Sat 8th March saw Co-operantics represented at the Southampton Co-operative City Conference.
In addition to updates from Southampton Area Co-operative Development Agency’s John Merritt & Dave Griffiths, Council leader Simon Letts and Councillor Andrew Pope on the “Co-operative City” idea and its progress, there was an excellent key note presentation from Nick Matthews, Vice Chair of Co-operatives UK and introductions to West Solent Solar Co-operative and Hamwic Housing Co-operative.
During the afternoon Nathan facilitated a workshop on Co-operative Skills. With only a 45 minute slot we still managed to incorporate information about what co-operative skills are and why they are important along with a group session exploring what makes good and bad meetings. Despite the time restraints the group even got to the stage of discussing strategies for avoiding bad meeting behaviours and encouraging good meeting behaviours. The way the exercise worked provided an opportunity for people to work in teams towards a shared task, which in itself may have helped some participants reflect on the way their co-op works! Perhaps the most engaged disccussions were around co-operatives having too many meetings and problems with participation in meetings. Are the two linked? Quite possibly. As participants agreed: there’s got be some purpose to the meeting for it to be worthwhile and if people aren’t attending, maybe it is because they don’t see the value in it. Wise words. There was even debate about whether or not incentives such as food are counter productive bringing people for the wrong reasons! The challenge to co-ops is to unpick the answer to “What’s In It For Me?” for members to attending meet – which may come back to ensuring the co-op is truly delivering member benefit and that the members are in agreement about what that benefit should be and what common goals they want to achieve. That’ll be strategy then!
The fruits of participants’ labour:
If you would like Co-operantics to run a workshop at your conference or event, get in touch!