Loomio
Tue 26 Jul 2022 3:03PM

The ‘crowd-fund the future’ project

OS Oli SB Public Seen by 154

This is an idea for a collective experiment: Could we crowd-fund and collectively invest in a regenerative future?

We could start small, with an initial target of say £5k, or £10k, and encourage people to chip in to a pot on Open Collective which, when we reach the target, we will collectively decide how to invest. The purpose being to help kick start a / some worthwhile project/s which need funds to help bring them to scale. The winning project, or organisation, would have to be aligned with / working towards The Open Co-op vision of a collaborative, regenerative economy in some way ... and anyone who chips in to the pot (which would be clearly detailed on Open Collective, as long as they don't contribute anonymously) could make a proposal for how to invest the funds. We could allow a certain time for proposals and debate, (say 1 or 2 months) and then decide here on Loomio with a vote. If it worked well we could iterate and run the whole experiment again, possibly crowd-funding a bigger fund which could have more impact... £10k first time, £50k next time, £100k next... and see what happens. At the very least it would be a fascinating experiment in crowd-funding and collective decision making! ;) If we don't try some new ideas to manifest change it seems like our children will be living in a much less hospitable world than we inherited... so, what have we got to lose by trying?

What do you think?

I

Ivana Sat 3 Sep 2022 12:22PM

The Enspiral solutions is called co-budget, I think. Maybe one of the things to do is to simply experiment. We can experiment with a few different platforms, organisations, voting systems, project proposal systems etc. Then we learn from those experiments, rinse and repeat. And maybe also we could collaborate/share knowledge/experience in writing good proposals that would attract sufficient attention and thus increase their chances of taking off?

Then - how to report back? I believe that Open Collective makes it easy to see where the money raised has been spent, but it would also be interesting to see what was produced? Thoughts?

I

Ivana Sat 3 Sep 2022 6:18PM

Ok, thank you.

G

Graham Sat 3 Sep 2022 1:26PM

Open Collective (OC) is simply a transaction platform. To use it effectively there needs to be what OC calls a fiscal host. Platform 6 is a fiscal host on OC, and in addition Platform 6 provides a democratic governance framework through which projects can be proposed considered and supported. It's not a case of either/or, more both/and.

I

Ivana Sat 3 Sep 2022 12:24PM

Hi Graham. What would be advantage of going through Platform 6 instead of directly through Open Collective?

G

Graham Fri 2 Sep 2022 2:38PM

Hi Wouter. As noted earlier, your currency is welcome by becoming a member of Platform 6 (https://platform6.coop/membership) where we alsrady have a fund (https://platform6.coop/cooperative-development-fund) building , to be used for cooperative projects where any one can apply (https://platform6.coop/submit-proposal). At present it's modest, but if everyone in this thread and their friends were to join and contribute at least the suggested £5 per month (roughly £1 per week) it would quickly grow and be able to support at least some of the suggested projects.

WO

wouter@freeknowledge.eu Fri 2 Sep 2022 2:24PM

I think it's a great idea, Oli, and I love the comments made in this thread (on some of them I've added a litlle heart emoticon ❤️ :-))

Maybe it shows that I'm only replying now to this interesting thread, as it is hard to find time to contribute. I'm not sure yet whether I'd like the idea to support just one "winning" project, or whether we could find a methodology - and sufficient contributions - to spread the collective fund over various projects. I recall the Open budget tool (or what's its name again?) that Enspiral uses, where anyone can add to the collective fund and have then the possibility to assign their contribution over different projects. So to say a platform to run various little crowdfunding campaigns and each gets according to the supports they raise. Of course that might need some good criteria for who can set up a campaign inside the platform, but considering that's pretty much defined, like Openness, Cooperative Commons criteria we already share it seems, then it might be a more pleasant and fruitful endeavour. Just thinking out loud. In any case I'm happy to contribute some time and currency when this takes off.

I

Ivana Fri 5 Aug 2022 3:12PM

To try and get some creative juices flowing here again, here are the keywords that I was able to spot in various posts:

collaborative regenerative economy

Open Collective pot

contributors can propose projects

debate

invest

collective decision

building tools to make tools

hardware

energy cost

Platform 6 development coop

modest regular contribution by virtue of being a member

collective deciding

small projects - bounties? or larger ones?

projects already running, or help new projects start up from an idea onwards?

invest or spend (invest = expectation of monetary return, spend = donation)?

open project AND crowdfund? Only open project (perhaps that could be crowdfunded?) or only Crowdfund?

