Heaps of New Features!

Look at all these features

Released in the last few weeks…

Import Contacts

It just got a lot easier to add people to Loomio groups – no more having to remember or copy/paste email addresses! You can import your Google contacts, and then when you start typing a name it will just pop up. Neat! Add contact by name Join the discussion on Loomio to find out more about using this feature, and let us know what other services you’d like to see supported for importing.

Participation Permissions

We asked for your feedback, you told us about your use cases, and we designed a new tab in the group setup process called “permissions”. Permissions tab options Coordinators can now determine whether group members can invite new members, create subgroups, start discussions, edit the context panel, edit their comments (even after activity has occurred), raise proposals, and vote on proposals.

These new options will support a wide variety of use cases for participation with different levels of decision-making stakeholding.

RSS/Atom Feed Support

As per the community’s request, the URL of any public group is now an RSS/Atom feed you can subscribe to using your favourite feed reader. Loomio Community RSS Feed

Jump to First Unread Comment

It used to be that you had to click this down arrow button to jump to where you left off in an ongoing discussion thread: Jump to unread comment arrow button But now it jumps there automatically! This means when you return to a Loomio thread, you can pick up where you left off and just read the new content posted since your last visit.

Get Involved!

See what’s in the pipeline and help determine development priorities

The Loomio roadmap is a public, collaborative Trello board where you can see what’s recently been released, what’s in progress and up next, and what suggestions are in the backlog. You can participate by voting up the features you most want to see in the app. See more about the roadmap and our collaborative design process in this previous blog post. Feature Ideas group

 

If you have an idea that’s not already listed, post about it in the Feature Ideas group on Loomio. We regularly post about features under development and ask for feedback, ideas, and help with user testing in the Loomio Community.

Are you a developer who wants to contribute code?

There are cards on the roadmap tagged with blue, which are features we think developers might have a good experience working on. Check out Loomio on Github, especially the README, which has useful info about installing Loomio on a local machine, the development process, setting up a production server, reporting bugs, and how to find good tasks to pick up.

We’re excited to continue at a fast pace releasing features that continuously improve the Loomio user experience, and support you to make great decisions with your groups.

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Update to Loomio Supporters: July 2014 – Happy Matariki!

It’s Matariki here in Aotearoa New Zealand and we’re really feeling the winter solstice vibe at Loomio HQ – feels like it’s getting brighter every day!

Rocketing towards Loomio 1.0

In the month since you last heard from us, we’ve been hard at work making huge progress towards Loomio 1.0:

Loomio Community Group

  • Identity – groups can now customise how they look with a swanky cover photo
  • Privacy – we’ve made it much easier to control who has access to your groups. In practice, this means for example that anyone interested in the Diaspora software project can join in their discussion and decision-making at the click of a button.
  • Editing – the most-requested and most-debated feature in the project’s history, it’s now possible to edit your comments to fix up typos!
  • Email – we’ve finished the first piece of our project to make Loomio totally accessible through email. We just released the ‘Yesterday on Loomio’ summary message, which updates you with any content you’ve missed.
  • Translation – thanks to our phenomenal volunteers, the software is now available in Khmer (Cambodian), Belarusian, and Macedonian. This brings the language count up to 22, with plenty more in the works :)

We’ve also deployed a collaborative roadmapping process, which means you can contribute to our development priorities.

Building bridges with the international civic technology community

We were lucky enough to have one Loomion (Ben) flown over to the Personal Democracy Forum in New York last month. PDF is an amazing gathering of people working at the intersection between technology and politics, and speaking alongside people like Sue Gardner, Edward Snowden (via video-link), Anne-Marie Slaughter and Clay Shirky was a huge honour.

Aside from the conference, Ben spent time connecting with some truly inspiring folk, getting to know people like Tim O’Reilly, Zeynep Tufekci and Joi Ito, as well as building partnerships with groups like NYU GovLab and the Open Technology Institute’s Commotion project. Expect to hear more about those collaborations as things develop :)

So many people!

User Map

We’re seeing 2-300 new groups joining Loomio Beta each week (around 200 people per day!) from all over the world, which means that well beyond 20,000 people have signed up to Loomio now. We’re really feeling the demand from all corners of the globe.

Loomio in the news

Nathan Schneider wrote this really great editorial for Al Jazeera, contextualising the Occupy movement in the series of global movements that preceded it and continue to this day. He mentions Loomio as one of the promising outcomes of this ongoing movement of movements towards positive systemic change.

Highlights from the blog

As always, thanks again for your ongoing support, vibes, enthusiasm, and energy!

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Feature Update: Editing Content (discussions, proposals, and comments)

You spoke, we listened – “editing comments” has been the most upvoted card since we opened up the public Roadmap.

There has been a lot of discussion about this topic in the past, and sometimes it got a little heated. Listening to user feedback, we learned that people want to be able to correct typos and make clarifications, but they don’t to disturb the integrity of the content.

Taking all this into consideration, we’ve implemented some new features that will allow you to make changes to your content (comments, discussions and proposals), up until other users interact with it.

You will always be able to see when content is edited, and all edits will be saved in a full revision history.

Comments
To allow for fixing typos, all users can now edit a comment after they post it, so long as it is the most recent comment in the discussion. Optionally, you can also configure your group to allow for users to edit their comments at time.

Proposals
You can now edit your proposal title and description, until someone states their position. You can change the closing date at any time.

Discussions
You can now choose whether or not users can edit the title and context of each other’s discussions. While the wiki-like context panel (the description at the top of a discussion) is great for some groups, we’ve learned there are other groups where only coordinators should be able to do this.

Comprehensive list of user permissions

Coordinators can:

  • Change the group settings.
  • Edit the title and context of any discussion.
  • Move discussions between groups.
  • Invite and approve new members.
  • Send an announcement email to all group members.
  • De-activate a group.
  • Add/remove other coordinators.
  • Delete discussions.
  • Delete comments.

Members can:

  • Delete their own comments.
  • Edit their own comments, until someone has replied.
  • Edit the title and description of proposals they start, until someone has stated their position.
  • Edit the closing date of proposals they start, until they close.
  • Edit the title and context of discussions they start at any time.
  • Start a subgroup, which they become the coordinator of.

Optionally, coordinators can allow group members to:

  • Invite and approve new members.
  • Edit their own comments at any time.
  • Edit the title or context of any discussion in the group.

New options on the group settings page

New group settings options

 

As always, we take an iterative approach, and you can count on future changes and improvements to all of this in the future. We’re looking forward to your feedback about how these new features work for you in your groups!

Get involved in the discussion in the Loomio Community group.

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Management Hacker Gary Hamel Interviews Loomio

We talk about involvement and empowering people. Over the last 20 years one of the ways of thinking about that is giving people a share of ownership. Loomio is a cooperative, and that’s important. But I see a lot of companies with employee stock ownership plans, but no real involvement. If you want people to feel ownership, having 1% of 1% of 1% of the shares is way less important than having a voice in decisions that matter. Thank you, Loomio, for making a difference.

– Gary Hamel

Internationally renowned management expert Gary Hamel has identified Loomio and Enspiral as cutting edge innovators. This extended interview of Loomio Cooperative and Enspiral Members Alanna Krause and Vivien Maidaborn is from Business Influentials in Auckland, New Zealand, May 2014.

People will find the best solution if they feel it’s open and transparent, if they understand how you got to that decision. They can be confident all voices were considered, and other options were considered.

A couple weeks ago I was talking to the head of sales for one of the biggest high tech companies – you’d all know who it is. They’re part of the new generation and celebrated for being open and all these wonderful things. There’s 12,000 people in the organisation. They had done some kind of big reorganisation of the compensation plan, so I asked him, how did it go? He said it produced a complete shitstorm of defensive reactions.

I said, well did you blog about this to begin with? Did you say, here’s the problem, what do you guys think? He said, no, no, we wanted to do it really quickly so I brought in consultants and we did the whole thing in three months. I had to remind the guy, there’s a difference between speed to implementation and speed to success.

Read the story on Hack Management, watch the Youtube Video – Loomio is a really, really cool platform.


The story of Loomio was named the winner of the Management Innovation Exchange’s Digital Freedom Challenge, which Gary co-founded with Polly LaBarre, who we also had the pleasure of interviewing recently as part of our Inspiring Disruptors blog series.

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Polly LaBarre: The Future of Business is Mavericks, Heretics, and Activists

Polly LabarrePolly LaBarre, cofounder of the Management Innovation Exchange (MiX), and former CNN business correspondent and senior editor of Fast Company magazine,  talks to Loomio about collaboration, democracy, technology, and the need for a new paradigm based on trust and freedom. 

Inspiring Disruptors  is a series of interviews with people at the vanguard of a new way of doing things that maximises autonomy and collaboration. 


The entire interview is well worth watching. We’ve pulled out some choice quotes below.

What does “collaboration” really mean?

The foundation of all successful collaboration is something very human – trust.  More and more organisations are waking up to the power of openness and transparency. The ideology of control – controlling people, controlling information, controlling deviations from the norm – all of that stops collaboration in its tracks.

What is the relationship between organisational change and technology?

Making organisations truly resilient, truly innovative, truly inspiring – fit for the future and fit for human beings – requires a great unraveling of the way they have worked for more than 100 years, since the invention of hierarchy and bureaucracy.  We’re on the verge of a management revolution.

What inspires us are forms of organisation that are driven by web-based principles: all ideas compete on equal footing, your contribution matters more than your credentials, the wisdom of the many trumps the authority of the few, power comes from sharing not hoarding. This requires rethinking and disrupting every single management process, from how you create a budget to how you make decisions to how you set strategy.

What is the role of democracy in business?

Not just business, but all kinds of organisations have been ruled by this ideology of control. It’s not productive when you want imagination and initiative and passion, and you want to tackle complex global problems . We need a different form, based on principles of trust and freedom.

What have been your biggest learnings from the MiX?

The most high-impact case studies we’ve found have all been based in this practice of experimentation, failing fast, learning, and iterating – agile and lean from the software world meets design-led thinking. I think we’ve learned a lot about how great experiments unfold. We need activists in organisations, the merry troublemakers, the mavericks, the heretics. We need institutions that respect what we have to learn from the fringe, where the future starts to unfold.

