We had a really interesting discussion today about how to create a sustainable economic engine for the Loomio project to thrive, while still maintaining our collaborative, participatory culture, and not getting distracted from our mission by trying to make Loomio about revenue.
We discussed several of the models that other Enspiral companies work on, such as a zero-dividend shareholder model, where being a shareholder means you have a vote, not that you can take value out of the company, a social enterprise with an intentional company constitution specifying that a portion of all profits goes toward our social aims, but leaves dividends and investments as options.
We have discussed several possibilities for how to sustain Loomio financially while still giving the tool itself away for free and keeping it open source (a must for us). Some ideas are hosting plans for private groups, custom installations, support contracts, training and facilitation around consensus processes, and custom version fo Loomio with special features. Wouldn't it be cool to see a successful business running in Loomio and exemplifying the potential of participatory decision making?
A lot of interesting potential here, but nothing's been decided yet. We're committed to helping Loomio thrive without compromising the values that motivated us to do this work in the first place.