Needs + offers = Murmurations? (what would it take?)

Hardware and workshop spaces

Different people have different priorities as to what they would fund

Engaging people in meaningful thinking

Bringing people together to compare notes and support each other

Some people would contribute to the pot

Looking at the above list - what can be done with it? What jumps at you when you see this list? There could be questions that come out of each of the above key words or phrases, so ... ask away. My feeling is that the ideas that people wrote down reflect what they are egnaged in - which is normal and natural. For me, for example, I'd like to fund new projects that haven't started yet, because I have a project that I'd like funded, which could benefit many other projects along the line, and I suspect I'm not the only one. Other than that, I think there is no greater priority than to create food forests everywhere - so that is what I'd like to contribute to. Also needs + offers - as that could help many other projects. Billy is interested in Hardware. Yasu in coops. Oli may have children or might have them one day as his concerns are there, but probably not only there.. Those are the differences between us - but what do we have in common? And how can we materialise even a few of the above keywords and see them become reality?

Can we work on defining criteria for projects to fund? Fund the funders who will be able to fund more projects? Large or small? Environmental costs versus benefits? Any other thoughts?

Looking forward to some creative comments...

Take care.

Ivana

BS

Billy Smith Sat 30 Jul 2022 10:37AM

Excellent idea! :D

I'll happily chip in. :D


Another thing to consider:

  • Some problems seem intractable due to lack of the hardware and tooling that isn't available/affordable on the open market.

  • This is a fixable situation, as the cost-of-manufacturing is continuing to fall.

  • Building tools-to-make-tools is more of a techie thing. :D

  • I know this as i'm an engineer and i like making physical things, but most people don't enjoy the activity of making things in and of itself. People are more interested in the results that they can get from the use of the Force-Multiplying effects of machinery.

There are a large number of mid-range energy-niches that can be worked with profitably and sustainably, as long as you have the capacity to make-&-maintain the tooling from raw materials. :D

A large part of the problem is that the group who takes the largest part of the profit is the manufacturer of the hardware used.

By co-op's making their own hardware, the profit is still going to the manufacturers, but in this case the manufacturers are the members of the co-op. :D


This approach also expands the range of opportunities that can be looked at, as energy-niches that were previously unprofitable, now become accessible due to the change in costs. :D

G

Graham Fri 29 Jul 2022 12:06PM

The website says "any activity that supports co-operatives. This might be some research, an event, travel costs or paying for co-op business advice." The thinking was that we could complement the SolidFund, which is just for worker cooperation. I would probably interpret that statement as being 'any activity that supports cooperation'.

OS

Oli SB Fri 29 Jul 2022 11:52AM

Yes - less wheel reinvention + more collaboration = more (chance of) success!

Are there any restrictions / stipulations about what can be funded from the P6 fund?

G

Graham Fri 29 Jul 2022 10:49AM

For those that don't know it, Platform 6 Development Cooperative was set up with a very similar approach in mind - at least in part. The focus was/is about funding cooperative development in particular, and we've recently agreed our first significant project, which is about the creation of an online version of an effective diagnostic tool used by people working in cooperative development. That tool will go live this year, and the development cost, relatively modest as it is, was funded primarily through membership fees of the Platform 6 cooperative. The model is very simple and follows what's already been outlined here in large part, with the difference being that people make a modest regular contribution to the fund simply by being a paid up member of the cooperative (this is how the Solidfund scheme works). Anyone can pitch an idea or potential project to be funded, and the members collectively decide which projects they want to support, and to what level. I think all of the infrastructure to support this process is already in place.

We have an open Loomio community that everyone can join free of charge. Within this there is a subgroup for members only. And you can sign up to be a member on our website at https://platform6.coop which also contains other useful information, links and resources. Personally I'm a fan of trying to integrate and synergise projects and initiatives where it makes sense to do so, rather than reinvent wheels and dissipate energy.

Platform 6 also acts as a fiscal host on Open Collective where we support multiple cooperative projects.

BS

Billy Smith Sat 30 Jul 2022 11:37AM

This is true in the UK as well.

