Month of Learning

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What Everybody Ought To Know About the Power of Co-Community Activity

Co-creation sparks fresh ideas, amplifies your efforts, and propels your network where you expand with the right people.

Collaboration is a well-used term, but let’s share with you what it takes and the latest experiment, where co-community events are a route to explore.

If this is an approach you’d like to progress, it all starts with finding the people who are on your side. What you do is push yourself that little bit extra to bring ideas to fruition, trust becomes your guide and recognising that moving side by side can make an impact for everyone involved.

Can We Build Bridges Between Other Communities?

When it comes to the communities and spaces that you feel a part of or connected to, for the most part, they exist in isolation. You gain access, you stay, you hang out with the people from the group.

Time, dedication and effort is put into the people who choose to be there, but when they are in, there doesn’t become much opportunity to explore or look above the community walls. 

We contribute, we participate, we get to hang out with others in the same space, but for a lot of the time we exist in isolation.

When you feel a part of something with others, can’t we explore together and see who else is out there? 

We can embark on journeys together. 

An experiment I want to explore further is the idea of building bridges between communities. We spend a lot of our time on our own islands, but can’t we put a collective foot forward to meet the others?

When there are relationships with people from other communities, let’s find ways to play together. 

Finding The Others For Co-Community Activity

John Espirian leads the Espresso+ community. It makes it easier when John and myself already have a good relationship and we’ve always been there to support each other. 

Here we are singing ‘happy birthday’ to John’s partner, Lois, back in 2021, when we had our YATM Month Of Learning.

With John and a team on his side and myself and YATM on my side, what’s stopping us from doing something together? Can co-community events be a thing? Let’s make this happen. 

The thinking around it is to bring two communities together for an event. I can imagine it starting like a sixth form prom, boys on one side, girls on the other (in this case YATM on one side and Espresso+ on the other), but if we can find a way for everyone to join in and recognise they are part of a joint effort, it can help nurture new connections. 

It’s about shared mindsets, understanding the importance of being part of a team with others and knowing that we can contribute together. Who knows, maybe it sets the foundation for more events? Different skill sets, varied thinking, a mix of perspectives, can only help to expand our worldview.

Being part of a community, where you are committed, gives a sense of identity, when you join in with others from a separate space your world expands and the links and access become far easier. 

We’re going to call it MATEY, this was John’s idea. It forms the initials of Espresso+ and YATM. Even better, the event is going to be in Bath and who knew that the bubblebath nod had its rightful place in a city named after it! It’s going to be on November 12th.

How You Can Make It Work On Your Side

Joining in with others means your work is shared. 

For John and myself to have a plan in place and make it happen came from some guiding principles. This is what I know can work if you want to make that step to deliver a co-community project with the neighbours next door. It’s about being clear when you start.

Be Clear Of Why You Want To Do It?

If you approach with the idea of what you can take for yourself, you’ll only be disappointed. Why do you want to join in with someone else? What can be accomplished from the experience? Is it a one-off, or could the foundations be set for the future? What will the benefit be for the people who join in?

Curiosity is a big lead for me. When you step into a space representing your team means you can leave feeling more attached to that group, but also appreciative and understanding of those who feel at home in another group? Naturally, I’d love this project to progress in 2024. 

The reason to do this is also for attendees to have an attachment to the space they feel a part of but recognise that joint efforts can make the whole experience rewarding.

Find The Right Collaborator

When you find a partner where there is familiarity, rather than sway to vanity metrics ie. someone with vast numbers alongside them, you give value and you get the value back.

If you can find someone with whom there is a shared approach, values, belief and similar audience that sits alongside them then your efforts can complement each other.

If you both acknowledge that the initiative can help out both sides that’s what a collaboration is all about. The ability to lift the whole experience is for everyone involved. Mindset is important too, you have to believe that it’s going to work and by working with the right group is going to complement everything you do.

I have huge respect for what John has built with Espresso+. We have a similar perspective on being there for others and making sure that the time people spend in the spaces we curate has to be a worthy part of their day. We’re not here to sap people’s attention but make it a worthwhile decision for someone else.

Embrace An Open Idea Exchange 

The YATM Lunch Clubs have become a format that I have become accustomed to, but I would like to find a different strand for co-community events.

At the same time, I have never delivered a co-community event before. Plus I haven’t seen one exist anywhere else, so there isn’t a predefined best practice. That is a good thing when you don’t have a rule book to follow as you leave the breadcrumbs for others to follow.

When you work with others on new ideas, you have to be willing to experiment as a team and not stick rigidly to previous incarnations. There has to be energy and creativity. For instance, for our MATEY event can we find ways for both sides to join in and represent their ‘team?

You Don’t Need To Go ‘All In’ At The Start 

When starting a new initiative, it’s filled with opportunity, but you’re still stepping into a new arena as a novice. 

What if your delegation and organisation skills aren’t as polished as you think? What if the audience prefers to stick to ‘their own’ side? This is why piloting projects can be a worthwhile way to start. This means you can test compatibility with your co-creator and the effectiveness of what you deliver. Read this article on taking a mini bet approach to your work.

For MATEY, we’re starting with an open mind. The rapport that John and myself have are leading the way. We both know that it’s worthwhile to evaluate how the dynamic works before planning future projects.

Learning and contribution can be from everyone involved

Stepping into the collaboration and co-community space means an opportunity to learn from others. It shouldn’t be all on you, but a willingness to let others speak up, join in and shape ideas. This helps create an enriching experience. 

When we have the MATEY event our plan will be for people from their respective communities to be part of a panel and share their own thoughts on a topic that is relatable to everyone in the room. We’re looking at the topic of ‘pricing’, this means that contributions from both sides are valid and the chance to hear from someone that others may not have been familiar with, but now opens up to the opportunity to connect. 

It’s important to find a way for the whole group to share insights, learning and knowledge. Alone we can do some, together we can do so much.

Let’s Round-Up

Finding others to work with, partner and look at co-community ideas isn’t just about combining forces with those you get on with, it’s about producing something no one has done (and can progress).  

Building bridges and access between communities fosters unity and opens doors to fresh connections. 

In the world of collaboration, the whole truly becomes greater than the sum of its parts. By capitalising on collective strengths, we embark on a journey where we step forward with collective expertise and experiences. It just needs that first step to create something unprecedented and impactful.


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