Starting something is a really scary thing to do. You have a vast expanse of nothing infront of you with literally everything to do. So many people I’ve met talk about wanting to start something but never pluck up the courage to get the ball rolling and although it’s understandable we think we’ve found a way to solve this problem.
A growing body of wisdom centred around lean principles suggests that just getting started, in any form, makes every subsequent step easier. It doesn’t matter how you start or if you start off in the wrong direction, for two very important reasons:
- By starting you can get feedback and correct your course based on what the outside world thinks, the key is iteration.
- Your lack of size to start with makes you incredibly nimble, so changing direction is easy and encouraged.
Ultimately these principles are about putting in the minimum amount of effort to test a theory, and only putting in additional work if you get evidence that your hypothesis is correct.
Considering the scale and severity of the transformation needed to avoid the worst effects of the Climate Crisis, it feels utterly necessary to deploy lean and scalable ‘startup’ methodologies to tackle it.
A further exciting concept to throw into the mix is collective intelligence. This is the concept that a group of people operating through some sort of organisational mechanism (a market or a hierarchy for example) has a measurable intelligence. This intelligence can be grown by improving the tools of communication between the group, focusing them on a mission or outcome and by increasing the diversity of the members.
Improving communication allows more ideas to be transferred between members, and this mixing of ideas creates an effect called recombination, where each subsequent idea inspires a slight alteration or change, therefore improving the idea through a kind of iterative evolution.
Having a focus, even for a short time, simply gets lots of brains thinking about the same thing at once and the more focused the task the easier it will be to solve as it is more likely to have some definable solution.
Diversity is the final important ingredient. Simply; a diverse group of people has: a wider set of skills and more varied perspectives, thus improving the likelihood of a novel and effective solution being found.
How do they work together?
The basic structure of this community revolves around the core features of a lean startup process, which has been merged with a collective approach.
- Collective ideation: the group focuses on one part of a problem and runs a workshop to find solutions. The group then prioritises and ranks these solutions based on impact vs effort to find a small handful of solutions to move to the next stage.
- Collective design: the chosen project or projects are made into mockups to be tested. Rather than making one mock up though, 2 or 3 are made by seperate teams. Each team knows the flow the solution should take but they ‘compete’ to make their own version of the best solution.
- Collective testing: testing with just 5 people achieves 80% of the feedback, adding more testers just creates a diminishing return of results. However these 5 do need to be the actual end users of the product. By working on this collectively the group can more easily find the right people for the problem and maximise the feedback each design can produce.
- Collective building: with feedback across these 2 or 3 designs the best parts can be merged together or recombined to produce something ultimately better than any one individual could have made. The group at large will have a wide set of skills enabling the solution to be more easily completed, and by each taking a small set of tasks the burden of work can be shared and development can occur much more quickly than in a traditional team of 2–5.
- Collective scaling: getting a project out into the real world as soon as possible is always the aim as this reduces the amount of time wasted trying to guess what the market wants and helps improve the project. Through a network effect the community can more quickly find users, share through their networks and achieve the scale needed for a project to generate revenue, attract investment or simply make the impact it was designed to.
What’s the long term goal?
All successful projects have a core mission which drives the participants forward. As a community our core mission is to solve the Climate Crisis. We believe the way to do that is to focus on creating projects which are high impact, scalable and low effort. This tends towards a digital project, but not always. One of the best examples of a campaign which has changed the world for very little effort is Greta Thunberg’s ‘Friday’s for Future’.
As a community we are laser focused on creating solutions which match this in terms of impact and effort.
How can you get involved?
The community is open to anyone to join. The meetings are held once a month in London. Once you have attended one of the ideation workshops then you will be invited to the online community where you can take part in other projects and contribute.
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