The most successful leaders are those that create a haven for heretics, that don’t just tolerate them but invite in the contrarian and unorthodox points of view. I’m excited by how many people are actually open to that idea. We’re living more and more in an age of mavericks, heretics, and activists. They’re not trying to burn the house down, they’re trying to find a better way. That’s really inspiring to me.

Find out more at the Management Innovation Exchange.

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A Community-Driven Roadmap: Get Involved in Setting the Development Priorities for Loomio

Right from the start, Loomio has been a community-driven project. From day one, we’ve had real people using Loomio to make real decisions, and real world feedback from users has directed development all along.

The Loomio Community group is an active, enthusiastic group of supporters and contributors. Whether it’s talking about new feature ideas, exploring best practice for facilitating online collaboration, or collaborating to translate the app into 22 languages, this diverse, global community is invaluable. Those of us on Team Loomio consider ourselves members of the Loomio Community of users and supporters, not apart from it.

Loomio Community Group

We recently went back through the entire archive of the Loomio Community group (a treasure trove of over 2 years worth of content) and pulled out a list of all the ideas ever suggested for Loomio.

Loomio Roadmap: All Your Ideas & More

We’ve heard many times that the community wants a publicly viewable roadmap, so people know what’s in the pipeline, and a way for users to give feedback on it. Well, now we have one: loomio.org/roadmap.

Roadmap Trello

The backlog of ideas have come from the Loomio Community, and also include what we’ve promised to deliver for Loomio 1.0 for the crowdfunding campaign we recently completed. The public roadmap is not a static list – it’s an interactive Trello board (modeled on the Trello Dev Board).

There are five main lists of cards:

  • Inbox – new suggestions for various sources, waiting to be processed.
  • Ideas Backlog – Vote up the ones you care about most.
  • Next Up – What the Loomio dev team has prioritised.
  • In Progress – Development currently underway.
  • Live – we’ll have a monthly list so you can see what new stuff has been released.

Cards will move along from ideas to implemented features, in a public, transparent way. You can easily see if your idea has already been suggested, see what features the community as a whole wants most, and check progress on features you care about.

How We’ll Work Together: Collaborative Design Process

At the core of the Loomio philosophy is the idea that including more different perspectives in a constructive way will lead to higher quality decision outcomes. This goes for feature development in our software as well.

We’ve thought hard about how best to involve more people in the design process – the “how” that needs to go along with the “what” of feature development. No one wants to fall in the trap of “design by committee” and it’s important that everyone understands that we’re working within technical and capacity constraints (sometimes the dev team just needs to make decisions). People also want guidance about how they can most constructively give feedback. So a free-for-all approach really isn’t that productive.

Meaningfully involving diverse users in the design and testing process is absolutely the way to build the best possible application, and we’re totally committed to it. We also want to make it easier for open source contributors to pick up work the core team doesn’t have capacity for, and to do that effectively, these jobs must be integrated with the overall vision for the app, and well specced out.

We’re going to use the votes of the community to inform what to prioritise. As cards move into “next up” we will host Loomio discussions in the Feature Ideas group about them. We’ll take on the feedback, develop the feature, and then come back to update when it’s been released. We can then ask everyone to test it out and give more feedback for future iterations, or catch bugs.

We’ve already done this process recently with the New Group Privacy Settings. Read through the thread to see how this kind of collaboration at work!

Call to Action: Get Involved!

We are very excited about this new phase of increased transparency and collaboration in the development roadmap, and can’t wait to get input from the wider community! Right now, go to the Loomio Roadmap Trello board and have a look. Start voting and commenting on features. The future of Loomio will be shaped by you.

Your Input Built Loomio

Almost all the core features of Loomio were actually suggested by the community. It’s really fascinating to go back and see the discussions that led to features we now couldn’t live without.

Wow! That’s quite a list. And it’s going to keep growing….

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Feature update: new group privacy settings

Yesterday we released a whole new system for managing the privacy of your groups. Now when you start a new Loomio group, you’ll get the following options:

Group settings page

Open access groups

As part of this feature, we’ve released the first version of ‘open access groups’. Setting your group to ‘open’ means that any Loomio user can join in immediately, without needing an invitation or approval.

New options, new language

We’ve tried to provide a comprehensive set of options without being too confusing. What do you think? Could it be clearer? We’ve had some really great feedback from the user community to get to this point – we’d love you to join the conversation if you have anything to add.

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Interviewing Marama Davidson – activist and social media maven

Free West Papua Pasifika Festival Mar 2014Marama Davidson is an activist and Green Party candidate for Tamaki-Makaurau in Aotearoa New Zealand. Loomio co-founder Richard Bartlett talks with her here about social media, social justice, and the future of politics.

Inspiring Disruptors  is a series of interviews with people at the vanguard of a new way of doing things that maximises autonomy and collaboration. 


Richard: You’re an avid user of social media. Do you think we could use tools like this to make parliamentary politics more relevant, responsive, and engaged?

Marama: Yes. Social media is enticing more and more people every day to join the online community. I have nanas from my marae back home who keep an eye on me via facebook. Digital communication is particularly important for keeping us connected to rural communities, to young people, to our global movements, to those important issue networks we belong to, to alternative media commentary – I’m totally addicted. We can already see that social media has a role to play in keeping our communities informed of parliamentary politics in a way that is relevant to ordinary New Zealanders. Social media is also a useful way to stay on top of what ordinary citizens are saying and feeling.

 


 

“Clicktivism” is really easy – just click “like” – But how do you mobilise people to sustained collective action?

I think the easy ‘like’ is useful as a starting point to raise awareness. The easy ‘like’ can also be a way to maintain interest on an issue that people are already aware of. Social media on its own is not the movement. Social media should be used to compliment and support our grassroots activism – not to replace it. So we use social media to advertise protests, fundraisers, lectures, hui, tree plantings, river cleaning, submission writing etc. Then we go out and do the action. Then we come back and we post photos and stories and videos about what we did and get more people who want to join our next action. This is a simple but effective template that has been used time and time again.

 


 

Have you experienced abuse online? How do you handle it? Should making online space civil be the goal?

Of course I have experienced abuse online. I am not talking about people who disagree with my opinions. I am talking about threatening, hostile and mostly anonymous abuse. This is why your support base is important. They provide a buffer and a reality check to remind us that the abuse is not worth putting our emotions towards. And controlling your space is important. I am not interested in providing a forum for nasty anonymous trolls so they get blocked from my page and my twitter. I prefer to keep my own space welcoming for people to step into.

I don’t know if we can control that behaviour so much. I just think we can role model what we would like to see in our spaces.

 


 

You’re surely familiar with the highs and lows of collective decision-making, from bitter frustration to amazing empowerment. When you think about some of the collective decision-making processes you’ve been part of, what’s worked? What’s gone wrong?

Wow that’s a question right there! Trust. Trust is key. Trust that everyone wants the same outcome. I am involved with several different groups and kaupapa that require a consensus at every step. The more people involved the longer it takes generally. I am okay with that because it means that when a consensus is reached, it has been thoroughly debated. I have also seen processes completely stalled and it can take but one person to take hostage of a collective. Strong facilitators, clear goals set at the beginning, and a healthy mix of pragmatism and idealism seem to be around when good things happen. The reality of having to compromise can hit hard and I have seen people have to put something of themselves to the side for ‘the bigger picture’.

 


 



New technologies mean we’re living in a world of previously unimaginable access to information and interconnectedness. This brings huge promise, and also potential pitfalls. Are we heading for techno-utopia, or techno-dystopia?

My inherently optimistic nature won’t allow me to consider a techno-dystopia. It is going to be a long haul but I think technology is a crucial part of our better world that we are heading towards. We are using the information highway to share stories for how to tackle climate change. We are using social media to change the damaging neoliberal narrative that has had its day in the sun for far too long. We are using new technologies to find solidarity with other communities around the world who are singing our same song. I am encouraged by what is happening with our interconnectedness.

 


 

Russell Brand says we shouldn’t even bother voting. What do you say to that? What, for you, is the meaning of democracy beyond voting?

What does it say about any political party when they rely on people not voting at all?! The current National Party do not want you to vote – that is their big game plan. We currently have in government a political party who would prefer people to not be engaged. Their agenda depends on people not voting and not participating and not knowing about what their government is really up to.

I am always concerned about the very voices that we are NOT hearing from. It has always been that those people most negatively impacted on by policy and practice are the very voices that are often side lined in the debate. This is not to say that those groups don’t have strong leaders and advocates, they always do. But at the decision making-level there is often a disastrous lag of representation. The representation of women in parliament for example, hanging at around an abysmal 33% or so – is not cool for Aotearoa. It means that policies that harm women and children have an easier way worming through. Anything that harms women and children harms us all.

Any democracy has to provide for fairness and justice through across our lives. On smaller scales I have seen this happen with just one person leading the waka, but that person has true mana. I have seen democracy happen with consensus groups also, but as I said before the trust and clear visions among the group are solid from the start. Democracy for fairness is what I’m looking for.

 


 

For more interviews like this, check out our Inspiring Disruptors series.

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Update to Loomio Supporters: May 2014

Word of the Year: Gratitude

It’s still a bit unreal – over 1600 people contributed over $125,000 to make the Loomio crowdfunding campaign a massive success. Because the “give now” button remains live, amazingly even now donations keep coming in. It was a huge validation of what we’ve believed all along: the world wants Loomio!

Crowdfunding Results

Of course the funds we raised are critical, but in the end it was about so much more than money. We got on the radar of all kinds of people, leading to contact with inspiring aligned groups around the world and new strategic relationships. We more than doubled our reach on social media. We got amazing press coverage, like in FastCompany and Wired. And most importantly, a whole bunch of new groups have started using Loomio to make decisions every single day!

Growth and Impact

Loomio Growth and Impact

Since the campaign ended, we have taken time to do some serious planning. We are on track to bring you Loomio 1.0 – and all the crowdfunding rewards – by November as promised. And we’ll be releasing a lot of features and updates along the way before then!

