TRCC strengthens grasstops leader connections and capacity through:
- Community: gathering to nurture the trusted relationships at the heart of whole-system change
- Learning: sharing our expertise to build collective wisdom and high-leverage strategies far beyond “silo” behavior
- Action: incubating strategic efforts through “Co-Lab” short-term working groups and the Co-Project Initiative which funds major projects of community members
Our Collaboration Engine methodology is an ongoing rhythm of collaboration activities that is light enough for busy grasstops leaders to have enough time to participate, yet useful enough to keep them engaged to serve their needs. The Collaboration Engine methodology uses leading-edge system practices and is further described here.
All the collaboration activities are combined in our innovative broadly inclusive and radically democratic annual Co-Project Initiative. The Initiative prototypes a new paradigm for movement strategy and philanthropy, where over forty funders and activists from more than twenty organizations engage in strategic project development and participatory budgetting of a multi-funder pool. A diverse Council of funder and activist peers makes the grant recommendations. See the Co-Project Initiative for more information about strategic projects or donating opportunities.
Co-labs are the incubator petri dishes or seed pots for strategic collaboration. They are short-term working groups led by one or more members for strategic “R&D” exploration that could serve the movement. For more details and our Co-Lab History, see here.
TRCC hosts one or two annual community-wide gatherings, usually in the San Francisco Bay area with virtual participation from other regions. We design state-of-the-art transformative gatherings using multiple modes of action networking such as ceremony (eg. blessing, music), best practice learning (eg. presentations, trainings), interactive dialogue and story synthesis (eg. open space, mapping), and action initiation (eg. charter adoption, next step proaction cafes). All gatherings are co-hosted by a collaborative design team of members from multiple organizations as a core practice in building our facilitation capacity.
The TRCC coordinates a quarterly webinar series for grassroots organizations, given by experts from our TRCC community and allies across sectors. We also curate a list of existing trainings each quarter and send that as a newsletter. Finally, the Lift Up program connects TRCC community members with mentoring from peers and allies, to assist leaders in boosting their capacity and personal well being.
HeartSpace is a regular reflective practice to nurture the community as people and as allies. HeartSpace creates the heart and soul energetic conditions to support members in their personal lives and to help the community to come into coherence as an ecosystem capable of co-creating radically effective change. The “heartkeeper” group enters a meditative space to intuitively listen into the field for support and guidance in relation to a real-world event or situation in the TRC community or its broader networks.
Weaving is a TRCC service of hosting rounds of appreciative interview-style conversations, based on the idea of “weaving the mycelial mat of the community movement.” The weaving team interviews selected leaders in the field to discover what’s happening in their work. Next we convene a conversation in which we invite them, together with other leaders, to see what new opportunities or insights are emerging from the collective thinking of this group. Click here to see an example report.
We are playing with the “Cynefin” framework for engaging with complexity, using a “probe, sense, respond” approach. We “probe” with discovery interviews and then “sense” together what is emerging in collaborative space. The process is also inspired by the idea of “working mycelially,” i.e. becoming a living and intelligent network, making many small “underground” connections, breaking down “dead matter” to help form new soil, moving information and nutrients around the ecosystem “mat,” and giving rise to beautiful, surprising and inspiring “mushrooms” that can nourish and cast spores far and wide. Whether we can see the mushrooms sprout or not, we believe that the “mat” will be thicker and more energized in response.
Cafes are 1-4 hour live/telecons with online forums for open dialogue and/or to catalyze action. They are hosted by skilled facilitators using leading-edge technology such as talkshoe and maestroconference to support interactive functions (eg. small group breakouts, audio/visuals, recording).