Happy New Year!
We’re beginning our year with the launch of several significant projects, which all fit into one another like Russian nesting dolls (and if we think of it this way it helps keep us from getting totally overwhelmed by it all! 😉
First, on January 10 I facilitated a call to revive the Knit a Network process with a final 90-day wrap-up challenge.
Knit a Network is an effort to join forces with as many of the various sharing/cooperative economy players as we can, to identify what each is working on, the direction they’re going, where we have gaps, and how we can come together to fill those gaps. Really, to make our work complementary and coherent by using the tools and processes we’re promoting. Our work areas include: training and peer support, exchange software, knowledge sharing and collaboration tools, alliances (interdisciplinary and international), resource/fund development, and travel/culture exchange. Participants joined from various timebanks using various software and support organizations, TimeBanks USA, Sharing Cities network, New Economics Foundation, and Palo Alto Research Council. There were 26 people on the call with many others signing up for work groups, and each work group has filled up nicely. I look forward to seeing what fruits this brings us.
Next, on Wednesday Jan. 15 we meet with an excellent lawyer with lots of experience in the world of cooperatives, in order to begin the process of incorporating Mutual Aid Networks.
Wednesday evening we kick off our first Neighbor-to-Neighbor Care Team, emulating the work of the wonderful Kathy Perlow. Our own Katie Pajac has been building our capacity in Sun Prairie, a smaller city in Dane County (about 1/2 hour drive from Madison, where a lot of our activity tends to occur). Our Care Teams will revolve around about 25 families and individuals who have disabilities. We’ll be building teams of neighbors who will take responsibility for helping each other with transportation, home care, wellness-related activities, paperwork, social opportunities, food shopping and prep, etc. It will be based on the needs and desires of the core group of families. We’re really excited to try this model!
Thursday Jan. 16 is our first Builders Workshop of the year, Year in Review + Ring in the New! We’ll hold this at our beautiful new Central Library Community Room (201 W. Mifflin, 3rd floor, 3-6pm). From 3-4 I’ll present highlights from the last year (plus a little preceding it too) – how various workshops, conferences, visits from luminaries, and events on my 2013 Sharing Economy tour have contributed to the learning that has led us to all these kickoffs. Then from 4-6 I’ll present what’s happening now, where we’re headed, how the pieces fit together, what we see as our potential locally and globally – and most important, have a participatory brainstorming session about how we’ll proceed to make all this happen.
And, perhaps most exciting, Saturday Jan. 18 3-5pm is the kickoff for PowerTime II Energy Project in Allied Drive (Boys and Girls Club Community Room, 4619 Jenewein), as part of our work with Allied Community Coop (Allies). If all goes well this project will form the kernel of the first Mutual Aid Network, the design we’ve come to at this point on our learning journey. Mutual Aid Networks will connect timebanking, cooperative saving/lending/investment tools and more to provide the opportunity for people to do good work while being supported by their community. You can read more about Mutual Aid Networks here.
If you live nearby I hope to see you this week. If not keep reading this blog for the notes and ongoing progress.
2014 will be a great year!