curtis went after he "didn't" got excluded https://files.slack.com/files-tmb/T0UES7FSQ-F1ZB270AG-605da62c58/img_20160729_144736_1024.jpg )
Am I the right person to handle this Situation? Is this truly my responsibility to solve? No? Ok, who is the right Situation handler? Have I triangulated the facts? Have I discovered multiple different perspectives regarding the Situation? What has happened to the facts as I’ve looked at them through different lenses? What has this triangulation told me about my sources of information?
Do I have complete context? For this given situation, do I have all the essential facts, opinions, and lies surrounding the situation? Have all relevant, affected, and interested parties who care about the Situation weighed in?
What is the track record of my sources of information?Do I trust the sources of information? If I have a track record with these humans, how does that color the information they provided? Do I understand the nature of the biases of those providing the information? Am I clear what they have to lose or gain by sharing this information? Do they volunteer these losses or gains as part of my discovery?
What inconsistencies in facts have been discovered anddo I understand the nature of those inconsistencies? I’m not looking for resolution for inconsistencies, just the nature. He and she disagree on principle. He didn’t have all the essential facts so it kind’a looks like he’s lying.
Do I understand my biases relative to the Situation? If my role in this Situation is to make a decision, part of understanding involves understanding my bias1. With this understanding of bias in hand, am I still the right person to make an informed call here?
Do I understand my emotional state relative to the issue at hand? A sure-fire way to bias my judgment is emotion. Like bias, it is nigh impossible to separate my emotions from an issue, whether those emotions are positive, negative 2, or a bit of both. Am I clear how emotion is affecting me relative to this decision? If it’s affecting me negatively, will cool-down time help? No, ok, who is a better neutral party who can make a decision here?
A close to final test for me is: Can I coherently explain multiple perspectives of the Situation? What happens when I explain one perspective of the Situation to a neutral party? How about when I explain the competing perspective? If I can effectively explain the Situation and its complexity from both perspectives and with a distinct lack of emotion, I’m close.
Some questions which are still unclear to me:
If the synergyhub attend to be a place of transformation etc. where are the local connection to transition town, grassroots, makerspaces, bluecity etc.
if it's a place a transformation but still being integrated in the capitalism, where are the startups? (I'm not thinking about simple renting concepts, simple selling)
why is the place nearly not promoted?
why is there an interest of holding informations back?
why is there an interest of buidling hiercy, while promoting it as bossles.
who knows the intention behind LEUK?
I'm still interested in reinventing organisations, but all I do is inviting for the process. I'm aswell interested in art therapy, hypnose, group building, selforganisation (holocracy as structure), advice processes....etc.
The way I'm operating is horizontal.
...and I'm naiv , and I know things needs to be done. And for those reasons, time for reflection, kanban as mytology, information flow, selforanisation, clear desicion making processes are so important.
Otherwise a lot of potential will be lost.
This community report is the invitation.
I've saw a lot's of individuals doing a incredible job, and working really hard. The oportunitys are great, and the people as individuals defently loveley.