Alicia - Systems to support Cooperatives

Hi all! I am from Peru, but I am currently in the UK doing a conversion master course in Computer Science at Newcastle University. My first degree is in media design. For my final project, I am doing research to come up with a system to support cooperative organisations; however, ain’t clear for me yet what this system could target. So I would like to ask for your opinions on this:

  • Do you believe it’s worth to develop a system only for cooperatives organisations?
    • If yes, could you suggest what for? (e.g to support decision making)
    • If not, could you mention some resources you use for decision making, finances, meetings?

Thank you, best luck for everyone!


Welcome @Alicia!

There is already a co-operative developed decision making system, Loomio, one need that has been recently discussed here is the need for a membership shares system, see this thread:

Perhaps you could have a read through that thread and see if the ideas for a project of this nature might be something that would fit your brief?


Hi Alicia!

Code-Operative is based in Newcastle-Gateshead, if you’d like to experiment with a group of local users? We’d be up for a video call at some point later this week or next?


Buena buena @Alicia :wave:t4:
Here are my thoughts in response to your question:

  • I think a sociocracy-led method of decision making and general communication would be useful. I think sociocracy is brilliant, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll be working in a decentralised workplace. There are lots of other skills and elements that come into play such as non-violent communication and regular ‘difficult’ conversations such as feedback.
  • An example that speaks to my point above is the dominant voice on the online platforms that we use is the white male voice…we could explore intersectional feminist co-operation and what that looks like/how it works
  • Sales skills for co-ops and how to distinguish ourselves from other tech companies. We thought that suppliers would like that we’re a co-op, it turns out a lot of them don’t care, they just want you to deliver the work
  • Advice on keeping your co-op sustainable from a financial perspective
  • How to schedule people on projects! It comes round every couple of months at Outlandish.

I am happy to give more context if any of these sound good.

Saludos :green_heart: I spent a lot of time in Peru y lo echo de menos


@chris Thank you! I haven’t read that entry, I’ll check it now

@KingMob :open_mouth: that’s great John, thank you, of course, I’m up to have a video call, I 'll send you a message.

@Kayleigh thank you so much for your ideas, I loved to read ‘intersectional feminist co-operation’ :slight_smile: I will think more in debt on each one you have mentioned.
Que lindo que hayas visitado Peru y te haya gustado <3



I’d agree this is a widely shared need by many co-ops in the UK.

Here is a relevant recent post from Jim Brown on the Community Shares list in response to someone asking about digital share certificates (emphasis added):

Strictly speaking, societies should offer members share accounts rather than share certificates. Share certificates are a product of company law where each share carries one vote and shares can be transferred between third parties without reference to the company itself, so the certificate is proof of ownership, and more importantly, evidence of a members’ voting rights; you cannot have fractions of a share. In society law there is no provision for voting rights to be attached to shares, and if these shares are withdrawable and not transferable (ie community shares), then it is more functional to issue members with a share account, with annual statements of the amount of capital held in that account.

Of course, some societies do issue share certificates, and some members of the public with prior experience of owning shares in companies, might expect to receive a share certificate when they invest in community shares. This is reinforced by the rules and share offer documents of some societies that refer to share capital as though it was composed of individual shares. But this practice can lead to unnecessary administrative complications in managing share capital, for instance in the payment versus crediting of share interest, especially when dealing with fractional amounts. With a share account, share interest is credited to a members’ account, which can then be withdrawn by a member, subject to the rules and policies governing withdrawal. Members can be issued with an annual statement of their share account (paper or electronic) which can contain fractional amounts.

The Community Shares Unit and Co-operatives UK have been receiving a growing number of enquiries from established societies about the practicalities of managing share capital in societies, including interest payments, withdrawals and the maintenance of share registers. Currently, the Community Shares Handbook provides no guidance in this area - would it be helpful if a new chapter on "Managing Share Capital were to be written? This could provide some clarity on the different approaches taken by societies, and deal with more complex matters such as societies that have issued successive rounds of share capital with distinct terms and conditions attached to each round

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Webarchitects could do with a share certificate system like this, at the moment we simply have a spreadsheet and @jonathan sends new share holders an email about their share ownership, but this is far from ideal.

We would be happy to provide git, development, testing, demo and project hosting for a CiviCRM / Drupal / WordPress based solution for this problem (we did look at customising ERPNext for this task and other jobs, tickets, invoices, a customer control panel etc but didn’t have the internal resources to set it up).


I think there is room for new tools, or improvements to existing tools in this space.

A few more such tools that jump to mind (none of which I’ve actually used…)

Solidbase a budget visualization tool with interesting interoperation potential. Uses solid and valueflows.

Co-budget a collaborative budgeting tool, from Enspiral (same group that made Loomio)

Meetniq meeting tool which also emails task reminders doesn’t appear to be open.source, but looked quite nice

Scrum Chatter tool for visualising how much space each participant takes in a meeting (I have actually used this and found it enlightening)


Thank you @dazinism ! I couldn’t open Solidbase, I found Co-budget and Scrum Chatter the most interesting ones.
Do you know if there is a spreadsheet/document that gathers all these potentially useful apps for cooperatives?

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We created this wiki page a couple of years ago, it could do with updating…


Great! thank you Chris, yes I believe it worths to keep that page updated :ok_hand: because lots of good hints, inputs, ideas get lost in the conversation threads.


Just came across this via today’s Shareable mailshot. :smiley:

Course runs at the end of May.


That looks great Billy, thanks for the info :slight_smile:

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Hi @Alicia!

Do you have any updates on your project so far?


Hi Alicia,

I’ve been working on something similar. I think it would be worth looking to the area of computer-assisted participatory economic planning.

Some tasks that might be useful, some of these things I already made a design sketch for them and some I already started developing a prototype (happy to share what I have so far and explore synergies):

1- An open-innovation platform that allow consumer-members, beneficiaries or clients to express their current problems or insatisfactions with current services or products to then facilitate dynamics where workers can propose different creative solutions to those problems without the intermediary entrepreneur directly jumping into assuming what others wanted. Features where end users and workers can vote preferred projects (assisted by operation research algorithms that display data on feasibility and viability of each project), where also end users can crowdfund via pre-sales the piloting of those ideas by those who are really interested that their problem is solved.
2- A data commons platform where different coops from same industry share industrial data (ex.: sales) to make predictions and collectively make joint-investment decisions based on that data. (Demand forecasting algorithms, etc.)
3- A platform for social (Ex.: cooperative social balance sheet) and environmental accounting (ex ISO 1400) in cooperatives.
4- An open-source ISO site alternative where coops worldwide share their industrial or organisational proccesess that worked for them so far.
5- A patent-left patent site where coops worldwide openly share their papers so we ensure that a innovation that a worker peer made is instantly transferred to the maximum amount possible of cooperative enterprises at the minimum cost possible.

For cybernetic participatory planning, I would recommend you to explore the cyber-socialist project “Cybersyn” in Allende’s presidency, laterly destroyed by right-wing militar dictatorship of Pinochet. The module “Cyberfolk” was specifically oriented on worker participation.


Here I can share the NodeJS implementation of the TOPSIS algorithm I made:

It is an algorithm used for multi-criteria decision making. (Ex: Selecting what phone to buy among different ones with different competing features, selecting a project to invest in based on different criteria, etc). I can imagine that with a UI can be used for collective decision-making support.

Here is one for the AHP algorithm which is used to systematically rank preferences on different criteria.

Just to mention another similar tool which is open source and looks awesome (although I haven’t actually used it yet): 4minitz

(I read about it here )

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