A proposal for a Global Co-operative IT Network from the ICA

Following is a PDF, generated from a pptx file, of a presentation from Gretchen Hacquard which was originally posted to the private ICA Discourse server at patio.ica.coop, which we have permission to share:

IT Network presentation.pdf (2.1 MB)

A plain text version of the content follows to make it more accessible:

Why form a Global Cooperative IT Network?

Gretchen Hacquard, Director of Membership

The recent survey that the ICA Board sent to members highlighted that members are concerned about technology, specifically:

  • How to effectively use technology platforms and social networks.
  • How to train and encourage staff to use technology effectively and keep up with changes in technology.
  • How to harness technology to more efficiently serve their members without losing their personal connection to members.
  • New software and technologies that could be useful for members to better serve their members.
  • How to access affordable software and afford to pay for upgrades to technological infrastructure.


The purpose will be to serve the IT needs of the coop movement.

It will be a forum where ICA members can go to get advice on different IT products, services and service providers and where IT professionals from coops or who serve coops can work together, learn from each other and recommend products and services to help members.

The IT Network will not be a place to discuss the different political aspects of platform coops. It is a practical network.


  • Intercooperation between IT teams in member organisations, IT coops and IT service providers for coops.
  • Advice on different IT products, services, and service providers to recommend to the co-operative movement. Products recommended would include a required discount to ICA members. All products should be open source.
  • Discuss the various challenges that members have with regards to IT, and creative ways to solve those problems.
  • Write articles for members providing advice for members on the various questions that they have.
  • Promote the services of domains.coop and the coop marque.
  • Create a strategy to help cooperatives improve technology.
  • Enhance and promote co-operative to co-operative trade and networking.
  • Provide IT solutions and technology training to ICA members.

Members of the IT Network

  • ICA staff from the various ICA structures
  • ICA members who would like to support the IT efforts of other members and/or need help and advice.
  • Domains.coop.
  • Co-ops in the IT sector.

How could the IT Network solve problems together?

The Network will receive requests from ICA members and then have a meeting to discuss the issue and distribute the work in terms of region, costs, expertise, programming languages, etc. to either recommend already-existing products or develop a new product.

The final output will be reviewed by the IT Network to make the final changes, if required, and deliver the output.


Possible Products

  1. Co-op search engine
  2. Co-op social media platform
  3. Open database
  4. Tools to increase website traffic
  5. Database Development
  6. IT Support/Consulting/Training
  7. Mobile App development
  8. Software Development
  9. Web Design
  10. Web Development
  11. Server/router hosting

Next Steps

  1. Write to members and IT service providers in our network to see who might be interested in joining at the first stages.
  2. Hold a first online meeting to improve the proposal for the IT Network.
  3. Create a an online forum where interested stakeholders can discuss the proposed IT network, begin answering questions members have during the test period between now and February, and begin networking together. https://patio.ica.coop/
  4. Based on the experience and feedback, present the proposal to form the network to the ICA Board at their meeting in March 2019.
    1. Trainee or intern to help moderate and manage the forum
    2. Discuss how to ensure diversity (geographic) and ensure no other co-ops undercut others.
  5. Organise the following during the next ICA General Assembly and Conference on Development in September or October 2019:
    1. A meeting of the IT Network.
    2. A coop-a-thon where members present problems and then global teams work together for 24 hours to present ideas to solve them. Get sponsors to fund the production of the winning idea(s).


  • Gretchen Hacquard from the ICA will be the coordinator for the IT Network, and will coordinate the work amongst the regions and sectors.
  • Leandro Monk from FACTTIC in Argentina will set up and host the forum on their server.

Brilliant stuff! Here’s my earlier post about an existing coop forum. Could we use and develop that instead?

I’d suggest joining patio.ica.coop and suggesting this there — there is nobody on this forum in a position in the ICA to make decisions of this nature as far as I’m aware.


The ICA Discourse forum is now public:

We should, as a minimum, cross post relevant things there.


Did you request for it to be made public? Either way, good to know.


Oh yes!

I guess the fact that it took six months from the proposal until it was opened reflects the slow moving nature of global alliances like the ICA…

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I think it was @chris first post in the forum :blush:
thanks for that!

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