Key Points

  • The intention of a group project gives direction, rhythm in its development, generates the movement necessary to realize and act in the field that is chosen
  • Thus the intention further positions the project in the broader society
  • The vision describes the kind of world we wish to leave to the next generation; the mission defines the contribution of the project when going in that direction; objectives are concrete ways to achieve this
  • All group projects need tools for self-regulation and adaptation
  • Intention is shaped through interactions with the surroundings and good networking with the local community.

Intention is like an arrow with the tip pointing to a desired direction and with fletchings stabilising the flight. Group projects with good sense of direction and relying on creativity, adaptability and resilience usually have stable progress. Communicating with the “outer world” is part of a truly sustainable group, a fundamental element in the system’s dynamics.


Consciously shared intention (where the group wants to go) is one of basic pillars in the majority of group projects. Setting, developing and maintaining such intention requires both initial effort and continuous attention later on. This ensures good “journey” and serves as a measure of goals being reached. Intentions in group projects can be subtle (spiritual) or practical (material).
Intentions define which people will be included and which excluded, based on their personal motivations. This is natural, since each project embodies certain core characteristics (for example how close the community is, whether animals are allowed, what is the policy on meat-eating, etc.), that is the filter determining what kind of people the project attracts and how much they identify with the project.
When talking about various aspects and processes that have to do with intention the first layer is personal intention to join (or start) a project. Personal intention influences individual contributions to the group. It is usually about meeting personal needs and desires, per example for friendship, meaningful work, a change of living conditions, healing wounds from past relationships, etc. Personal intentions actually open up opportunities for community-building, which is often insufficiently acknowledged.
The second layer has to do with shared, community-oriented intentions. This layer is often expressed as vision, mission and goals. Besides these three concepts many others are used by various groups such as: aims, values, objectives. Clear intentions bring a clear message to potential allies, members, partners, donors, etc., and are helping to understand what the project is actually about.
The intention further defines the positioning of the project in the society. How is the project seen in relation to the surrounding society? Successful projects are generally built through alliances with various stakeholders, both with like-minded projects and with diverse individuals, groups and institutions.