Email sent to members of The Mighty Minds Club. Re-posting it here so more people can catch up on what’s been going on and what’s ahead!
Welcome to email #2 (of 3) as we look at ‘What’s Next for the Mighty Minds Club’.
NOTE: If you’ve signed up recently, in the last month or so, this is an atypical email. You may want to check out the backlog of previous email newsletters, to get a better feel for what this has all been about.
Otherwise, read on…
- Mighty Minds is shifting to a paid community, with a bunch of perks (just scan the headlines, below) for people who want to make and share ‘things to think with’ 🧰
- There’s a survey I’d LOVE for you to complete! ♥️ [NOTE: If you’re reading this on Medium, I’ll keep this survey open until the end of December 2020]
So, what is NEXT for ye old Mighty Minds? In the last email, I looked back over lessons learned. If you missed it, this ‘looking back’ retrospective is great context for this ‘looking ahead’ update.
And, there was a survey.
You should take the survey.
Everyone should respond to the survey.
So, let’s look ahead, at 2021.
// A community, first
The biggest shift is to becoming a community, first. Keep this going, as a platform for people who want to make and share things to think with. This will include an infrastructure change: Moving from Slack to Circle.so, to support more thoughtful, calm, and organized dialogue. In addition to salons, I’m planning more recurring, unscripted meetups — happy hours, fika’s, and other informal gatherings where we can openly share our work and thoughts. Oh, and we’ll need *volunteers*! I did mention the survey, yes?
// Less noise, more signal
While the email newsletter has been fun, much of what you were reading will move to posts on the new Circle.so community platform. Also, content will be more organized, and less random. I will continue to send out newsletters from time to time, but these will be more topically focused. Instead of ‘here’s 5 things I read this week’ you’ll get something more like ‘5 great reads related to [TOPIC/TOOL]’.
// Center on Things to Think With
Communities need an organizing center. Or so I’ve read. I’m going to double down on the “things to think with” slash “tools for complex challenges” focus. Expect more *reviews* of card decks and toolkits. More hands-on, collaborative, exploration of canvases. More deconstruction of what makes these work (or not) as tools for thought. Speaking of which… I’m giving a talk on this very topic next Monday, at the monthly TorCHI meetup . You should join us!
// Prioritize active learning
There’s a Neil Gaiman quote that I absolutely love:
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” — Neil Gaiman
Aside from the personal satisfaction of working with our hands, we also learn better when we make things, when we take an active part in the construction of knowledge. Accordingly, this new community will focus on activities and actions (ahead of content). More output to go along with the input. Of all the shifts, this is the one I’m most excited and anxious about. Next week, I’ll share more details about this one point, but essentially, I’m imagining a bunch of us opting into small groups to work on monthly or quarterly challenges. Some of these will be media focused, such as “make a card deck” while others will address a complex topics such as ‘handling difficult conversations’ ‘challenges with remote working’ or or ‘dealing with uncertainty’. Again, a focus on making and sharing things to think with.
// More salons
Yep. As part of this learning, and making process, there will be more salons. Some of these will be random or of varying interest to you. Others might be thematic, such as as series of meetups on something like ‘systems thinking’ or ‘writing good metrics’. Oh, and many of these will be recorded, and members will have access to the entire backlog of meetup recordings (speaking of which, I’m still in the process of getting the past salon recordings uploaded to Vimeo! Next week, I promise! 🤞 😬 ).
// Create tiers of involvement*
At this point, depending on your interest and availability, all this either sounds thrilling or incredibly stressful. Or both! I want members to be able to opt-in to whatever ‘level’ of participation makes sense to you, personally, or at a given moment in time.
[REDACTED] put into words something that was right at the edge of my thoughts:
“I wonder if there could be 2 levels of content (report/tool content, newsletters, etc.). The primary level would consist of the finished, polished product. And a secondary level would consist of the *journey* to produce the finished product. I’m not sure that this would necessarily translate to different levels of club membership though. Perhaps it could just be a matter of enabling members to navigate to the secondary, meta content if they so choose.”
I’m imaging something very similar, which is part of the move to a different community platform. If you want to just show up to a meetup from time to time, and occasionally pop into the community to look for tools on a topic, that should be an option. If, however, you want to be more involved and active, then I’d love to remove the friction to participation.
// Paid membership
To support all this, there will be a monthly fee to become and remain a member. The amount will be low ($5-$10ish), and mostly go toward covering the infrastructure costs. While there are free options for many things, when you start thinking about designing — with intention — the digital environments through which we participate, the limits of these free options quickly become apparent. I’m still ironing out the details of what will be freely available to members vs non-members.
// More monthly reports?
As I mentioned in the previous email, a “Method of the Month” club didn’t work out for me, personally. That said, this doesn’t mean the end of these reports. There’s something gratifying about doing deep, rigorous research into a specific tool (or topic). I plan on doing more of these reports — let’s call then ‘deep dives’ — but on more of an ad hoc basis (maybe 3 or 4 a year?). Given the amount of work involved in preparing these, they will be sold separately as online classes. Whatever the pricing ends up being, members will get a steep discount. Naturally, Mighty Minds Club members will have a good deal of visibility into the creation of these deep dives. Oh, and these deep dives need not be created by me, only. If you’ve ever wanted to go deep with a particular tool or topic and share what you learn in a similar kind of visual-narrative-autobiographical oriented summary, then the Mighty Minds Club can be a platform for you to author and publish just such a course (at the current pricing tier, I can host 4 more content authors on Thinkific).
?? What else?
In the last update, I emphasized the uncertain nature of all this, and the willingness to learn in the open. This will continue to be the case. There’s something here, but what exactly this *is* will continue to grow and change and evolve over time. For all this ambiguity, I’m hoping everything described and shared up to this point sounds like something of interest to you. Things to think with. Tools for complex challenges. That’s at the center. That shouldn’t change. But what orbits this center is really up to us!
And that’s it.
I’m in the process of setting up a new web site to reflect these changes, but in the meantime… I’d really appreciate your thoughts and feedback. Feel free to reply directly to this email.
And if you haven’t responded yet, please complete the survey.
Oh, and because I can’t resist sharing useful and/or interesting things I’ve found…
- Here’s a short post on “Boundaries and Computational Irreducibility,” that leaves you thinking about where this idea might be applied…
- Helen Reynolds created a wonderful 2-page (visual) summary of the book How Learning Happens.
- Having trouble getting stuff done? Here’s an ‘Intention Tracker’ (free template) to set weekly goals and stay accountable. What I like about this one is how creator David Lemus calls out naming and quieting your ‘saboteur’. Combine this template with an article such as “The 16 Most Self-Sabotaging Behaviors And How To Overcome Them For Good” and you’ve got the start of a successful week!
- I’ve been learning about and playing various learning and simulation games (gamebooks, interactive fiction, narrative games). Some highlights: Go Viral! is “a 5-minute game that helps protect you against Covid-19 misinformation.” The ‘game’ A Dark Room is… fascinating! And, I learned about F.I.S.T.
- David Byrne (yes, THAT David Byrne!) asks “What if, instead of hating each other’s beliefs, we learned more about where they come from?” Good summary of the six basic moral values identified by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt (which, note to self, I still need to read his book, The Righteous Mind).
- This 8 second video shared on twitter shows what it is like to simply be. Or, as one person commented: To be “fully present, with no regrets about the past, no dread or anxiety about the future, no sense that [we] ought to be somewhere else or be doing something else, no worry about wasting time — just being, etc.” Enjoy!