September update from Loomio HQ

Another month has flown by, with some more huge progress in Loomio land:

Software updates

Loomio-Beta-on-mobileMobile Loomio, oh my goodness!

Huge news – Loomio Beta finally works beautifully on your mobile phone! Participate in decisions from anywhere. This first iteration is still a bit rough around the edges, but it is giving us a lot of valuable feedback as we prepare for Loomio 1.0.

That’s a whole lot of decisions

Since we released the ‘participate by email’ feature last month, we’ve seen a huge spike in activity. Last week more than 4,000 votes were cast, and we’re consistently seeing more than 11,000 new comments being added every week.

It’s mind-blowing to imagine all those comments being shared in a productive collaborative context, by all kinds of people in 26 languages.

Next up: making it easier to host your own Loomio instance

We’ve made huge progress in preparation for the upcoming Docker release for people who want to host Loomio on their own servers, and we’re nearly ready to start running the primary loomio.org installation on Docker. This means we’ll be running the same setup as all the other self-hosted Loomio installations, which will make hosting your own Loomio instance much easier. Rob and Mix have put a huge amount of work and colaborating with InMotion Hosting into developing technical documentation to support people who want to run their own instance too.

With all the operational and architectural work out of the way, we are now getting stuck into the front-end work for Loomio 1.0. The front end is the bit that you get to see as a Loomio user, so it’s the most exciting part to make progress on. This new interface is going to be super fast, beautiful, accessible, and designed from the ground up to work great on mobile devices.

Social impact projects

We’ve partnered with some extremely inspiring people and projects over the last few months.

namasteOne exciting social impact project is the accessibility work we’ve been able to undertake thanks to a partnership with the Namaste Foundation. They wrote a lovely blog post about working with us, and the feeling is totally mutual. Their support has been a huge boost to our work to make Loomio accessible to people with visual impairment, and we’re undertaking a full accessibility audit in the next phase, taking an accessibility-first approach to all new designs, as well as testing with the community.

Building on this work, we’ve partnered with Providence Community Library in Rhode Island to apply for Knight Foundation funding to run a pilot with their local community. The focus for the project is using Loomio to involve their whole community in collaboration about the library programs they run, including people with limited mobility and visual impairment who might have difficulty coming to in-person meetings.

We’ve also got the beginnings of a really exciting project with Loomio supporting participatory budgeting in high schools in San Jose, California. Will keep you updated as that develops!

Loomions all over the world

Alanna has just returned from an action-packed and inspiring trip to California as a result of her winning Mix Prize story about Loomio and another Enspiral tool called Cobudget. CoBudget helps groups do collaborative, transparent, strategic decision-making around budgets. The trip included an intensive Design Thinking workshop at SAP, visiting some inspiring and supportive Loomio user groups like the Wikimedia Foundation, the Embassy Network, and the Impact HUB, and speaking at the Participatory Budgeting Conference alongside inspiring changemakers working for direct democracy around the world.

gov summitThe wonderful inspiring folks at g0v.tw have very generously sponsored Rich to come to Taiwan in November! He will be at the g0v Summit, talking about open source tools for self-organising democracy.

Long-term sustainability

As we get closer to completing the massive six-month working bee that the generous support of the crowdfunding campaign enabled, we’re thinking a lot about the long-term sustainability of the project. In the last few months, we’ve been delighted to see lots of new companies, city councils, and other formal organisations using Loomio in their work. Over the next little while we’re going to be providing an easy way for commercial groups to pay a modest subscription for using Loomio.

In the long-run this will mean we can pay the rent while keeping Loomio free and open for all of the noncommercial community groups and social movements using it to do great things in the world. We’re totally committed to figuring this out without resorting to pushing ads on people, or selling user data, or other unfortunate business models that so many online companies use. Obviously this is going to start off as a trickle of income, so in the meantime we’re writing lots and lots of grant applications and talking to lots and lots of social impact foundations who support tech-for-good projects like ours. We’ll keep you posted on how all that goes!

❤ Thanks again for your continued support – this project would be nothing without you ❤

Author: Richard D. Bartlett

Loomio co-founder; open source hardware and software hacker; activist;

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