The relationships and level of trust amongst members of the group impacts hugely on the success of the initiative. Establishing a common purpose early on is key. The group needs to be able to discuss things openly, sometimes be confrontational, have difficult conversations and come up with joint solutions.
"Sometimes there was a bit of tension but usually people smiled.“ SSI participant
It also needs individuals to commit to the process, not just organisations. This level of group building needs time, with a mix of formal and informal, less structured activities.
Many of our SSI meetings run over 2 days, allowing time for a dinner where participants can get to know each other better in a less formal setting.
Building / maintaining the whole group relationship is important in all stages – including the action stage when participants are working in smaller, more disparate groups.