We’ve released customised public Loomio group, a collaboration with Auckland Council. It’s just getting started, but it’s really exciting.

waitemata auckland council project

Media

“I would like to live an empowered life where I get a real say in issues that affect me, and that is why I back projects like Loomio” – Dr. Roslyn Fuller discusses Loomio in this op-ed for RT

Technology reporter Robbie Allan speaks highly of Loomio in this Radio New Zealand piece.

We were really excited to read probably the most flattering blog ever written about Loomio as a tool for helping cooperatives change the world.

Ben in the USA

Ben has just landed in the USA! He was invited to speak at the Personal Democracy Forum, where he will be talking about the missing link between the collective intelligence of the internet, and real-world action.

You’ll be Hearing from Us!

Transparency is one of our core values, so expect updates like this about once a month. If you’d like to get the news more often, we’ll be updating this Loomio thread weekly, making regular posts to the Loomio Blog, and communicating on Twitter and Facebook.

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Loomio Crowdfunding: That’s a wrap!

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 2.44.44 PM

Successful crowdfunding

We did it!

Thanks so much to the 1600+ people who supported the development of Loomio 1.0, collectively giving $US125,000.

The campaign was the biggest high-pressure project that most of us have been involved in. By the end we felt overwhelmed with gratitude but also pretty tired.  Luckily the end of the campaign coincided with Easter holidays so we’ve had time to recharge the batteries. We’ve spent the last couple of days putting detail into our plans for the next six months, and making sure we can deliver as much value as possible in a way that meets our values.

Loomio featured in Wired and FastCompany

It was encouraging to get  featured in FastCompany and Wired right at the end of the campaign Loomio was! We’re pretty chuffed :).

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 2.47.55 PM

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 2.58.25 PM

 

 
What’s Next?

We’re pretty excited about what we’ve got in store. A big part of our mission is enabling organisations to be more democratic and this includes practices outside of just using Loomio. You can anticipate blog posts on the Loomio 1.0 plans, what we’ve learnt about running a democratic organisation efficiently, and also on what we learned running a successful crowd funding campaign.

There’s also plenty of people that helped out behind the scenes to whom we happily owe favours -too many to mention here, other than to say we’ve got your back!

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Crowdfunding update: 2 days to go!

After an incredible couple of days, the target is within reach! It’s truly overwhelming to see so many generous people getting behind this project, reminding us that we’re not crazy to pour our lives into it for the last 18 months :)

graph of contributions to date

We’ve got some excellent new content to share too:

Since our last update we’ve added some wonderful interviews to our series of Inspiring Disruptors:

  • Jacqui Graham, social entrepreneur CEO of the Wise Group, on meaningful engagement in a large organisation.
  • Marianne Manilov, grassroots organizer, writer, media strategist on Occupy, democracy, love, movement building, and self-care.
  • Heather Marsh: activist, programmer, political theorist and former Editor in Chief at Wikileaks Central, on new models for 21st Century governance, autonomous movements around the globe, and knowledge as a commons.

New Zealand Herald logo

The New Zealand Herald wrote an encouraging piece about Loomio this week. Nice to see them predicting our success!

And finally, check out this incredibly moving story Inga Jensen wrote about her experience of Occupy as a visually impaired person, and how Loomio’s commitment to inclusivity inspires her.

❤ Thanks friends, we’re so close to the target now! Keep sharing the love: http://love.loomio.org

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Heather Marsh: government as mass collaboration

Heather Marsh is a human rights and internet activist, programmer, political theorist, and former Editor in Chief at Wikileaks Central, and the author of Binding Chaos, a compelling blueprint for 21st century governance. An excerpt:

Binding Chaos - book by Heather Marsh We can do better than [representative democracy]. We can govern by user groups, respect individual rights and global commons, and collaborate using stigmergy. We can belong to overlapping societies voluntarily by acceptance of social contracts. Where necessary, elite expertise can be contained and used through transparent epistemic communities with knowledge bridges while control remains with the user group.

Loomio co-founder Richard D. Bartlett had the very good fortune to interview Heather recently, as part of our ongoing interview series: Inspiring Disruptors.

 

I’m really excited about your concept of “stigmergic collaboration, epistemic communities and knowledge bridges”. How would you describe these ideas to my 8 year old niece? (She is pretty smart).

Stigmergic collaboration is what happens when people who don’t have to talk to each other or know each other work on the same project and build something together. There has to be one idea that everyone understands and agrees on as a goal but beyond that no one is the boss or telling anyone how to work or even if they should work.

If you go into your doctor’s office and she has a puzzle on a table that other patients have been working on that is an example of stigmergy. You don’t know who has worked on it before or after you, but you know what to do and you are free to add a few pieces if you like.

There are much bigger ideas too, like “Information wants to be free”. There are many nodes under that stigmergical idea, everything from whistleblowers, MOOCs, file sharers, projects such as Wikipedia and Telecomix, open source everything and much more. Everyone is free to further the idea in their own way, the only commonality is the goal.

Epistemic communities are a way to provide elite expertise for projects without relinquishing control to an elite oligarchy. People or ideas are peer promoted from within the user group and communities remain transparent and permeable to everyone. Acceptance or rejection of the ideas is always up to the user group to avoid an unassailable oligarchy.

Knowledge bridges are people who help disseminate information from an expert to a novice level of understanding and collectively audit what the epistemic community is doing. Besides being essential for education and auditing, this is important to avoid demagogues who have the ability and time to develop mass appeal but are not the source of expertise at the level the world needs. Epistemic communities and knowledge bridges allow elite expertise a direct path of communication to the entire user group and provide a path for anyone in the user group to achieve elite expertise if they wish.

Your niece would understand this if she has ever looked up math games on the Internet. The Internet provides many knowledge bridges which help lead her to the epistemic community of elite mathematicians and allow her to become one if she chooses to study that hard.

 

Where are you seeing these ideas take hold? What do you see happening in the world that gives you hope?

Anywhere information can be very rapidly disseminated, verified, audited and acted upon is fertile ground for stigmergy, epistemic communities and knowledge bridges. I love the way MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) forums sometimes act as a job seeking forum with employers and collaborators finding talent by watching people work in a real setting instead of relying on official certification, like musical collaborations used to result from jam sessions. I also love the local affinity groups and friendships created from those courses.

The progress that gives me hope is in the areas which strive to get more people connected to collaborative networks and more amplification to silent voices. Stigmergy has always been our most powerful collaborative method and stigmergy follows ideas, so efforts to bypass control by corporate media, politicians, thought leaders and other representatives and allow people to contribute ideas directly with their own voices are essential.

 

Your conception of government as mass collaboration has really influenced my thinking in designing for Loomio. Do you have any ideas about the practice of making this idea real for people in their everyday lives?

Governance to me is action not an organization. It is something people have to just do. It is only after governance by the people is established that politicians can be lobbied into supporting it until it makes them obsolete. My first goal is to enable every person to participate, to write software, platforms and guides and provide outreach of all kinds to help people participate wherever their interests lie.

Unofficial ministries for each system should be set up as permanent open epistemic communities regardless of what government is in power. Currently, lobby groups are sometimes formed to attempt to influence policy but what is needed are full and permanent shadow cabinets by the people. When this shadow cabinet is established and effective, there will be no need for any other. The unofficial ministries which represent the will and peer promoted expertise of the people will guide policy or the elected politicians will face the consequences. The power of the voters is in the contribution of their ideas and actions far more than their ballot vote every four years or so. Official organizations and positions can be replaced by communities which are open to all to participate in. The unofficial ministries can call their own referendums and submit their own bills to elected MP’s when needed. In many cases the involvement of elected officials is not necessary, epistemic communities can guide policy through education and participatory discussion instead of official government policy.

 

Binding Chaos maps out a pretty compelling blueprint for a new way of structuring society; can we iterate towards it? Do you have ideas about fertile places to start? Whose job is it?

We have to start everywhere. It is everyone’s job to fight for their own autonomy and their own freedom to participate where they feel most excited and fulfilled. The world right now is full of people breaking out of the boundaries set for them, whether they are joining plenums in Bosnia or autodefensas in Mexico, scaling borders between Morocco and Melilla, breaking into a US nuclear weapons plant like 85 year old Sister Megan Rice, making themselves personally responsible for feeding and sheltering homeless people like OpSafeWinter, or fighting for justice for another human like the Free Omar Khadr Now group. Every person who decides to conduct their lives in a way that makes better sense to them and refuses to accept the status quo is participating. Not all ideas will be good, but if we all try we can iterate towards something that is better. And if we all try we can’t be stopped.

 

Have you had any thoughts about tools to enable this transition? Have you seen any promising approaches?

Collaborative problem solving tools like Loomio, etherpads and many others emerging now are a great help in shaping the way we work. Our methodologies need to change, and these tools will teach the new methodologies to a great extent. We need tools which are free of corporate or centralized control, which are part of their user communities and responsive to them. Organic community cooperatives like Loomio and Lorea are wonderful examples of responsive tool development.

I talked a bit in Binding Chaos about Twitter, Klout and other social media and their tendency to replicate and exaggerate our societal tendencies towards oligarchies. Digital currencies also currently facilitate our trade economy with almost all of its flaws intact. The social influence and currency algorithms both need to be re-examined to not just replicate our old methods but create new ways of interacting and relating to each other. An expiring currency would help to create a more sharing economy. A social influence algorithm that rewarded less on attracting celebrity attention and more on boosting unheard voices would change the impact of celebrity influence. We need more experimentation with the fundamental concepts behind influence and currency.

One of the key areas I would love to see progress is in knowledge repositories as global commons. We can’t have open, permeable epistemic communities on platforms with centralized control. The news will remain as transient spectacle until we have the tools to build knowledge from that information. Wikipedia by itself is not stigmergy, it is a tightly controlled cooperative. We need innovation in data modeling tools that will scale and connect and are not under centralized or corporate control.

 

What do you think can be done to create safe spaces online? Where have you seen this work well?

