I've just arrived back in Adelaide after a crazy month in Melbourne. Lots of thoughts in the head, so much learnt - I still haven't been able to process it to understand what I've learnt, but so much changed that I'm sure it was a lot....
Over the month with the Collaboratory my approach changed drastically. Initially the plan was to set the wheels in motion, to meet a self-imposed deadline to design and deliver the Collaboratory as a platform, a community infrastructure, a self-governing collective. It moved by degrees from 'plans and actions' to do this, to how to focus on getting members engaged, and ended in a completely different space - not building the Collaboratory at all, but just seeding current members to act, to fulfil their own goals for getting involved, and collaborating on projects. My philosophy for 'building a community' changed completely!
If you're curious in the meantime, I've posted the thoughts I had on next steps for the Collab following an exciting group discussion last Thursday. It's a bit rough, long/ranty and Collab specific but I think hits how the main points are different to my earlier approach.
One exciting, scary realisation was that what I want to do is hard. Not just that it is challenging - but that there is no rule book. I got to mix with a load of people in Melbourne who have been working on collaborative networks and communities for a while, and in the back of my mind, I expected people to pop up and provide the answers. But everyone had far more questions than answers.
Not having that comfort is scary. But I learnt that dedicating time to building things and learning from experience is actually worthwhile - both personally and socially. That's pretty friggen exciting.