A fast-moving exercise to help participants coordinate their existing activities and support each other’s work.
This activity can work with any group size, but it works best in groups of 20-50 people.
10-40m. Approximately 30 seconds per participant, followed by an optional 15-minute open-space period.
Taking the time to deliberately coordinate actions is a great way to serve the self-interests of participants. A good way to do this is to provide space on calls and at convenings for participants to share urgent needs, and to connect with others who might be able to support their work. When conducted early in a network’s formation, this exercise often provides the first tangible direct benefits members receive from their participation, and it demonstrates the immense value the network can provide to advance their existing work.
When in person and with enough space, we like to get everyone to stand in a large circle. However, the exercise also works well in any seating arrangement or setting, including remotely.
Rapid Coordination begins by inviting participants, one-by-one, to briefly share something they need help with, or a potential collaboration they’d like to explore with others. Encourage participants to use the following phrases:
After the first participant shares what they need, others are invited to raise their hands if they believe they can help (by sharing information, having a follow-up conversation, or providing resources). The sharing participant should quickly write down the names of those who raised their hands, with the expectation that they will follow up with those individuals. The process continues until everyone has been given a chance to make a request.
As we facilitate the exercise, we remind people that this is the time for making connections, not for holding a conversation. As a result, the exercise tends to move quickly, requiring no more than 30 seconds per person at most. If we have time available, we then provide participants with a 15m open space period following the exercise to make connections with one another and schedule a follow-up meeting or call.