We have a lot of work to do first to decide what our definition of safe is. There is a sliding scale between free speech and freedom from the hate speech which is paradoxically a form of censorship. It is interesting to see different populations gravitate to different tools for playing with public influence, amplification and interaction depending on their ideas of where the ideal position on the scale is. I don’t think comfort levels are ever going to be uniform for different people and applications. Diversity of options and freedom from outside spying and control are essential.

Despite the obvious issues with Twitter it is the most interesting place to watch for global political communication, the only place you can publicly see politicians and participants in wars communicating with their opponents. Watching Twitter fights between Israeli forces and Gazans, the M23 militia and the FARDC military in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Rwanda politicians and the son of the man they are accused of just assassinating pushes the boundaries of communication about as far as I can imagine. To see these conversations cut short by censorship would be a huge loss.

There has been a great deal of discussion about trolls on Twitter and elsewhere, but they are to some extent the bottom feeders that keep the pond clean and are very self correcting in a troll eats troll platform. In a platform designed around celebrity and majority influence the unpopular opinions are left to the trolls so they are essential. The worst offenders in the name of free speech are those posting child abuse and other violations of privacy and personal integrity. In a self governed and open platform they can be dealt with by either the majority or a vigilante minority with support from law enforcement where crime is committed. The vigilante aspect is quickly reversed and turned on the vigilante if the public feels it is not justified. If a society agrees that certain behaviour cannot have anonymity it won’t for long. It is possible to design a platform where proxy routing anonymity can be tied to social approval so it would not be up to centralized control to decide.

A society with extreme free speech is too uncomfortable for many so it is essential to have both quiet places to work and open forums uncensorable by anything but public opinion and existing laws against child abuse and similar. Also essential is permeability, especially to influential forums. We now have a permanent Nemesis in astroturfing campaigns and attempts to game influence, plus spam. We have to somehow detect and block all that white noise while still maintaining both anonymity and ease of entry. This is definitely one of the most challenging puzzles we have to deal with right now, both socially and echoed in our tools.

 

How can we support your work?

In the interest of practicing what I preach, I have tried to not trade any of my work by manufacturing scarcity or withholding effort. It is my hope that people will one day pay for value already received by using the donate buttons at the top right on my blog instead of expecting a Kickstarter type campaign or funding drives. I also hope ideas will one day travel through peer promotion and knowledge bridges, not through personal brands or corporate promotion, so I do nothing with my work besides posting it on my blog. People who donate, share my work, use Amazon to share with prisoners, talk about it, translate it and encourage others to support it, leave me free to write and are very appreciated, even more since they are actively changing the world by using the methods described in Binding Chaos.

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Marianne Manilov: Grassroots Organising and Looking After Yourself

This week in our Inspiring Disruptors interview series, Alanna talks to Marianne Manilov – a grassroots organizer, media strategist and writer and cofounder of The Engage Network. Manilov’s 20-plus year career included running campaigns and programs for groups such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace International and recently helping to organise Wal-Mart workers to stand up for better rights. She is also the co-founder and former Executive Director of The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education.

Marianne 2

In what way did Occupy change organising for you?

There were big differences for me between studying distributed circles of people organising from afar, and then actually experiencing it firsthand in New York. It was enormous to watch it live, and the learnings I took from that will influence my organising for the rest of my life – especially the parts that didn’t work. There was sometimes a tension between the parts that did and didn’t work, and occasional violent events in the park, yet still hundreds got fed every day.  Just like real life.

I learned a lot about about community of care – Occupy fed people and had libraries and medics. Occupy showed that you can do some things coming from care.  There is a lot of fear about care at scale – we’ve seen this in the Wal-Mart work. We used the model of holding small circles and distributed organising in working with Wal-Mart employees, which helped develop the structures that allowed co-creativity. Quite Occupy-esque.

What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of Occupy?

There is strength in co-creativity and the fact that anyone can start a small circle. So small and local can build up to really big, huge impact results.

A weakness was that everywhere the Occupy movements were following one model. There was some reflecting of corporate culture and structures, and mirroring it rather than differentiating. For example, everyone set up in parks, with a kitchen. Maybe that wasn’t necessarily the best thing for everyone to do. Because there is no longer a big glaringly obvious presence in the park, there is a misconception that Occupy has died. As the movement grows, General Assemblies may not be for everyone. We’re seeing diversification of Occupy in OccupyOurHomes and OccupyStudentDebt. There is strength in the diversity and the ability to respond to local needs, and come up with unique solutions that are best for each situation, while at the same time sharing a common identity.

Occupy hasn’t died down. It has diversified. It’s going through its natural life cycle. I’m more interested in the permaculture practice of Occupy.

What is the role of media and technology? And the interplay between the online and the offiline?

Throughout these change movements, we’re seeing a move from broadcast media to people media.

People on the ground respond faster and with more flexibility. We’re in a time of co-creation. People-led movements are what’s coming – flat organising, small circles. At Occupy, people on the ground were really important, people who were just learning about media.

Technology is great for reflecting and helping people to organise. It has increased the ability of people to find common interests. But there is always a need for a field team on the ground taking live action. Without something on the ground, it’s a different approach – you need an interplay between both.

What I like that about Loomio is that it feels like a meeting. Anyone has the ability to put out a question, and it’s also like a note-taker at the same time. At General Assembly, inherently there is a bias towards people who talk more, speak English, who are male, who are like myself from New York who are able to interrupt and are more aggressive verbally – whereas with Loomio it’s a little bit different and levels the playing field.  

What is needed to collectively practice the skill of everyday democracy?

On one level, the ability to participate in democracy is linked to needs. Sometimes the movement is too positioned towards direct action – in that way it’s not accessible to people in poverty.  With the Wal-Mart groups, we have done a lot of appreciation and positive feedback as a community – for some people, it was the first time someone had ever considered them a leader.

I think that some people feel like they don’t have a voice. The first practice of democracy is the encouragement in a circle, a network, a community that everyone has a voice, and making sure that people are told that they are valuable over and over again until they can see that for themselves.

 

You’ve talked about the very human importance of love in your work. How do you bring love into organizing and movement building?

Within any social movement, there will be the people who post on Facebook, the people who cook for everyone, the people who do daycare – it’s about naming the differences and valuing everyone at an equal level.

Within organisations, people reaching out over blocks brings people closer together. In real movements, work life and family life become one. But people get afraid that if they bring their whole selves, it will get in the way of getting ‘the goal’ or the ‘real work’ done. We need a balance between community and goals.

Too much community without goals is what you had sometimes at Occupy. Too much focus on goals and leadership without community characterizes the non-profit industrial complex, which really doesn’t get much done. The right balance is defined differently by every village, and every movement.

Can you speak to the connection between internal self-care or looking after yourself and external work looking after others?

Organising is relationship-building, and relationship-building is based in our ability to put aside our fear and love more deeply. And that’s not easy.

There will always be relationship breakdowns, so it’s a good skill to have to be the bridge rather than part of the breakdown. Working on yourself will make you a better relationship builder.

We’re on cusp of big world change, which I am feeling physically. I’ve been deepening my practice, doing more yoga and meditation.

People in the meditation and yoga fields who are afraid to take action, they need to break through and get over that. And for people who are live in action, saying they don’t have time to do deep work, they need to get over that too.

For me personally, learning to look after myself was a means of protection while growing up in challenging situations. You learn not to be afraid to sit with people who are in pain, to just be with them. I try to see the best in people, and be the voice who sees love, both intra- and inter-organisationally.

A question to ask yourself is: “Are we bonding over everything that’s broken and everyone who is messed up, or are we trying to move forward in broken systems?”

 

What is your advice for people who want to help make positive change but don’t know where to start?

Don’t think that a small team of people can’t do anything. Take one thing, figure out what is really your calling, and do that thing well in a sustained manner. There is going to be a moment in the global movement – be enough in touch with your inner voice to recognize that moment and stand up. I think everyone is called differently on that.

The most important thing is to just begin something. There is greatness in beginning a practice, and seeing where that leads. Be ready to act. The wave is here. If people move with it, it is rising and it will break. Some people are like, “Oh I don’t know, I don’t have time….” A group of seven mums with three hours a week can do something!

How do you deal with uncertainty or doubt when you’re getting tired out, and feel like it’s all too massive?

Take a break. After 27 years, I believe in my body. I want to know where something lands in my body. There’s this idea that we have to sacrifice everything for every moment, and I think you have to be really careful and listen to your body on that.

I know now where my boundary is on financial stability. If I can’t believe in sustainability for myself, what about others who are under even more financial strain? Who am I locking out because it’s not sustainable?

You definitely don’t want to be in that position where everyone’s exhausted. You should be looking at how you rest more and how are you going to take care of yourselves. When it comes down to it, try not to be too attached to the outcome. Don’t set yourself up to think that you’ve failed if you don’t get the outcome you are after.

Sometimes there are iterations. Was Occupy a success? It was an iteration of something that’s going to be enormously successful.

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Crowdfunding Update: Week Four

After an amazing week, the $100K target is now well within reach! We’re blown away by our team of more than 850 people supporting us to make this project happen!

A tool for activists AND a tool for managers

At the same time as Loomio was being lauded as a winner of the MIX Prize Digital Freedom Challenge, an international management innovation award, we were being featured on RT America as “a fantastic new app for protesters”.

 

“The beauty of Loomio is that it transcends the tradeoff between efficiency and engagement. And, unlike most conflict-based, majority-rules approaches to group decision-making, it gives a truly diverse mix of perspectives and voices a meaningful role in the conversation, builds a deeply shared understanding of the issue at hand, and generally leads to higher-quality outcomes.” – Polly LaBarre, editor of the MIX Prize and co-founder of Fast Company Magazine

Another $5000 donor!

Law For Change – a growing young organisation of New Zealand law students & graduates dedicated to harnessing legal skills to serve the public interest – has become the second group pledged for a major $5000 Kickstart Collaboration from Loomio, courtesy of a grant from a benefactor in the Dunedin tech community. Law For Change will be using their customised Loomio community to support great decision-making and coordination.

