An Open Collaboration has the qualities of being nonhierarchical (vs hierarchical) , emergent (vs planned) , non-owned (vs owned) , open (vs closed) , participatory (vs witnessing). Wikipedia, Open Space Technology facilitation, Rainbow gatherings, Burning Man, open source software, and the United Religions Initiative all share these qualities. (For more discussion of these qualities see our Open Collaboration Encyclopedia)
Our gift circle has these qualities
.non-hierarchical – no one is in charge of our gift circle
.emergent – the gift circle is evolving, we try out new formats for on a regular basis, and i am not sure anyone knows what it will evolve into yet. We look at what works and adapt.
.open – new people are constantly coming into the circle. Our circle seems to me to work best when their is a mix of old people – who hold down the gift circle culture and know whats going on, and new people – who bring new types of needs and services to the circle.
. non-owned – nobody owns our circle
. participatory – everyone expresses their needs and gifts. We’ve also had quite a number of facilitators, probably 11 different facilitators over the 22 weeks so far of our gift circle.
Heres a link to an essay of mine about some of the non-hierarchical and emergent properties of our gift circle.