In the process of creating a thrivable world we live, work and celebrate together. When we do these things we creating containers in time and space within which to do these activities together.
Conscious thought in creating containers for the task at hand can enhance their effectiveness. The container of shared space is more then just the physical or online context. It begins when you start imagining bringing people together - these initial thoughts begin the container creation process. It is a wholistic practice involving many dimensions of human gathering. Here are different ways to think about creating appropriate containers:
On the space plane - Holding a dinner party for 12 people in a hall that seats 150 people isn’t an appropriate container - it is to big to hold the small energy of 12 people.
Online - If you want to collaboratively edit documents online then an appropriate container is a wiki or google wave not a blog with comments or an IRC chat.
In the time plane - We need to consider time when creating a container for people to work together. Do we need a day or an hour to accomplish our goals. Is the length of time that people speak to a whole room balanced with enough time for those gathered to connect amongst themselves? How much time do you have to introduce people. If you have 60 people and you give them each a minuet this takes 1hour. Is it appropriate to take up that much time?
In the physical plane - Does the layout of the space and the seating available match the purpose of the gathering? Is it welcoming and comfortable?
On the human to human agreement plane - create shared agreements and norms for the space you are in together. Is the conversation confidential? Is it Chatham House Rules (quotable but not attributable)?
Creating an appropriate container for a gathering can be grounded in the practice of a facilitator who is grounded and is an anchor for the group.
You can read more about containers at the Group Pattern Language Project http://grouppatternlanguage.org/wagn/Creating_a_Container