Evolutionarily Stable Design
Say you have an event where you have brought together 200 participants and perhaps 100 of them are hunting for a new community (the others are from communities or are just community-curious). Let’s say there are 40 communities represented. How do you get the key information to the right hunters so they can make good choices?
I don’t know exactly who developed the Meet the Communities format that the Twin Oaks Communities Conference has used for decades, but it is an evolutionarily stable format, because it works so well.
You could say it is basically formatted around the controversial propagandist axiom “there is no such thing as a long story”. You line up all your communities and say “you have 1 minute to present yourself and then people who like you will come for more personal and longer talks after all the communities present themselves”. Yes, the communities movement basically invented speed dating.
After these introductions community presenters spread out to picnic tables and put up their signs and hunters who were intrigued at the short presentation come and have a longer, more personal and more focused conversation.
There are some organizational pieces you have to include to make it work. You need someone who is watching the clock and when people hit their 1 minute mark gently moves them off the stage. Ira did this for many years. [Which resulted in Pat Therrian intentionally running over her time so Ira would have to grab her, which Pat quite liked.] And you have to explain to the sustainability network guy how, while his project is important, he can not get up and present himself as a place based residential community.
Another proof of evolutionary stability is imitation. The West Coast Communities Conference (when it was happening before the pandemic) also used this format as does the QuinkFair event happening Oct 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Mineral Virginia. These are the communities who have been invited to present themselves during MtC (most of whom have confirmed and/or said they are likely to attend) on October 2 in the morning.
|Abrams Creek/CFNC||Storm Mountain WV|
|Baltimore Free Farm||Baltimore|
|Community of Peace||Louisa|
|Cosmic Honey||San Francisco Bay a|
|Cuckoo Compound||Cuckoo VA|
|Cville Ecovillage||Cville VA|
|Federation of Egalitarian Communities||US|
|Foundation for Intentional Community||North America|
|Living Energy Farm (LEF)||Louisa|
|Magnolia (LEF affiliate)||Louisa|
|Open Circle||Etlan VA|
Sadly, there is no Twin Oaks Communities Conference (TOCC) this year and QuinkFair is quite a different type of event. Nevertheless, this long held tradition will be repeated in an undisclosed location in Mineral VA on October 2.