When i was running a Limited Company, there was a LOT of resources/funding available.

The same resources can be available to co-operatives, if you approach it properly. :D

YK

Yasuaki Kudo Fri 29 Jul 2022 10:15AM

Sorry I have been so busy hard to catch up - another one I learned just recently is, as we are starting a worker coop in Japan, I started to participate in Chamber of Commerce events, etc. Oh man do they have money and subsidies!

When we walk into these scenes as worker cooperatives, as part owners and managers, we will automatically get what has been held from the working people!

'Capitalism' is an illusion only for the workers - the owner class live off the State subsidies and gravy trains 😄

I

Ivana Sat 30 Jul 2022 11:38AM

Thank you for the link @Billy Smith

BS

Billy Smith Sat 30 Jul 2022 11:09AM

This also fits in with the Sensorica approach towards designing Open-Source HardWare. :D

https://www.sensorica.co/ventures

I

Ivana Fri 29 Jul 2022 9:23AM

OK, about crowdfunding the future - inspired by the gitcoin bounty story that worked out for Murmurations... What about finding a way to propose small tasks, doable by one or two people in a few days, or a couple of weeks and funding those from the Fund for the Future (if that is what we want to call it)? That approach would require smaller amounts to be paid out at a time and it would make it easier to keep track of - are they done? not done? Why? I think it might also provide more opportunities to learn, more experimenting etc... and allow more people to start something rather than only supporting those who already exist and are up and running?

That would also marry nicely with the needs and offers project... which is a separate think to think through.

BS

Billy Smith Sat 30 Jul 2022 11:18AM

When it comes to hardware and workshop spaces, there are a few examples that spring to mind.

So around £5K - £10K is not an unreasonable amount to gather. :D

I

Ivana Fri 29 Jul 2022 9:17AM

OK, I looked through it a bit and tried to understand what could be done with it - ie what would be the user stories or a possible business case? Because people need to make living somehow, so if they are suppoed to be doing something there has to be a way to make at least some modest living from it. The need for marrying the needs and offers does exist (I think that is safe to say) - there are a lot of people out there thinking - but what can I do? And I think at least some of them mean -how can I help, rather than just put your plastics in the yellow container and the paper in the blue one and switch the light off when not in the room. Anyway... will start new thread for that.

I

Ivana Thu 28 Jul 2022 2:17PM

It does, thank you. Will take some time to digest.

OS

Oli SB Thu 28 Jul 2022 1:59PM

Yes, there's quite a lot more! You're right, it helps people map, or list any kind of entity, using decentralized, interoperable 'profiles' (meaning, these profiles can be hosted anywhere, not just on one site, or server) and these profiles can feed data into multiple maps or directories... thereby creating a many-to-many relationship between profiles and maps (or, more accurately 'aggregators' since Murmurations is not just geographical data). E.g. for the 'offers' and 'needs' data which Matt mentions, we're developing an 'Offers and Needs' schema, which would enable the aggregation of offers and needs data within AND between communities... see the "Decent E-bay / Offers and Wants" example here... I hope that helps explain it a bit more!?

I

Ivana Thu 28 Jul 2022 1:51PM

At first sight, would it be correct to day that murmurations would allow people to display locations of an entity or project on a map - instead of using any of the proprietory maps? Is there more to it than that?

MS

Matthew Slater Thu 28 Jul 2022 1:41PM

At least on the technical side we are nudging along a murmurations profile for this. Getting community platforms to integrate with it will be the real breakthrough though.

I

Ivana Thu 28 Jul 2022 1:02PM

What I see is that you've been thinking (together with other people) as have I (alone) as has this guy https://www.postgrowth.org/store/products/the-offers-and-needs-market-a-90-minute-process-to-reveal-and-mobilize-community-wealth as has the entire permaculture movement and probably many other people - about marrying the needs and offers. So there seems to be a common thread there. What can be done with it? And that might require its own thread?

Sorry.. I digress form your proposal to just get some funds together ... What we can see from the few replies here is that different people feel strongly about different things, and they would most likely contribute to what they care about the most today.The question is: would peple be happy to put some funds into the kitty, not being sure in advance what the money would be used for in the end?

