CoTech Gathering: Governance and Membership hack

Hi folks,

I think I will be leading a hack on governance and membership of CoTech at the upcoming gathering at Space4.

In keeping with the spirit of the event, I’d like to make sure we go into this with some clarity over what we want to achieve and also how best to go about it. This is where you come in and what this thread is for!

I have been trying to think of a sexier of way of saying governance to make it more enticing, but couldn’t and figured that since everyone here is either in a coop or into coops, it is highly likely that we have a number of governance geeks out there (yes @Sion I’m looking at you).

To me the nature of CoTech’s governance (ie how it is structured and operates) and membership (who is eligible and what this means) is tied up with what CoTech is and what we want it to become:

  • a (loose / unincorporated) network of worker co-operatives that sell tech/digital services, coming together to do business and be part of a bigger community, sharing skills and knowledge?
    -the above as a membership organisation with its own central fund, levels of membership subs, ability to do business, put on events/training and more besides
  • something else…

The closest to a mission I could find is on the homepage of the website: “Building a tech industry that’s better for its workers and customers through co-operation, democracy and worker ownership.”

That speaks to me and is easy to understand (what do you think?), so perhaps the question of what is CoTech should be framed by this ie would it help our aims if CoTech was an incorporated body? Or do we just need to make the current arrangement better?

In terms of tangible outputs, last year we drafted and published the CoTech Constitution and had plans to revise the Manifesto.

I have no clear thoughts on how best to approach this at this stage so throwing it out to the hive mind…

Who else wants to work on this? (if no-one, brilliant, I’ll see you in the pub)
What do we want to achieve in the 2 days?
How should we go about this?

Ready, steady, go!


Thanks for setting up this thread @aaron

I certainly think that modelling out the two structures that you’ve mentioned above would be a good exercise for the hack, and then testing for general feeling about which people are leaning towards and which is more sustainable.

Personally I like the mission. Though I know that last year there was a lot of discussion about how to make the site more sales-oriented and customer-facing. I hope that Dama and Louise will be focussing on this a bit during their marketing/comms/branding session and so perhaps this will need some coordination with that team.

@Kayleigh and @Mateus were talking about developing better on-boarding processes too, so worth chatting with them about what the overlaps are here too.


thanks for the reply @polly

Yes, a modelling exercise might be a good process to help us come to something concrete and proposal-worthy.

Cross-posting the latest from the Cobudget thread which you suggest we bring into the Governance Hack.

So in an attempt to suggest some outcomes, how about:

  • Model different options for future of CoTech’s structure, with an aim to make a proposal by end of Day 1

  • Create proposals for practical implementation of structure: CoBudgeting, updating the constitution and manifesto etc

I’m sure there are other things we can accomplish but my brain is a bit fried as it;s my first day back after illness so will ponder some more…

Hi @aaron,

Looking forward to this session and very happy to support to run it, the outcomes you’ve identified look spot on. We surfaced some governance recommendations in some of our work last year, so I’ll have those ready. Additionally I can pull together examples of other models (Enspiral for eg.) in case useful for our discussion. I think the onboarding process is key.

See you later this week!


This is the Governance folder on CoTech Nextcloud:
For now it has the word document with minutes, contribute!

This is the chat room on Nextcloud talk:
Drop in!

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There is also a page on the wiki where we can deposit all our minutes:

We can speak to @chris to get people set out with new accounts.

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Thanks everyone who has contributed! Anyone’s interested in a call to discuss next steps sometime in the following week, let’s say Tuesday afternoon?

Hi all,

I’m resurrecting this thread as it has some history and context. I’ve been asked to lead another session on Governance and Membership to build on what we did at the event in November 2018. Notes from Day 1 are here:

What did we do last time?

  • We created a CoTech Member Team agreement to build on the “Constitution”. This has yet to be ratified by members, so it would be good to do this.
  • We drafted some “Guidelines to collaboration”. Again this is WIP and could do with further input and confirmation with members based on recent experiences.
  • @SzczepanOfAnimorph worked on the idea of a “CoTech Fund” -a mechanism for pooling time and money to allow CoTech to pay for things or allocate tasks that need doing. This was proposed on Loomio and taken on by a subset of members. We have since got a bank account to allow us to channel funds.

What might we focus on this time?

  • finalise / propose the Member Agreement document
  • finalise / propose the Guidelines for Collaboration (possibly taken on by @polly 's team)
  • progress with the CoTech Fund - more details need to be ironed out e.g. how we decide where to allocate funds, how to manage tasks that need doing, try to get more buy in to this.

Personally, I would also like to spend a good amount of time on learning from other coops and sharing processes so that I go back to my coop with some tangible things that will make a material difference to us. I don’t want to spend most of the time figuring out what CoTech is etc. Where we could do with some progress is enabling more people / coops within the network to contribute to the running of it.

I think this should be the main focus of the Governance / Membership group, so hopefully the things above can help with that.

Looking forward to seeing people this week and moving things forward.




Sounds good @aaron. And don’t forget we’ll have at the gathering 3 Argentinians from FACTTIC which is further on than CoTech in terms of mutual working - this may inform our discussion on Guidelines for Collaboration.

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