The translation party continues

Thanks to the ongoing work of our wonderful community volunteers, Loomio has now been released in Swedish!

Loomio in Swedish

That brings us up to 20 languages – if you want to get involved in translating Loomio, get in touch with Mix: [email protected]

Interview on Redecentralize.org

redecentralize logo
Redecentralize is a new initiative to support projects that are working to make the Web a safer, freer space.

They interviewed Loomio co-founder Richard D. Bartlett this week, in a fascinating conversation that bounces from decentralised decision-making, to the challenge of online privacy, to the importance of user-centred design in the free software community.

Loomio in the Media

Dutiee, the premiere blog on social startups, featured Loomio this week: “you know a product is truly desired when thousands of people flock to use it even before its launched.”

Open Democracy, based in the UK, published an in-depth review of how Loomio supports “democracy as a skill we can practice with people wherever we are.”

NZ Entrepreneurs shows their support for Kiwi innovation and the Loomio vision: “Software like Loomio is putting the New Zealand tech scene on the map. Even if you don’t think you will use Loomio 1.0, donating is worth it.”

The home stretch

We’ve got one more week to go and we are so close! If everyone who has supported this project can reach out and find one more person to contribute, we’ll blow this target out of the water.

Graph of contributions to date
If you have a minute, send a few people a quick message and ask them to pitch in at: http://love.loomio.org

❤ Thanks so much, and keep sharing the love! ❤

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Decentralised Decision-Making for Decentralised Currencies

bitcoin network

By now you’ve probably heard of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is a decentralised currency created by computers. To ‘mine’ bitcoin a computer  solves a mathematical problem that is hard to solve but easy to confirm. If you think about it this is sort of  like regular paper currency -its hard to forge banknotes, but its easy to recognise them.

The cryptocurrency community have been growing rapidly and depending on who you listen to cryptocurrencies are poised to either simply replace Paypal and Western Union by providing a simpler, cheaper way of transferring money, or collapse of the dominant financial institutions into a smoking, crumbling heap. Hmmm, probably somewhere in between :).

While cryptocurrencies aren’t perfect, they do allow people to participate in issuing their own currency and decide the rules that govern them. This is very similar to the motivations behind Loomio but for finances instead of decision-making.

Loomio is used by Bitcoin groups

Given that crypto groups are often spread out geographically and have similar ethos its not surprising that a number of them have started Loomio groups:

Redstar Mining is a publicly traded bitcoin mining cooperative that doesn’t have a physical meeting space. Loomio enables members to make business decisions in a private virtual space.

Let’s Talk Bitcoin’ is an online crytpocurrency community  who have started using Loomio to put  together a magazine ‘The Altcoin Observer.

Ethereum is another really interesting crytpo group that we’re in contact with. They’re starting a more generally applicable ‘crypto-platform’ that can be used for all kinds of applications -insurance, cooperative shareholding, secure identification etc.

Loomio accepts bitcoin and dogecoin

We’re really interested in furthering our relationship with the crypto community. Our first step has been getting bitcoin and dogecoin wallets set up, and then allowing bitcoin donations through our crowdfunding page.

Down the line, there are areas beyond simple online transactions where the crypto community can help.  For example, our long-term plan is to allow people to use loomio without a centralised database -users would have the option of being responsible for their own data and host it where the individual could have complete control over it. This functionality is currently only available at a group-level for groups who set up their own loomio installation. Its possible that a decentralised architecture could be built on top of crytpo network like what Ethereum plans to offer. In addition, we’d like to explore other features like crytpographically secure anonymization and identification, issuing cooperative shares etc. There are all kinds of possibilities. Our friends AgoraVoting have made some great strides here and I recommend checking out this article at Bitcoin Magazine to get a low-down of the possibilities of integrating online voting with crypto-technologies.

If you have any ‘crytpo-expertise’ or belong to an online cryptocurrency community please get in touch or start a group on loomio!

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Jacqui Graham: Meaningful Engagement in a Large Organisation

Jacqui GrahamJacqui Graham is a social entrepreneur who believes in using her skills for social good. Driven to improve the lives of New Zealanders who experience mental illness, Jacqui founded and serves as joint chief executive of the Wise Group, one of the largest non-government providers of community-based mental health and wellness services in New Zealand. The organisation employs over one thousand staff and is regarded as one of the most sophisticated and innovative NGO service providers. Jacqui sat down with us to discuss the importance of staff engagement and why she decided to use Loomio.

We were looking not so much for a product, but a process that would allow an organisation of our size to talk to each other in a meaningful way.

For Jacqui, the evidence that Loomio really worked was when the results of a staff engagement survey asking “do you feel involved in the decision-making of the organisation?” showed 96% positive results in the leadership team initially trailing use of Loomio – higher than any other team in the organisation. Wise Group is now rolling out Loomio to other teams and expects similar results.

Apps can help your processes and systems, but if you have something that fundamentally changes the satisfaction levels and engagement levels of staff, that seems to be magical and naturally supports the evolution of the organisation, something that’s actually being generated by the people themselves, what more can you ask for as a chief executive?

 

Wise Group

The Wise Group has a major goal to involve those they support in decision-making, who often have mental illness. Jacqui sees Loomio as a platform for inclusion, especially of vulnerable people. A number of Wise Group staff also have experienced mental illness, and engaging them in a safe, supportive way is critical.

There was a lot of excitement when a certain staff member first posted on Loomio, someone who would have been timid about sharing and had never done something like that before. She was putting her ideas out there. Loomio is easy to use, but it’s also safe and respectful. Vulnerable people aren’t going to get shot down. To roll Loomio out to our client group would be wonderful because it’s a group who are rarely consulted about anything in their lives and have a lot done to them. It’s so liberating for our staff and our organisation, and I have no doubt it will change the way our client group can participate in their own wellbeing.

Jacqui also has a call to action for more dialogue and collaboration throughout society:

If the government were to pick Loomio up and enter into dialogue with the NGO sector and the people, it would be liberating for the whole country. They are sometimes are afraid of not being able to control what they hear, or it’s too risky, but my experience has been that people enter into really strong, healthy dialogue, and just try to make the world a better place, whatever their part of the world is.

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Crowdfunding Update: Week Three

Sunday was the official mid-point of our crowdfunding campaign. Amazingly enough, on that exact day we made it to a major milestone, 50% of our $100k target!

The middle has got to be the trickiest place to be in a campaign – halfway between the energy at the beginning and the urgency of the deadline at the end.

To celebrate reaching the halfway point of our campaign, the Loomio team made this fun 45 second video. If every pledger can find one more person to back the project, we are golden. Like a banana.

 

Inspiring disruptors

Amanda-PalmerWhat do musician and crowdfunding queen Amanda Palmer and online communities expert Nancy White have in common? They are Inspiring Disruptors! We’ve launched our interview series featuring people doing awesome stuff with technology, democracy, and collaboration. Many more coming soon!

 

21st Century Democracy

Loomio Co-founder Jon Lemmon took some time away from design to write this visionary blog: The Internet is Here. Why Are We Still Making Decisions Like Its The 1700s

 

Feature update

New Explore page showing groups using Loomio
The software development team unveiled the Explore page, a great new feature that lets you see what other kinds of groups are using Loomio. Find out more about what they’ve been up to.

 

Are you part of an organisation that wants to use Loomio for collaboration at work?

As part of the crowdfunding campaign we’re offering an opportunity for organisations to get a customized version of Loomio, plus expertise from an expert Loomio facilitator to get you up and running. Two innovative organizations have already taken up the offer.

Find out more about how we can help you get expert at online collaboration.

 

New demo video

People were asking for a simple, engaging explanation of how the Loomio process works. You asked, we delivered!

 

Halfway there, halfway to go!

Thanks so much to the 700+ people that have gotten us this far!

❤ Keep sharing the love: ❤

http://love.loomio.org

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Inspiring Disruptors

people doing awesome stuff with technology, democracy, and collaboration

Inspiring Disruptors are at the vanguard, maximising both autonomy and collaboration. They skillfully bring out the best of technology and the best of people, forging ahead into a new kind of society. We’re following in their footsteps, building tools for a new way of organising, communicating, and cooperating.

 


 

nancy whiteNancy White shares her 25 years of experience as an expert on online communities, talking to us about technology, leadership, diversity and the evolution of how we communicate online.

 

Amanda-PalmerAmanda Palmer: musician and crowdfunding queen. We talked to Amanda about her decision to embrace the gift economy, the art of asking, and what it’s like to live in public.

 

Jacqui GrahamJacqui Graham, social entrepreneur and founder and chief executive of the Wise Group – one of the most sophisticated and innovative NGO service providers – on meaningful engagement in a large organisation.

 

Marianne Manilov, grassroots organizer, writer, media strategist, and founder of the Engage Network, on Occupy, democracy, love, movement building, and self-care.

 

Binding Chaos - book by Heather MarshHeather Marsh: activist, programmer, political theorist on new models for 21st Century governance, autonomous movements around the globe, and knowledge as a commons.

 

Marama DavidsonMarama Davidson, activist and social media maven, talks social media, social justice, and the future of politics.

 

Polly LaBarre, cofounder of the Management Innovation Exchange (MiX), on collaboration, democracy, technology, and the need for a new paradigm based on trust and freedom.

 


Stay tuned – we’ll be adding to this list of incredible people over time!

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Interviewing Amanda Palmer on the gift economy

Rich portrait cropped Richard D. Bartlett is one of the co-founders of Loomio. He’s also an open-source hardware enthusiast, electronic noise gadget inventor, educator and activist.

Amanda Palmer is a musician who has built a hugely successful career based on the gift economy. When you go to her webstore, you see that paying for her music is voluntary: if you’re broke – take it. if you love it, come back and kick in later when you have the money.

When Amanda came to New Zealand last year, there was a chain of events that I found pretty amazing, but were seemingly pretty typical in her extraordinary life. She had connected with a local person here in Wellington (through the internet, surprise surprise) who offered to help her put on a show. Before she even landed, there was hype through the whole city (spread, of course, through social media and word of mouth). By the time she got here, there were enough excited people that she got off the plane and led a jubilant ‘ninja parade’ through the streets. After being contacted by someone I didn’t know, I volunteered to help organise the show, and with 48 hours notice Amanda performed to a packed crowd of 150 people in my friends’ living room.

