Community Greenhouse: Find the people with the next big ideas and support them to grow your community

Community Greenhouse: Find the people with the next big ideas and support them to grow your community

How do you surface the best emerging ideas in a community and give the people leading them the support they need to jumpstart action?

Find projects with potential in bottom up entrepreneurial communities.

When you have a bottom up (ie: no leader deciding what is most important and what everyone should do) community of people drawn together by a shared purpose, how do you make sense of what is going on and what is worth your time to support?

  • How do you know what projects are around, who is leading them and how best to support them?
  • How do you get to know some more people who are around and how you might form collaborations and relationships?
  • How can the community be mobilized to create value and make progress on its mission?

It’s a bit like a garden. How do we find out where the next big seeds are and who is holding them? How do we help them sprout and grow?

A community greenhouse session.

Here is a playbook with a simple process that takes a few hours to organise, 90 minutes to run and helps add value in 3 specific ways.

  1. Identifying and supporting new projects that have potential.
    Spotlighting the entrepreneurs and project leads in the community who have something they are working on and want to grow. These sessions help everyone align around people who are building something, giving them the opportunity to get some support to grow.
  2. Creating purposeful connections.
    This facilitated structure brings people together to meet, connect and share ideas by actually providing value to someone. It’s a purposeful use of time. It’s not just a meet and greet networking event. People meet together by sharing ideas and actively contributing to projects.
  3. Engineering serendipity and collective identity.
    New people meet each other, learn about new projects, have ideas about connections to make. Spark a good conversation that leads to a follow up, that leads to a….

To be successful, you will need a few people leading projects to present, a few dozen participants to join. The process allows project leads to share their ideas and vision, and allows for everyone involved to meet some other people, contribute their thinking, make some connections and help make some positive progress in a short period of time.

Useful for:

  • Network or member driven organizations who have lots of different stakeholders, diverse perspectives and many different tactics all aligned by some shared mission.
  • Newly formed Web3 communities, DAOs and groups who are making sense of who is around, what they are doing and how people might work together on projects.
  • Progresssive, innovation orientated organisations who are trying to spotlight leaders of new initiatives and champion new projects.

What is SanghaDAO and where did this come from?

A few months ago I listened to a podcast conversation between Vince Horn from Buddhist Geeks and Kevin Owocki from Gitcoin, talking about a hypothetical SanghaDAO. What would meaningful integration between progressive meditators and technologists look like in the emerging Web3 space? What happens at the intersection of Dharma and DAOs?

It was an open enquiry - ‘What would a SanghaDAO do?’

This was enough of a provocation to get me and a few hundred others interested enough to jump into a discord to begin the bubblings of a “something”.

In the early days of Enspiral we had a lot of loose connections and entrepreneurial energy pinging around the place. With lots of people attracted towards a central vision, but no real clarity on who those people were, what projects they had and how best to support them, it was hard to orientate on how to be useful - or what the community was doing.

As a result we prototyped and tested lots of facilitation methods and event structures for helping solve some of these challenges.These types of sessions exist in lots of different formats, with different titles. At Enspiral we called them ‘collaboration cafes’ (our version of a world cafe) and experimented with formats like Project Kitchens and Troika Consulting from Liberating Structures.

Why a greenhouse?

For SanghaDAO we choose the analogy of a community greenhouse.

New seedlings need support to grow to the next stage. They need sunlight, safety, scaffolding and focused attention. This is what this kind of session provides.

The playbook is linked here.

Consider it a starting point for adaptation and improvement.

If you’re running a DAO and want to try this process we would love to hear how it goes for you.

SanghaDAO is still bubbling away. Learn more and join the discord here.

Better Work Together curates tools, methods and resources from the frontiers of collaboration and organisation building. Learn more about the project at