Organisation lite over coffee and croissants

The Tuttle Club gathered again yesterday in the rather smart OneAlfredPlace, and a group of us considered the realities of organising without (much) organisation.

Tuttle organiser Lloyd Davis and and club member Steve Moore had prevailed on Rob Shreeve, who runs OneAlfredPlace, to turn over one of their splendid gathering spaces to social media types for coffee, croissants and creativity. Rob is seeking members, and after a look around yesterday I’m really tempted.

We did the usual networking, with more space than Friday at the the Coach and Horses, then moved to some mini-open space: pitch an issue or idea and see who gathers around. As Lloyd reports there was a good spread:

Building a list of interesting folk to talk to BERR (Jane O’Loughlin)
Combining relentless creativity with social media (Steve Lawson)
Turning your passion into something that makes money (Pippa Crawford & Dan McQuillan)
Finding new clients online (Rebecca Caroe)
Business podcasting (Mike O’Hara)
Organisation Lite (David Wilcox & Jemima Gibbons)

In the organisation lite group we talked around a number of issue, ranging from Clay Shirky’s work on organising without organisations using social media, through to the practicalities of Lloyd’s vision for a permanent place for the Tuttle Club that combines workspace, learning opportunities and sociability. Here’s what I added as a comment to Lloyd’s post:

On the one hand we were taking inspiration from the open source movement which has evolved ways of organising without heavy-weight structures … on the other hand recognising that when it comes to taking leases, employing people and so on, the State places on us various responsibilities and regulations that can’t easily be avoided.
In both cases you need leadership, and varying degrees of trust and collaboration. If structure and regulation is lite, trust and collaborative commitment is doubly important.
I thought that Anecdote recently provided us with a useful framework in their white paper on teams, communities and networks – blogged here at the Membership Project where we are discussing these issues.
The key question for me, is how to make practical progress on this through our voluntary contribution to Tuttle evolution. I think it might be done by blending what someone called primary and secondary purpose and and interest. That is, we’ll do something for Tuttle and the cafe if it also has some spin offs for our businesses, networks, organisations.
How about a workshop where we play through the Tuttle development scenario – taking on property, recruiting members, setting up a company (or something) – in a way that provides useful insights for other organisational development. See if we can interest a social media lawyer and some other professionals interested in connecting with us. It would be another step in prototyping.
Organisation, lite or otherwise, comes after considering context, purpose, stakeholders, and a host of other factors. I think the best way to deal with the complexity is to get some experienced people into the same room and play it through. As well as prototyping organisation we could be fulfilling the learning aims of Tuttle too.

The valuable primary and secondary purpose idea came from Adriana Lukas, and I’m hoping to continue the conversation with her, Jemima Gibbons and others at the regular Tuttle meeting at the Coach and Horses. If you want to come, just sign up on the wiki. The only uncertainty is whether there’s a sponsor this week for the coffee and croissants … otherwise good fun, excellent conversation and new friends guaranteed.

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