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  • Posted November 27th, 2023
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    You can help develop non-corporate digital tools to support collaboration between community groups

    You can help develop non-corporate digital tools to support collaboration between community groups

    Are you sick of having to always use corporate software, that uses your data to track your activities, to try to sell you things, and who knows what else? This is especially galling for community / co-operative groups trying to challenge corporate dominance. It seems incredibly difficult to develop non-corporate, community-based and/or co-operative digital tools – but Oliver Sylvester-Bradley at Open.Coop is trying. You can help him by filling out the quick survey below. Over to Oli:


    What are the best tools to support inter-group collaboration?

    As readers of LowImpact will be only too aware, humanity has an urgent need to develop collaborative ways of working and regenerative systems which put people and the planet before profit.

    In his excellent post on Uniting Humanity, Richard Flyer lists “distributed network infrastructure” as one of the 5 key elements of a unifying worldview and strategy.

    At The Open Co-op, we run projects and events that are designed to catalyse a collaborative, regenerative economy. One of our projects, called Murmurations, focuses on providing distributed network infrastructure which makes it easy to share and aggregate data between groups and across different platforms.

    For example, you can use Murmurations to share the workload and increase the value of local mapping projects by collaborating with other map builders, as outlined in our checklist for map builders.

    You can also use Murmurations to share Offers and Wants within a group – but also between groups, by sharing the data using a standardised, interoperable format.

    We’re proud of the progress we’ve made with Murmurations and hope more groups will adopt the protocol to help others discover their work more easily and to support inter-group networks and collaboration. But it still feels like the progressive ‘regenerative economy building’ movement is missing some key tools.

    As explained by Matthew Slater in The missing social network, “decentralised movements need protocols to coordinate” but, because “there is no good software to do it” grassroots communities end up wasting huge amounts of time and effort reinventing the wheel (by building their own bespoke software) AND lack the benefits of the network effort since they remain disconnected from each other.

    So, as part of our mission to create a collaborative, regenerative economy, we’re running a research project to determine which digital tools would best support community groups to operate effectively in their local context and also to cooperate with other groups, as part of a larger global network for collaborative action.

    We want to find ways to deliver on what Richard Bartlett, a co-founder of Loomio, calls the “critical gap in collective organising software” by synchronising group membership across multiple platforms.

    The survey aims to gather feedback and ‘evidence of need’ on the features and functions that local community groups currently use and want from their digital tools.

    If you run, or are part of an existing, or aspiring community or online group, please help by filling out the survey to help us identify how best we can support inter-group networking and collaboration. There’s only 10 main questions so it wont take more than a couple of minutes to complete and your input will help inform what we do next.

    In collaboration!

    Oli S-B, The Open Co-op


    The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's


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