AFP Garrett_12

video & photo credit: Mark Russell @ Adventure Artists

Amanda’s attitude towards the sharing economy has deeply informed our thinking about how we resource the Loomio project. So this year, I reached back out to her, as artfully as I could, to ask if she could help us by sharing her thoughts about sharing.

 


 

You’ve proved that the gift economy can work. How did you develop the courage to trust your crowd so deeply? Was it a gradual awakening or was there a moment when you took the plunge?

I don’t think it’s ever an OMG-lightbulb moment, any more than I truly believe in a single flash moment of falling in real true love. Real love and trust always takes time and gradual getting-it-ness.

I’m currently working on a book trying to explain why all of this all just seemed obvious to me, but a lot of it had to do with coming from an arts community where everybody shares resources and energy without thinking twice, and a lot of it had to do with being a street performer and a touring punk crowd-surfer….really feeling the deep sense of “knowing” that the crowd would consistently be there, even if the individuals were changing.

 

In your TED talk, you describe how the act of asking creates a moment of connection from one human to another, which in turn means that people want to support you. That makes sense when you can connect face-to-face with someone, but how do create that sense of connection with a massive crowd? How do you extend it across time and space?

I’ve done it with blogging and twitter. It’s about taking the time and consideration to actually talk to people one-on-one, bit by bit. Contrary to conventional wisdom… I actually read the comments.

And I talk, argue, and hang out with the people of the internet instead of just stating my case, shouting into my megaphone and scampering off, the way a lot of other marketers (or musicians) do. It’s a lifestyle choice, it means actually sharing my social and real self with the online crowd, but that comes really naturally to me, I love it. It’s like constantly being in a bar full of crazy people, and that sort of thing really turns me on. It also opens me up to a lot of negativity and noise and psychic violence, and that’s just part of the deal. You have to absorb it all, or it doesn’t work.

 

The transition from “make people pay” to “let them pay” indicates a profound shift in the economic relationship between producer and consumer. Does this only work for music and software? Or do you think we could run the world on a gift economy?

I’m not that crazy. I think, in essence, once you aren’t dealing person-to-person, you’re going to have to start using symbols, and 8 billion people all magically trusting each other doesn’t sound very realistic, does it? But within communities, and between businesses and audiences and artists – absolutely.

I think the more important immediate shift in thinking is about how we can support and talk to each other without the middlemen we’ve all just taken for granted for years.

That’s where the asking, giving and receiving without awkwardness and fear could really change things, right now, because so much of it is just uncomfortableness. so many artists just won’t ask. And so many people have such a hard time talking about money – and understanding that art is a concrete thing that costs money to make. But it must be made, by someone, somewhere, or we’ll have no art.

 

You release your work under a Creative Commons license, which encourages sharing and remixing. We’ve done the same with our software (Loomio is under AGPL). What impact has this had on your work? Has it lead to any really great remixes or new collaborations?

It hasn’t much, but I’m not an electronic artist… my songs don’t beg for remixes. They kind of yell at them to leave the room: there’s only so much you can “do” with an off-tempo solo piano/ukulele and voice track, which is the sort of thing I’ve done lately – and I’ve yet to upload much stuff in its component parts. That being said: I give a lot of my music to smaller art-makers, film people, etc for free, because I’d always rather things be free than locked down. Functioning with that attitude always leads to something. It’s just not always direct. Some of the artists I know and have become friends with follow a thread you can trace seven steps back to one fan tweeting another fan of some free content. It’s all impossibly beautifully networked together.

AFP Kickstarter campaign

 

In 2012 you ran an incredibly successful crowdfunding campaign, which allowed you to release and tour a new album without the support of a record label, but also opened you up to intense scrutiny from all corners of the web. On balance, was the experience more liberating or demoralising? Is crowdfunding the democratic leveller we all want it to be, or a just a hyperactive new strain of capitalism?

Liberating, always. There’s no other way to function.

You can’t go out and share your life, work and soul, trying to figure shit out as you go along in a giant, slapdash-organized drunken love parade with all your friends… and not expect the inevitable backlash. But I stand solidly by the things I’ve done, I have no regrets. I mean, I’m a human being. On the days when I log onto the twitter and see “AMANDA PALMER IS A SUPERFICIAL FUCKING FRAUD WITH NO BACKBONE FUCK HER AND HER BULLSHIT TED TALK”, yes, I feel a bit demoralized. But there’s usually enough understanding from the rest of the gallery to make up for it, and I follow the light.

It still baffles me that people see crowdfunding as “begging” and musicians asking for subscription help as “scrounging”. It’s like: what’s the difference between giving money direct to the artist and buying a piece of plastic at Best Buy? Wouldn’t you rather deal directly with the artist, so they see the money? It’s amazing how many intelligent people can’t connect those dots.

 

Finally, what are you working on now, and how can we help?

Aw, thanks. I’m cranking away at this book, which is tentatively titled “the art of asking”, and it’s exploring all these above topics and way more. It’s funny, it started out being a book just about street performing and crowd funding and it’s wound up being much more personal… about my friendships, my marriage, and all sorts of other things that perfectly explain the headspace you have to get yourself into if you’re going to see the cyclical nature of things and release yourself into being a good asker and a good receiver, or a good giver. It’s been a crazy, personal journey for me as well. I never stop learning…everybody and everything always teaches me.

One thing I’ve learned for sure, even though it’s something I’ve been told all my life by my mentors: all beings seek liberation. Even if they don’t know it…they do, they’re like sunflowers aching to the sky. When you start looking at the street and the marketplace and all human beings that way, everything starts to make more sense.

 


 

❤ Loomio is currently practicing the ‘art of asking’ with this ambitious crowdfunding campaign, to develop software that makes it easy for anyone anywhere to participate in decisions that affect them. Find out more at http://love.loomio.org  ❤

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Loomio Code Team Update

As many of you know we’re smack dab in the middle of our huge international crowdfunding campaign and all of our collective effort is going into spreading the word. As a member of the product team, I’ve personally written almost no code in the last month, which tends to make devs very, very angry. But our intrepid coders have managed to squeeze in some updates to the app in the past weeks that we’re pretty dang proud of really. So, we thought we’d update y’all on what we’ve managed to build in a very light sprint.

First off, we’re really pleased to launch Explore Loomio!

In the past, if you wanted to check out how others were using Loomio, you could look at the public groups directory. But we’ve always wanted much more than that. You should be able to quickly and easily explore not just other groups, but the discussions and decisions that they’re making at a glance. It’s something that we’ve wanted for a long time. So one of our senior devs just built the thing over the weekend, with a broken hand to boot.

 

We’ve always wanted a place where people can find groups that they might be interested in joining and where existing groups can find similar groups to collaborate with. Here at Loomio, we’re kinda interested in community (I guess totally obsessed would be a better way to put it), and we see Explore as a place where people can connect and communities can grow. We’ve categorized some public groups together in exciting categories! Interested in open source software, alternative economies, or the arts? Seriously who isn’t into the arts? ☺

This is a tiny fraction of the groups using Loomio, this is just the beginning. In Loomio 1.0 we’re making it really easy for people to start and find public decisions and groups.

Next up on the agenda,

Privacy is so hot right now

We’ve put a decent amount of work into making our privacy options more clear. If we’re going to deliver on the vision where everyone can quickly and easily create and participate in important decisions, we need to make it simple for people to understand. We’ve been asking our community for input into the clearest way to communicate privacy settings and have got some amazing feedback so far. Here are a couple of the most recent mockups:

 

 

Please join the discussion to share your thoughts on these new designs.

This is just the beginning

We’re really excited about all the development coming up in the next few months as we get rolling with Loomio 1.0. We’ll be posting regular updates from the dev team to keep everyone in the loop. Stay tuned!

 

me-crop

Jesse Doud

 

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Crowdfunding Update: Week Two

It’s been an amazing two weeks, with support coming from all corners of the globe. Thanks to the generosity of more than 600 wonderful people, we’re nearly halfway to our goal with 3 weeks to go. It feels like we’ve got a real shot at making this happen, but we’re going to need some help to get there.

map.gif 

Media

We’ve been pretty overwhelmed in the last week, with two amazing authors writing positively about Loomio.

Cory Doctorow wrote a piece for BoingBoing about Loomio in the context of a sci-fi novel he wrote several years ago about people in the future using technology to coordinate without hierarchy.

BoingBoing

Douglas Rushkoff wrote a beautiful article for Shareable, describing why he’s so excited about Loomio and it’s potential to make democratic decision-making accessible.

Shareable

Loomio was featured as the crowdfunding campaign of the week on Crowdsifter.

Elsewhere in the Twitterverse:

Jon Alexander, reporter for the Guardian and the Huffington Post:

 

Brett Scott, Author of The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money

News

Earlier this week Loomio was translated into Taiwanese Mandarin in a matter of hours, by a team of 19 translators who came together in response to calls for online tools for democratic organising in the student-led movement for government transparency in Taiwan.

  Taiwanese Mandarin

Interview series launched, more to come

Last week we launched a series of interviews with thought leaders at the intersection between technology, culture and politics, with a set of videos from Nancy White. Nancy has over 25 years of expertise in online communities, and is the co-author of Digital Habits.

Check out Nancy’s thoughts on leadership in technology, online diversity and the evolution of online communities.

Keep an eye out for the next of our interview series, we’ll be chatting with the Queen of Crowdfunding Amanda Palmer about her thoughts on the gift economy – to be released very soon!

Thanks so much for all your support, and please remember to spread the word to all your friends and family to Love Loomio!

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Our People: Jesse Doud

Jesse Doud is a member of the Loomio Product team and a man of the cloth adorned in glitter and sparkles, hailing from Portland, Oregon. We chat with him about bicycle collectives, how he found his way to Wellington to get involved in Loomio, and why he stayed!

Image

Why did you get involved with Loomio?