I

Ivana Thu 28 Jul 2022 12:32PM

'how can we engage people...' is by example? We do it, then others see what is being done, that inspires them too etc... It may not be the only way, but to my mind it's worth more than talking the talk by somebody who has never made a step, let alone walked the walk. On the other hand, stories have their value too...

I can see why you say that Open Project is a complex thing. I always imagine the needs/projects and offers/skills/assets to be matched on an app like a dating app. There are some open source dating apps that could be adapted, I think.

But let's see what happens

OS

Oli SB Thu 28 Jul 2022 11:31AM

Thanks @Ivana You're right of course - often projects need things other than money - and receiving those things saves them needing money! But that's a different project to the 'crowd-fund the future' idea. What you're describing sounds a lot like 'The Open Projects Hub' which I describe half-way down this post, and in this draft presentation. My vision is not wedded to just one project... and I'm actually more excited about The Open Projects Hub idea because I see it as a way to help accelerate projects by providing them with the skills and inputs they need AND/OR money, if that's what they need. But it's a more complex and much harder project to get off the ground than a simple crowd-funding experiment... Maybe there's scope for both, or maybe there are better ideas than these...? I'm very open to input and other ideas because it's clear that we are more effective when we work in small teams... so if the vision needs adapting and evolving, or parking up in favour of other ideas, to encourage collaboration that's fine too! I'm just keen to DO things which might (will!) encourage more, and better (more effective) collaboration at scale...

@Yasuaki Kudo summed it up well below: (although maybe we can still make a difference with thousands and millions and don't need to wait for billions!?):

the complex problems of our economy can only be resolved when billions get engaged in meaningful thinking and actions.

So, maybe a better question is: how can we engage people in meaningful thinking and actions?

I

Ivana Thu 28 Jul 2022 10:52AM

Maybe we could ask the worthy projects what it is that they need. Do they ONLY need money? To give money is the easiest, sure, just type in the card number et voila! done. Or not even that. And to receive money is also easy sure. But often the projects would need actual help of experts, and if they get it for free then they don't need money for that. Or they might need a meeting room occasionally, and if they get it for free, they don't need money for that.

I also understand, though, that each of us has a vision which we will defend and want to keep as it is, and if your vision is to simply set up the Open Collective account, and then decide where to put the received funds, then OK. I would probably contribute mainly to projects providing nature based solutions - actual projects that get their hands dirty. There is place for all of us on this planet and for all our visions.

OS

Oli SB Thu 28 Jul 2022 9:16AM

Thanks for all the positive comments and feedback! I agree, there's no doubt a lot of unused resources in our communities... we could all do with more Libraries of things, and more sharing in general... but this idea is aimed at providing finances to an Organisation or Project which needs funds, OR finding other ways to invest our funds which will benefit the future.

For example, maybe we think https://gravitricity.com/ is an important part of a regenerative future (not that we can invest in that yet, but you get the idea) or maybe we think paying a tech co-op, like https://hypha.coop/, (who just integrated Keycloak to provide SSO for meet.coop) to build us a Single Sign On system between Nextcloud, Meet.coop and a Mutual Credit wallet would be a good use of funds - and provide us with a very beta version of PLANET, which we could use and experiment with whilst we raise more funds...

The idea being that whichever projects or organisations the funders put forward would be debated (giving them exposure in the process) and one of them would get funded (giving it a powerful boost), via the wisdom of the crowd...

The big question is whether £10k is too ambitious to kick us off...? It would be a shame if it took too long to raise the funds and interest waned... but any less than £5k might be a bit meaningless... although, as we proved with the Murmurations bounty you can do quite a lot with $1000 if you try!

What do you all think?

YK

Yasuaki Kudo Wed 27 Jul 2022 12:40PM

To me, on top of the list is workplace democracy (worker coops) - the complex problems of our economy can only be resolved when billions get engaged in meaningful thinking and actions. The root cause is the quasi-military-style command economy - be it called Socialist or Capitalist, it doesn't matter. So I would support funding to promote worker coops 😄

BS

Billy Smith Fri 12 Aug 2022 9:47PM

Great :D

  • To get a better idea of what might be possible, you'll need to know about the level of sunlight-per-day, the humidity, the height-above-sea-level for both your land, and the surrounding land, the water-rights attached to the land, the range of wind-speeds in that area.

