What happens between Collective sessions is affected first and foremost by the nature of your Collective and the course you have defined. If, for example, the Collective is a team working together on a joint project, the activities between sessions can naturally become group activities and affect how you operate as a team (see also: Organizational Collectives). In other cases, what happens between sessions will be more individual by nature.
Regardless of the Collective nature, there are some things the members (or the group as a whole) should do to keep moving forward in their creative journey and make the next session effective.
Maintain an Insight Journal
Maybe the most important Practice in the context of reflection throughout the journey is keeping an Insight Journal. The Core Practices can be adopted and applied in any order, but we highly recommend starting with this one so the Insight Journal can accompany you from day one.
An Insight Journal is a tool for you to record the things you experience, observe, and wonder about, as well as any insight you might have along the way. The key to maintaining an effective journal is not to censor anything. Don’t consider if something is worth capturing in the journal or not — capture anything that catches your attention in real-time as much as possible. Capture also things that don’t seem to be related to the “Next Step” defined in the previous Collective session. Think of the journal as an extension of your mind-pantry.
In the next Collective session, you will be able to use the things you’ve captured for sharing and discussing. You will also be able to use your Insight Journal for solo reflection — the Collective is not designed to replace it but just guide and enhance it.
If you work as a team, you might want to consider maintaining a Collective journal in addition to the personal ones. A Collective journal can be used by the team to record and share insights in real-time, primarily when they are related to the core tasks of the group.
Work on One or More Practices
There is obviously more than one way to work on new Core Practices and cultivate them as habits. Finding the optimal way requires some experimentation, and it is ultimately a personal preference. We have defined a very high-level description of the path we recommend taking when adopting each of the Practices.
Whether the Collective members are all working on the same Practices or each member manages their own individual journey, you should decide what you are about to work on next. Committing to the next step is an essential part of any Collective session. Often the next step can be phrased as a set of one or more Practices to work on and where you are (or expect to be) on the path of adopting them. The time between sessions is when the Collective members should take some concrete actions to promote this commitment. This is where the journey takes place for real.
Keep in Touch
Last but not least, it can help to keep in touch between sessions. If the Collective is an integral team working together, this is trivial. However, even if the Collective is made of members who meet just once a week for a joint session, there is a considerable benefit in establishing some non-intrusive communication channel for ongoing sharing and support.
There is a delicate balance to maintain in that respect. You need to create sufficient personal space for individuals to practice and experience without the unintentional pressure of the Collective. Some people might find ongoing sharing intimidating or just distracting. So, whatever you do, make sure this communication channel is optional. It is there for Collective members to use to the extent they find it effective between sessions. It does not replace a Collective session, and it must not be a condition for running the next session effectively.
Remember that the Collective, and specifically the Collective sessions, is not the goal — it is a platform for driving the ongoing journey forward. Therefore, most of the work of mastering your creative skills by adopting the Core Practices is expected to happen between sessions. The time between sessions is where you lead a creative life — your real life.