I think it’s less that I got involved in Loomio and more that Loomio got involved with me.

I heard about Loomio through bicycle collectives while cycling around the country. I had just finished a contract working for a startup in Adelaide. So I came to New Zealand on a five week bike tour, thinking I would be able to get from Auckland to Invercargill in five weeks. After a week in this beautiful country, two things became clear: that my journey was going to take a lot longer than five weeks, and that I didn’t want to leave leave New Zealand! At every bicycle collective I stopped at, when people asked me what I wanted to do here, my response was always “The Internet”. And without fail, their response was “You should go work for Loomio”. The non-hierarchical decision-making model is the same in Loomio as it is within bicycle collectives, so it seemed a natural fit.

So when I got to Wellington I went into to visit Loomio at Enspiral Space – the co-working space where we are based. I just started showing up every day and volunteering. I had received so much generosity from people on the road who had previously worked on Loomio or knew people that worked there, that I was happy to give back. I just kept showing up and eventually they started paying me.

What’s the best thing about bicycle collectives?

Getting greasy! Aside from that of course, bicycle collectives benefit the community in so many ways. They positively impact public health, reduce carbon emmisions, teach people DIY skills that we’ve lost as a society while increasing self-esteem and creating better connected communities. What got me hooked was seeing someone walk in with a problem, and walking out with a big smile having changed their brake cable themselves or fixed their flat tyre. You see a light bulb go off in their head – “I don’t need to go to the bike shop and pay somebody $50. I can do that.” I have huge respect for anyone that walks in the door, because it can be quite intimidating when you don’t know anyone and you’re asking for help. But you humble yourself a little bit by asking, listening and learning and who knows, maybe you’ll be passing along that gift of knowledge to someone else in a few months time?

What do you do day-to-day?

I’m a web developer at Loomio specializing in front end so my day begins by facilitating an online stand up with the product team on HipChat. We were having physical stand up circles, but the team was growing and some people want to work from home or at the cafe. So we took it online. Everyone checks in with the team – what they worked on yesterday, what they plan to work on today. We raise any blocks that we’re struggling with or that are holding us up. Then we go through the pull request queue on GitHub where all the branches of development are held for the sprint that we’re working on at the time.  The rest of my day is primarily spent building new features, fixing bugs, responding to suggestions from the Loomio community and attending the odd meeting. We follow the Agile process and work in Ruby on Rails, HTML, Java Script , CSS and are moving to an AngularJS framework. I usually work part of my day in the office and part of the day out of the office in a cafe. That’s one of the things I love about coding – you can do it from anywhere.

What inspires you about working in Loomio’s community?

The beautiful thing about the Loomio community is there are all these people with different points of view, but they’re all interested in pushing the dialogue forward. Here in the office, we eat, drink, live and breathe Loomio. The community keeps us focused – they keep the vision front and centre and remind us why we’re doing this and why we choose to be a social enterprise rather than a standard profit-maximising business.

It’s so inspiring to see the great things that people are achieving with Loomio. The internet is the great hope of humanity right now. The internet could be been this place that is locked down and run by corporations, but in most countries it has remained open and people have access to information. The people who built the internet were quite radical and we are still benefiting from that net neutrality and open source ethos. Working in the web, you can see palpable ways to affect your community and the world. The internet has taught me all I needed to know to get here, so I figure if I can make tools that increase accessibility and make it easy for people to participate in the online commons, thats a way of giving back and doing something meaningful. You don’t have to slog away for 25 years and climb some hierarchical ladder to have make something great – you can start right now.

Where do you see yourself and Loomio in five years time?

Five years ago I couldn’t write one line of code, so it’s hard to imagine what’s possible for myself. I graduated with a degree in English in September 2008 and moved to Portland. A week later, the global financial crisis hit. I was unemployed for a year and a half and couldn’t even get a job washing dishes. It got to the point that when I applied for a job at a library, and one of the requirements was to know HTML and CSS, I told them I could code and spent two weeks solid teaching myself. I never heard back about the job, but was hooked on coding.

For Loomio, I’d love to still be here (or maybe at a Loomio branch in Amsterdam!) using Loomio to build Loomio. I hope for a distributed global community of contributors and a recognised place where people can go to make the best decisions. I wake up in the morning, I check my email and then I check Loomio to see what discussions and decisions are going on in the communities I belong to. That’s what I’d love to see – a world where it’s quick and easy for people to influence big decisions, from their bed or the bus ride to work, that would usually be tucked away in some public sector office.

Something happens when you make a conscious choice to include everybody’s opinion in the way you make decisions. You start to hold that ideal closely – it increases your listening skills, your empathy, and leads you in directions you never thought you would go.

 

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Crowdfunding Update: Week One

The first week of Loomio’s crowdfunding campaign has been a stunning success. We are absolutely blown away by the amazing support we’re receiving. In only the first 7 days, we’ve had contributions from over 450 people totalling over $30,000!

World map of Loomio love!

Media

In the past week, Loomio has been featured in media across New Zealand and the world.

Gigaom and CNN logos

Gigaom wrote a really in-depth and favourable review of the software, that was subsequently republished on CNN.

Tech President logo

Our good friends at TechPresident published this article about a massive project in Greece, using Loomio to run an experiment in direct democracy in parallel with regional elections there.

Radio NZ logoKim Hill

Rich and Viv were interviewed by Kim Hill on NZ’s most celebrated radio current affairs program. You can listen to the 15 minute recording here.

We got a shoutout from Idealist Founder Ami Dar, right in the middle of his live broadcast:

And so many more…

Party

Our launch party was a smash hit, with hundreds attending and over $5000 raised for the campaign in a single evening. The support of our friends and all their energy and contributions means the world to us.

Launch Party - Loomio Team with the Mayor

Some of Team Loomio with Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown

Translation

The main crowdfunding video now has subtitles in Catalan, Czech, Dutch, English, French, Greek, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese – all done by our enthusiastic volunteers around the world. The Loomio app is in 18 languages! People are so excited about bringing Loomio to their own communities.

We were contacted by peace activists in the Ukraine, who requested the app in their language. We reached out to the community, and in no time flat Loomio was in Ukrainian! Russian is also in the works, helping Loomio achieve its goal of being a neutral online space for democratic collaboration.

Loomio homepage in Ukrainian

Onward and Upward! What you can do now…

If you haven’t given to the campaign yet, do it! And if you already have: ❤ thank you so much! ❤ If you can find 3 more people to give today, we’ll exceed our target overnight! http://love.loomio.org

Give to Loomio Now

If you missed it last week, here’s the Loomio team moved to sing Te Aroha, a song of love, peace, and solidarity, in gratitude for our amazing first couple of days:


PS: Loomio is in the running for the Knight Foundation News Challenge. Please click “applaud” to show your support for us!

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Loomio in Conversation with Online Community Expert Nancy White

Nancy White brings over 25 years of communications, technology and leadership skills in her work supporting collaboration, learning and communications in the NGO, non profit and business sectors. Loomio is honoured to have her support in our efforts to bring better online collaboration to the world. She’s co-author of the book Digital Habits: stewarding technology for communities.

We sat down with Nancy on Skype and picked her brain about online communities – how they adopt and use technology, best practice for distributed leadership and decision-making, the importance of cultivating relationships and diversity, and where she sees the future of online communities going in the context of her decades of watching them evolve.

See all 4 parts separately below, or if you’d like to see them all together watch this playlist.

Part 1: Technology and Communities

Why Nancy is supporting Loomio, the role of technology stewards, and how communities adopt new technology.

Part 2: Decision-making, Leadership, and Empowerment

How decision-making works in different kinds of online communities, and what needs to happen to support distributed leadership and empowerment.

Part 3: Relationships and Diversity

Building human relationships to support working together online, the importance of age and gender diversity, and the “disproportionate opportunity” women have in this space.

Part 4: The Evolution of Online Communities

The evolution of online communities, and Nancy’s vision for the future.

Nancy’s latest blog series is on Network and Community Governance.

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Making a decision with Loomio 1.0

The process of making a decision that Loomio enables is actually really simple: bring people together to talk things through, share ideas, address any concerns, and determine a clear course of action that works for everyone.

Loomio Beta is great – the core of the decision-making process works really well. But it still has a few barriers which make it hard to use for certain types of groups and decisions. If we really want to spread collaborative decision-making, it has to be the easiest thing in the world.

So for Loomio 1.0, we’ve examined and removed each barrier to entry.

Straight to the action

You can start a decision directly from the homepage and you don’t even need an account. It’s super simple:

Start a decision

Start by saying what is you want to decide about.

Log in using single sign-on (e.g. Google, Facebook, or Persona), or if you don’t want to create an account you can just put in your name and enter an email address to stay up to date.

Bring the right people in

This is the decision page: you can see the topic at the top of the page, and then a list of who’s involved. To start with, you’re the only one there, so you can get everything set up the way you want, and add people in when you’re ready.

Decision page 1

Add participants by clicking “Share” and entering their emails, or copying and pasting the link and send it to them.

You can also add existing Loomio groups to the decision, and everyone in the group will be able to participate.

Discuss the options

Once people have joined the discussion, they can start commenting and suggesting ideas. This is the initial brainstorming part of a decision-making process.

Decision page 2

Click ‘like’ on any idea that sounds good to you.

This is an easy way to get a ‘temperature check’ to see how the group feels about the different options.

You can have a discussion right here on the page, to work out any details. This solves the major problem with online polls and surveys, where you can only select from pre-determined options, and there’s no place to discuss alternatives.

Converge on a solution

Once an idea is looking favourable and you’re ready to make a decision, anyone can start a proposal. This will notify everyone involved and give them the opportunity to have their say.

Decision page 3

Here’s the default set of decision options (we’ll be adding plugins for different styles of decision-making):

agree – I think this sounds good
abstain – I’m happy for the group to decide without me
disagree – I think we can do better
block – I have really serious concerns

This set of four options came directly from our experience of collective decision-making at Occupy. We’ve found this protocol to work well in all kinds of groups. There’s more nuance than a simple yes/no binary, but it’s simple enough to be really easy to grasp.

