Experimenting and exploring

 

We are in our third year as a community and as part of our passion for experimentation we spent 8 months last year experimenting with different styles of governance. Community governance refers to the processing for making all the decisions and plans that affect and govern life in the community. For community governance to be effective, it must be about more than simply process, we believe it must also be about getting things done in the community. 

 

A little history..

embassy sf

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Our community was born in August 2012. We began our days with a somewhat democratic process. After just a short while we realized that this lead to high levels of bureaucracy, took huge amounts of time, in the form of meetings and discussions on every small detail, and that despite this effort, people often weren't fully satisfied with the outcomes. We rapidly evolved our governance system to a Embassy style do-ocracy, and that is how we've remained for the majority of our time as a community. Early last year we committed to running a series of experiments where we chose to live under a range of difference governance structures to see what we could learn about each one, and also what we could learning about the learning process itself! The initial discussion around this was an energetic one - what do we set the goals for each governance system to be, what do we want to incentiveze, what structures should we choose, what issues can each governance system control in the house and so on.  Each month we focused our outward facing events to mirror the governance structure that we were living under, we collected data from residents and guests on how they felt, we had feedback meetings and we allowed our structures to evolve according to those discussions. It was fun, it was messy, it was enlightening! Here we share our experiences with you.