The last few weeks I have pondering the difference of Forming and Transforming. In my previous pioneering context the role was very much about transformation in communities. Being in an established community with groups, services and activities already in place meant that we looked at ways we could help transforming places and situations. When you are pioneering in a new housing development with (at the start) very few people and no community activities you spend more time thinking about forming completely new things.
This kind of seems a perfect match for pioneering, after all isn’t that what its all about – pioneering new ways of doing things? Starting with a blank canvas means there is no set way of doing things because in reality there is nothing at all! There is an initial openness from many people because they want to see something new and exciting happen!
I think that means in theory that starting from scratch should be easier and in reality there are many things that are easier when you have a blank canvas. You don’t have to put up with inherited ways of doing things and people who don’t want to change what they are doing because they have always done it that way. The reality is we quickly pick up a certain way of doing things and so it’s not long before you do run into that issue!
But….. there has to be a but ….. when you have the blank canvas it’s very tempting to start things that you think are a really good idea (and being a bit of a ‘firestarter’ its very tempting for me), however if you haven’t got the people from the community with you then it won’t work but on the other hand if you don’t try something then how will you get anything going? You have to start somewhere so I guess this is where to some extent you need not to be afraid of failure, especially in the early days when the first people are moving in. Some things will work, some won’t and that’s ok. As long as you learn from the failures and don’t repeat them then they aren’t failures, they are learning curves and we all need them.
At the moment I’m looking into what to buy for the Community Cabin that will arrive next month, I don’t quite know what it will look like yet and it’s hard to get my head round the space from the plans but this is a point where the blank canvas pops up again. I need to do something, create something but still have only a small idea of what this community is going to look like or be. So how do we kit the cabin out – what is its purpose? We haven’t mapped out a specific set of values as a community yet (because I want to do that with the residents not by myself or the Action Group who don’t live there). However the Action Group, who set this whole thing up, along with myself have come up with an impact statement of what we hope will happen over the next few years, so that’s a good as place as anywhere to start I think!
We are inspired to join in a story with our stories, creating a flourishing community that is cultivated by participation, hospitality, active learning and engagement.
Designing a Community Cabin that embodies this will, I hope, leave enough room for a Spirit filled creativity to emerge through the community whilst ensuring we can embody values we feel are important at the start. Ultimately I think this is about being sure of who you are but being open to fuse with other peoples ideas and create something new that speaks of who you all are.
So first things first, coffee ……..