The decision is made

When the proposal closes, you can set an outcome, so every discussion comes to a really clear conclusion.

Decision page 4

An online home for your group

Once you’ve made a decision with a bunch of people, you can set up a group to keep track of your decisions for the future.

Group page

Setting up a group gives you an online home. All the decisions you’ve made together are kept in a tidy archive, and you can tailor the look and feel to match your group identity. There are no ads, so it actually feels like a nice place to have an online meeting, rather than a shopping mall.

Because it’s built in HTML5, this will work on any web-capable device: laptop, tablet, smartphone, whatever. And it’s open source free software, so the code is there for anyone to improve.

Now let’s build it!

We’re pretty excited about these designs. They’ve developed based on the feedback of thousands of users, and some deep thinking from experts in user experience, group dynamics, and open mobile technology. The designs are sure to evolve as they get built and tested, but we’re confident this is already a huge step up from the prototype, Loomio Beta.

We think that making online decision-making ridiculously simple can transform the way people relate to each other at every level of society, and fundamentally improve the decisions that get made.

Now we just have to build it!

The thing is, we can’t do this without you. If you think this should exist, check out our crowdfunding campaign, throw $25 in the pot, and get early access to Loomio 1.0!

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Our People from Across the Seas: MJ Kaplan

MJ Kaplan is a Loomio Channel Partner based in Providence, RI. She became involved with the co-op in mid-2013 while on a research fellowship in NZ. We chat with MJ about her background and why she became involved in Loomio.

mj_headshot

Why did you get involved with Loomio?

I was researching social enterprise as the Ian Axford Fellow through Fulbright New Zealand. I met members of the Loomio team at Enspiral and was immediately captivated by the motivation for the platform – to engage people affected by decisions in making decisions.  I started work 30 years ago as a community organizer and this principle of participation to create better decisions has always been at the center of my work.  Loomio makes that possibility easier and faster in the digital environment.  I  was super impressed by the team so I was thrilled to transition from research to engagement.  The team is smart, committed and deeply grounded in values and integrity.  I’m honored to work with them.

Can you tell us a bit more about the Boston Facilitator’s Roundtable?

This is a network of facilitators who work in business and community space in the greater Boston area.  We collaborate, support each other by resource sharing and we have a monthly workshop series.  Loomio is pleased to have had the opportunity to lead a workshop late last year to introduce participants to online facilitation and opportunities to expand their tool box of skills as better meet customer needs whether they are internal teams or diverse community efforts.

What do you do day-to-day? Maybe you could tell us a bit about what it means to be a channel partner, and what your experiences of this are…

I returned to the US in the fall after 8 months abroad.  As I reconnect with my community, locally and nationally, I’m introducing them to Loomio and exploring needs that might be met through the use of Loomio. I’m finding such a variation in the users that are excited about Loomio – universities, businesses, networks and, of course, activists. When some of the team came to the US in December, I joined them to meet with thought leaders in Washington, New York and Boston.  Everyone we met with was impressed and think that Loomio has the potential to be a game-changer to make collaborative decision-making easier and better. I think most people want to work through differences to make better decisions and they just struggle with clumsy tools and competition for time and space.  More than anything else, Loomio makes this important work easier.

What inspires you about working in Loomio’s community?

The team’s commitment to learn and grow is very inspiring.  From the earliest stage, they engaged with customers to refine the platform based on users’ needs.  I’m also impressed by their determination and discipline.

Where do you see yourself and Loomio in five years time?

My hope is that Loomio is a household word and tool like email and Facebook.  The more time I spend learning about Loomio the more applications I see for people to get the right group together, quickly flush out their views and quickly move to action.  I think Loomio can help families, businesses and whole communities be more productive and happier in their shared action.

I think most people want to work through differences to make better decisions and they just struggle with clumsy tools and competition for time and space.  More than anything else, Loomio makes this important work easier.

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by | March 15, 2014 · 3:08 pm

Loomio used for large-scale citizen democracy project in Greece

ben Ben Knight

The best thing about building Loomio is hearing how groups are using it in their communities. It was humbling to learn about a cooperative effort between direct democracy groups in Greece, planning an ambitious experiment in citizen democracy across the country, using Loomio as their main platform. The Alliance for Direct Democracy is launching 461 Loomio groups, covering 18 federal departments, 13 regions of Greece, 23 prefectures, and hundreds of counties and municipalities. Their aim is to foster a sense of active citizenship, and cultivate meaningful democratic participation in their country.

Rebecca Chao of Tech President goes into depth about the project’s aims here: http://techpresident.com/news/wegov/24818/loomios-largest-project-yet

Coordinating the effort are Giorgio Mariotti and Chris Taklis.  Chris and Giorgio answered some questions about their plans for the project:

What is the project you’re planning? Who is involved?

It was an inspiration of Giorgio Mariotti. A website (www.ade.gr) that can have links to some basic tools that can achieve better communication and collaborative work as Pads, Mumble, etc and also contain pages for each municipality (also known as county) and prefecture of Greece. In each page it would be a Loomio group (embedded or link, perhaps the first) for the specific Prefecture or Municipality. In that group of X muncipality people can talk about the problems of their City (or Village) how to do it better and take decisions. That decisions could be pressure to the Mayor and City Councillors for changes for better results in that municipalities.

The people who are involved are from the Pirate Party of Hellas in the first step (the technical process) and it is going to be presented in the Coalition for Direct Democracy in Greece (CDD), that we have the same goals and we are a part of the CDD. Then members of the CDD will participate equally in other process, until it is full live to participate each citizen in Greece, if he/she wants it.

from Tarek on flickr

What is your vision for the future of democracy?

Our vision and target is to give the people the opportunity to participate in politics and to be active members of the community. At least for those who are interested. To achieve that, the first step is the citizens of the country may have the opportunity to have citizen’s initiative, and to suggest some subject for petition and of course the petitions. That’s the first step for direct democracy and better results what people want for the country. The other steps will come later if only that 2 things in first step succeeds.

Why do things need to change?

It depends of the country. In Greece we don’t have a real politician that cares about the citizens. All the decisions that take the parliament and the 300 members of it, are only for the good of businessmen and the rich people. They don’t represent any more the people, and in the elections they are the same and the same again, and are elected only those who have big connections with press and businessman.

So it must change for the people. The time that we had representatives for our lives must end for good. We the people must grab the change and decide what is better for ourselves.

Why have you chosen to use Loomio? How it will be used?

We chose Loomio for the features it has. First of all is very simple platform so anyone can use it without problem. Then we like more than ever that anyone can create a new proposal. We also liked that members can say their opinion of what they vote. Also the poll pie with the percentage of how many members of the group voted can help in many ways so everybody knows how much of the percentage were the active voters…We couldn’t miss of course the revisions of the main context in a discussion, which helps a lot and we know which changes have be made any time and by who member. Also we choose Loomio because it is open source, meaning new features and changes will come more sooner than a closed-source platform, and of course the participation of a whole community behind and not only few programmers which usually they can’t understand the needs of the simple people which they don’t know how to use in the proper way the computers and the platforms and they don’t understand it.

We will use it for participation of the people in Greece to political discussions and decisions, and those decisions will be pressure for the Mayors and the City Councillors.

What would the best possible outcome look like?

If the project succeeds, it will be a great victory in every direction. We are talking about hundreds and maybe thousands of people (and even the better possible participation it would be millions of people) in Greece. There will be also victory to those who refuse to accept that there are platforms that will be used for participation of people in politics. Loomio will be known as a tool for local democracy and direct democracy.

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Loomio and Idealist: Technology Supporting Action for Positive Change

Ami Dar, founder of Idealist.org, lends his support to Loomio during the livestream announcement of Idealist’s new platform for changemakers. Loomio and Idealist’s new platform share the same goal: using technology to turn ideas and connection into collective action to better our communities and societies.

Idealist connects people, organizations, and resources to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives.

Here at Loomio, we’re fans! We have had several great volunteers contribute to Loomio after seeing our post on Idealist. It will be very exciting to see what they achieve in this next phase. If you want to connect energy for positive change with ideas, help, and how-to’s, sign up to kick off a team on Idealist in your own community.

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by | March 14, 2014 · 12:43 pm

Loomio Featured on the Effective Decision Maker Podcast

Improving our decision making skills is one of way to improve the world that we live in. Much of the happiness, and a lot of the suffering in our world comes down to the quality of decisions that we make, and the decisions that other people make that affect us.
Kenny Whitelaw-Jones, Managing Director at F1F9 (where he helps clients to make decisions by building better financial modelling tools)

Effective Decision Maker Podcast

The Effective Decision Maker Podcast is on a mission to save the world from making bad decisions. This week, they’ve featured Loomio, alongside Transparent Choice, an app that emphasises identifying the right criteria to use in the decisions you make. Apparently experts often fail to list the most important criteria when asked to identify what’s going into consideration for a decision!

Check out the whole podcast for an in-depth discussion about the challenges and the power of collaborative, group decision-making.

podcast player link

Click to listen!

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Loomio crowdfunding campaign goes live!

Our Crowdfunding campaign for Loomio 1.0 went live today! Help us build a truly inclusive platform that allows anyone, anywhere to participate in the decisions that affect their lives, by supporting our campaign here: love.loomio.org

The funding will help us build a truly inclusive platform. We have a prototype that is working well for some groups, and we have done all the research and design to make it work for all kinds of people:

  • It needs to be mobile, to include people in places where computers and internet are scarce. So we’re building a platform that works on any device, built with best in open mobile technology: Ruby on Rails, AngularJS, HTML5

  • It needs to be easy, to include all kinds of people. So we’ve designed it to be as easy to use as email, so you don’t need to be a computer geek to participate.

  • It needs to be safe, to include people discussing sensitive topics. So we’re making it really easy to set up and run your own independent version, so your privacy is entirely under your own control.

  • It needs to be accessible, to include people of all levels of ability. So we’re making it work great with screen-readers and other assistive technologies.

  • It needs to be open, to include everyone. So we’re building 100% free and open source. We’re building public infrastructure for decision-making, held in the commons.

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