Hi folks, it’s Rich here, one of the Loomio co-founders. You haven’t heard from me for a while so I want to give you an update on what’s been happening this year. There’s been some incredible progress on the software, and I have a few stories to share after 9 months on the road too. Continue reading “Celebrating 2017 with new stories and features from Loomio”
Loomio has been collaborating with academic researchers Shiv Ganesh at Massey University in New Zealand and Cynthia Stohl at the University of California, to do the first large-scale survey of Loomio users. The survey is still open, but we are already getting some really fascinating information on who we are as Loomio users, how we use Loomio, and what we use it for.
We know, for instance, that we are more age diverse than we previously thought. While a third of our users are young (i.e., below 40 years old), nearly a quarter of us are 60 and above. Pew research has shown that messaging and decision-making apps are not popular amongst senior groups, so it is fantastic to see how well we are doing with senior demographics. We have also confirmed, as we suspected, that we are an (over)educated bunch of people; a full 75% of us have undergraduate degrees, and 40% of us have postgraduate degrees!
We also now know that Loomio is an important part of our decision-making media matrix. Over a third of us have reported that 50% or more of our group interaction takes place on Loomio, and about half of us report that Loomio is very important or absolutely essential compared to other digital platforms we use for group interaction.
The top three tools other than Loomio that we use to communicate are Email, Facebook and Texts or iMessages, with Whatsapp, Twitter, Skype, Telegram and Slack also being important complements.
Finally, we are beginning to get a detailed sense of what we use Loomio for. We asked you to tell us what sorts of issues your work connected with, and over 37% of all users so far have identified democracy and justice as central issues. Other critical issues for us include environmental issues, human rights, economic inequality, feminist and gender issues, sustainability, technology, and labour.
Over the next few months we expect to produce more fine-grained pictures of how we use Loomio and for what purposes, the organizing archetypes that drive this use, and how we feel about Loomio and its effectiveness.
Rich and Nati from Loomio are coming from New Zealand to join US-based team member MJ for a workshop tour across the States. We’re keen to meet with organisers who are interested in working non-hierarchically: whether they’re in cooperatives, startups, communities, collectives, NGOs or corporations.
We’ve been engaged in the craft of non-hierarchical organising for more than five years, starting with Occupy in 2011, co-founding Loomio (a worker coop building software for collective decision-making) and Enspiral (a network of dozens of social enterprise startups and tech-for-good projects). We’re woven into a global community of folks pioneering new ways of working, from ‘agile’, ‘holacratic’ and ‘teal’ organizations, to diffuse activist networks in Hungary, Spain, and Taiwan.
We’re working with local partners across the country to host workshops to share the challenges and delights of non-hierarchical, inclusive, intersectional, collaborative, horizontal organising. If you want to work with us to host a workshop, you can find out more here.
We’ll update this post as we finalise the schedule. Here’s what we currently have booked:
- April 4th, 5:30pm. Public talk in Providence, RI: Crazy Times Demand Solutions that Work
- April 6th-10th: working with community organisers in Indianapolis.
- April 8th, 11am: Workshop in Indianapolis
- April 14th, 5pm: Moving Platform Cooperativism from Theory to Practice at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
- April 18th, 6pm: “Who Knows?”, non-hierarchical organising discussion in NYC with ThoughtWorks and Progressive Coders Network
- April 20th, 10am: Flat Structure Organizing for Cooperatives and Other Workplaces – Workshop in NYC
- April 21st, 9am: Loomio and Enspiral Workshop in NYC
- April 26th, 6pm: Participatory Organizing: From Co-op to Network to Mass Movement in Washington, DC
- May 3rd: head to the West Coast for a co-hosted event with Democracy at Work in LA: Tools and culture for participatory organizing
- May 9th: 3:30pm talk at UCSB in Santa Barbara: I Want My Techno Utopia Back!
- May 10th: 3:30pm workshop at UCSB: Organising Without Bosses
- May 19th: Workshop at Impact Hub Oakland: Tools & Culture for Participatory Organizing
- May 20th: 10am we’ll be at The Rootcamp event hosting our workshop.
- May 23rd: 5:30pm will be hosting our workshop in Portland, Oregon.
- May 25th: 4pm Workshop in Eugene, Oregon
- May 27th to 30th: New Orleans 💃🏽
- June 3rd: 10am Tools and Culture for Creating Participatory Networks: An Experiential Workshop in Asheville, North Carolina
- Back to NYC on June 5th, flying out to Barcelona on June 8th.
If you want to support this mission, there are a couple ways to help:
- Introduce us to organisers who would really benefit from spending a few hours exploring more sustainable ways of working inclusively. We’re keen to meet with anyone interested in working non-hierarchically: whether they’re in cooperatives, startups, communities, collectives, NGOs or corporations, we will be doing a camping event as well, we already got all we need from the Survival Cooking site.
- Spread the word about the workshops!
- Donate to help us keep moving.
We’ll be blogging to share what we’re learning. Here are the most recent posts from the road:
Warm greetings from the beautiful South Pacific summer! Before we wind down for the holidays I wanted to reach out with a final message for the year.
2016 has been an extraordinarily turbulent year. The earthquake that brought down office buildings in Wellington seems to be the perfect metaphor for the political shakes in Europe, the US, and Middle East that have gripped the world. Checking in with my friends and colleagues overseas, I hear a lot of grief, uncertainty, and fear: progressive people have the sense that something important is slipping away.
Big stories like Brexit, the US election, and the Syrian civil war take up so much space, they can drown out the sound of the many reasons to be hopeful in 2017. The people that are growing “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible” tend to be quiet: they’d rather spend their time tending their local initiatives, rather than drawing attention to themselves.
One of the most energising things about working on Loomio is that I get to connect with inspirational people working on incredible projects nearly every day. So as we close out 2016, I wanted to share a couple of reasons to be hopeful in 2017:
Statistics New Zealand (Tatauranga Aotearoa) is a government department gathering statistics on a wide range of subjects.
They used Loomio to engage citizens in refining the questions for the 2018 Census.
We talked with Susan Riddle, Sophie Davies, and Tom MacDiarmid to find out about the challenges and successes of using Loomio:
“Loomio was for us a new tool: untested waters. Just having a widely-available public discussion was new for us!
It allowed us to expand on what would typically be the local town hall meeting, and reach many more people. We reached people that otherwise wouldn’t have contributed to the conversation, including marginalised populations and youth.”
— Tom MacDiarmid, Statistics New Zealand
Need to engage a wider group of people in your consultation project?
Loomio is easy to use and accessible, enabling you to engage with people in a facilitated conversation. Data and analytics reports provide a record of the engagement.
Loomio has a network of experienced consultants and facilitators who can help you set up your group, and train & coach your team in online facilitation.
Platform cooperativism is the radical idea that the internet would do more good if its major properties were democratically owned and governed.
The Platform Cooperativism conference is coming up this month in NYC: the second major gathering of this emerging new movement attempting to reboot the internet as if workers rights mattered. In preparation for the event, Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider (the movement’s two daddies) have launched a new collection of essays on the topic: Ours To Hack and To Own.
“Put it on the blockchain” is no substitute for a critical analysis of power.
We reviewed the book review here…