  • All of the data required by wind-turbine makers and farmers, so that you can sustainably generate a surplus of energy from that land.

  • Have you come across Open-Source Ecology?

https://www.opensourceecology.org/

With the tooling & workshops they've designed, anyone can build a workshop to build the rest of the tools needed to thrive. :D

  • The Solar Concentrator mentioned above, was designed by OSEFrance, one of the French branches of OSE.

Building a Jamaican branch would be feasible, but most of their technologies are aimed at USA-size farms, where a small farm is ~200 acres.

With the amount of land that you have, it would more effective to join up with the other local farmers and set up a workshop co-operative, doing group-buys of the materials, and sharing the making and use of the infrastructure you all build.

  • It would also be good to get in touch with the engineering department of the local universities, and technical colleges, as they will always be interested in students getting practical experience form working on local projects.

OSE also run regular Distributed-Build Workshops, which would give another approach towards practical events, :D

https://www.opensourceecology.org/workshops-and-programs/

GR

Gregory Roberts Fri 12 Aug 2022 5:34PM

Hi Billy,

The land is sloping facing South, just outside Morant Bay, Jamaica. Of course I am interested in incremental growth in the size of the outlay and also would love to take interest from potential investors.

Greg

BS

Billy Smith Sat 30 Jul 2022 11:31AM

If you can arrange access to workshops, then it doesn't require a large amount of capital to hit the break-even point for smaller scale operations, at which point they can start re-investing the generated energy into extending, upgrading, and improving the range of facilities. :D

There are other examples of potential hardware, but which of them will generate the most effective EROEI will depend upon the qualities of the land, in terms of soil standards, water availability, directional facing, height-above-sea-level, etc.

What is the land like?

What sort of energy do you want to generate there?

GR

Gregory Roberts Wed 27 Jul 2022 11:54AM

I do agree with Wes. And the truth is that it often just need a nudge and encouragement. I have land in Jamaica, ready to do solar and wind generation. I would love to have conversations with pple with relevant skills, fund or access to funding to leverage the sunshine and the solar to assist so many small farmers in the country.

WH

Wes Hinckes Wed 27 Jul 2022 11:42AM

Hi Ivana,

There's actually a huge abundance of untapped resources available already in communities. Much of it is in the hands of business so you do need a way to engage and incentivise but there are also assets such as buildings, spaces, land as well as skills, knowledges and helping hands in local public sector organisations and communities.

This is something which I've been working on for several years. How do you connect and engage civil society, the state and business (and all the assets, strengths and resources that they possess) and put them to work for the benefit of communities for social, environmental and economic projects and ultimately transition to a new economy/society.

I made a comment on here yesterday with some additional detail and links which I'll include below but I'll also include a post which looks more closely at how collaboration can work at the local level.

Thanks,

https://www.loomio.org/d/r3u4I8sQ/comment/2733771

https://weshinckes.medium.com/developmental-ecosystems-making-the-most-of-investing-in-place-bc17971867

HK

Hilary Kolinsky Wed 27 Jul 2022 8:32AM

Great idea - I would contribute, and maybe also offer services per Ivana's proposal if appropriate.

I

Ivana Wed 27 Jul 2022 8:24AM

Maybe an idea is also to offer pro bono (or very reduced price) professional services to regenerative projects - whatever services or skills one can offer, and also other things like - space, equipment, furniture, time, advice, guidance, knowledge sharing, any other thing that could be of use to somebody who is trying to do something positive for the planet. Equally, those who are trying could post somewhere what they need - which could be any of the above. Does anybody know of a platform that offers this? Ideally open source?

I

Ivana Wed 27 Jul 2022 6:35AM

This chimes with me too. I have a startup in mind that once it gets to its profitable stage would do exactly that - make funds available for projects that clean and green the planet and invite the users/members not to propose and do projects in some way collectively. At the moment it's all a pie in the sky as it didn't happen yet, but I hope it will. Once it does, the startup will act as one of the donors on an ongoing basis.

GA

Gary Alexander Tue 26 Jul 2022 5:32PM

This sounds like a good idea to me. A fund tailored to “ The Open Co-op vision of a collaborative, regenerative economy” is great. I would contribute and perhaps also apply. At least as important would be bringing the people behind such projects together to compare notes and support each other.

Gary Alexander