What does it mean to be a sector circle?

Hey there!
What are you thinking about the article on “What does it mean to be a sector circle”? (Spanish version
Do you find the term Help Desk useful?
Do you have the difference between Communities of Practice vs. circle in your circles of SoFA (it elsewhere)?

Or what else would you like to bring up?


Thank you for putting this all together. It’s inspiring to be part of SoFA’s evolution.
I want to share some of what I sense and ideas that are coming up.

What I see emerging after reading the article is that essentially sector circles are becoming content (producing) circles with more focus on the sector-related audience. And the existing content circle will basically provide templates for replication of what it has gone through with success, thus becoming ‘help desk’ for other (content producing) sector circles.

For Communities of Practice, I assume that past or current sector circles have some of such quality mixed. And it seems that this article is trying to make clear distinction between two functions; Communities of Practice and (working) circles. Fully acknowledging that sector circles have served both the functions of Communities of Practice and (working) circle, and remembering that such mix of functions have significantly helped SoFA grow until now, I feel that Communities of Practice in the future are in the same or similar line along with other contents such as webinars, workshops, or trainings. So SoFA will be accountable for holding the space for Communities of Practice just like any other contents that SoFA offers.

Then the question comes up, who will fill the roles in sector circles? Here’s an idea. Burrowing the inspiration from 3EO(Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Enabling Organizations) model, those who want to grow into ‘micro-entrepreneurs’ within SoFA ecosystem could be invited to fill the roles. These micro-entrepreneurs could also be called ‘content entrepreneurs’ in the area of sociocracy with sector focus. And they basically produce contents (articles, videos, webinars, workshops, trainings, CoPs, consulting/coaching services etc.) and generate cash flow from the contents. Many of the sector circle activities described in the article overlap with the activities you would eventually have to do if you were to start your own ‘content business’.

Let’s say a Sociocracy Academy graduate would like to start his/her own business using sociocracy focusing on the specific sector audience. If the graduate were to start alone from scratch, the person would have to build a website, manage social media, write articles, create videos, design workshops/trainings, send emails, do finance and all the more all by alone, just like any other self-employed or solo-entrepreneur would have to do. With 3EO applied to SoFA, that same person can become micro-entrepreneur and utilize SoFA’s existing knowledge & infrastructure to produce sector-tailored sociocracy contents. If there are a few other like-minded people around the micro-entrepreneur, they can form a sector circle or ‘micro-enterprise’. In return, the micro-entrepreneur or the sector-circle shares profit from their contents(most likely coming from workshops/trainings/consulting/coaching) with SoFA. And SoFA can fulfill its mission by expanding to the wider sectors while overcoming the limits of hiring paid staff or relying solely on volunteer work. If the profit generation is not possible within near future for a sector, but the development of that specific sector is important for SoFA, SoFA can invest in the micro-entrepreneur or sector-circle.

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Yesss! I love where you’re taking this, @duyoung.jeong !
Here’s an interesting tension for you to sense into - I’d be really grateful if you could write your thoughts on it down.
Now let’s focus in on a person who would start that ME (micro-enterprise) from within SoFA. Besides the resource sharing, what reasons would they have to start it there and not as their own stand-alone? There are those who “only” want to altruistically support sociocracy in a sector they are familiar with.

I am asking because supporting people’s livelihood is certainly a consideration. I want to understand how we could do that better. If I think about the organization’s needs - the purpose or mission - then people’s personal businesses are awesome to support livelihood, connection, experience, a place to practice. But they are also a bind (what we see is more and more a “transactional” view on SoFA involvement - “am I paid, or how does this serve me?”) and a distraction. Can we shed some more light on that position?
When I look at my own career, for example, I would have never gotten the experience I have without involvement in SoFA. The more involved I got, the more I learned, the more I got visible, the more I got connected. I understand that my position as founder is/was unique, yet, I certainly got out as much as I put in. How could others ride on having SoFA as a lab and this shared resource?
Members of Consulting Circle have written agreements for income sharing - while they have their own business, whenever they earn money with sociocracy-related work, they pay a percentage back into the pool. I like that model a lot. It gets consented to by Consultant Circle. (In EEEO language, it’s basically a contract between the ME and the shared resource platform.)
I’d be curious about views from @phouben @hope.wilder-4900 @irena.kaszewska-0175 and @rhonda.baird here. (and everyone else of course! But the 4 people tagged are in the position we’re talking about here)


The organization map of SoFA you outlined @TedRau Ted in the article on sector circles (and all other kinds of circles) is extremely helpful and clear. It feels it has grown from practice, not just a theoretical concept. The characteristics and dynamics of different types of circles are well observed and captured - it simplifies the otherwise complex structure of SoFA.

I love your conclusions @duyoung.jeong and the resemblance to the 3EO model you point out.

Regarding this question of @TedRau :
"Besides the resource sharing, what reasons would they have to start it there and not as their own stand-alone? "
I think resource sharing is by itself a very strong case, especially in the very attractive way SoFA has made it possible.
Nevertheless, for me personally, the strongest bond to SoFA is the feeling of belonging that has developed over the years of training and co-working. You Ted used the other day the expression “home sick for SoFA” after my temporary absence, it felt so exactly true!
Besides, on the vission/mission level it feels great to be part of such a noble movement.

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I’ve thought about and sensed into @TedRau’s questions. Many thoughts, feelings, images and ideas came up. And for me they more or less converged into a question.

Is SoFA allowed to grow exponentially, reach its full potential, and eventually dissolve at its destination?

I know this question could sound like coming from out of nowhere. Still I want to share it. I want to know if this question resonates in one way or the other.

Allowed by whom? But yes, it is. I’d actually love that. I think we should fulfill our mission within the next 10-15 years and then dissolve. As in, I think it would be good to think about it in those terms!
In 15 years, the responsibility to teach good governance should just be part of school education, and then we’re done here :slight_smile:
Curious what you do with my reply @duyoung.jeong

I actually think of permaculture education in the same way, @TedRau.

I can see the following benefits from beginning within SoFA as an ME at first glance:

  • resource sharing (I agree with @irena.kaszewska-0175 . This is pretty key.)
  • reputation and reliability. Working from within SoFA helps to establish this.
  • collaboration and the potential for collaboration and integration of ideas more quickly
  • finding the niches that really work for you and referring people to valuable connections
  • support for feedback and growth
  • satisfaction from contributing in a meaningful way to a common vision

While @duyoung.jeong, you framed everything in terms of content, there is also a sense of holding a community of practice together and using facilitation to explore what’s possible. This is important in developing the sector circles and the CoP’s. Tending the circles has to be recognized as adjacent to and an important part of producing different kinds of content (workshops, trainings, conferences, consulting, etc…). It is work that is seen by SoFA, but perhaps not valued enough by other organizations and groups historically.

@duyoung.jeong @TedRau @phouben @hope.wilder-4900