CoTech website revamp

The CoTech website was put up fairly hastily and could probably be improved by the Mighty Powers of Co-operation.

This is an all purpose thread to discuss the branding/messaging, what we’re trying to achieve with the site, new features and the practicalities of getting changes implemented.

I think the Join, Manifesto and About links should be more obvious.

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Full disclaimer: I know nothing about branding or marketing.

I think we should consider making the overall massaging of the site more outwards-facing and accessible.

Currently it’s very “we’re saving the world” and there are some advantages to it being more “159 technology experts organised into 26 specialist agile delivery teams - hire us or join us”.

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I think we should consider grouping the co-ops by their main focus - e.g. “software development”, “hosting and devops”, “design and print”, “banding and media”.

I’m aware that it may be difficult or impossible to get everyone to agree on the categories, but if we could it might make it clearer what our offer is.


Amen to that.

Acting as a co-ordinated entity CoTech is a significant resource - both in terms of tech capability and experience. What’s more it’s a progressive business model right for these troubled times. The word needs to get out…

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I agree it would be greatly useful to have an agreed categorisation of tech coops’ focus. I believe this is much more likely to happen, and also to be maintained, if we set up the process to build such a categorisation in a proper commons-oriented manner.

Here’s a suggestion: that we see the categorisation as an intellectual commons; that we, the CoTech members, are the commoners here, and that we explore – an action research process if you like – the governance by which the commoners manage that commons.

We probably have plenty of experience in collaboration and collaborative tools to support this. It’s a question of finding it and putting it together.

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I think this is a wider discussion about what cotech is in terms of whether it is going to be the entity that is going out to get work or whether it’s, for example, CWEB as part of cotech.

Then we need the function of the site - is it to generate leads, to validate the existence after talking to someone, to attract people, to attract other coops or prospective coops or to be a space where we document our view on the world or our progress as an entity. Or a mixture.

At the moment I think it works well for validation in a world where I’m going out as Cweb but with the backing and access to a wider network to solve whatever problem a potential client has. But I do agree it could do loads more if we want it to.

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Definitely there’s the wider ongoing discussion about the overall purpose
and structure of Cotech as an entity - and that’s likely to be ongoing for
some time probably.

In the mean time though I think we can separately get on with improving the
CoTech site, given what we know already about our general aims. Bearing in
mind particularly the principle that the structure and division of brands
you have should be decided by what most effectively speaks to the
preferences of your external audiences, rather than just matching
identically to your internal structure by default.

So in my view the current site/brand is probably trying to do a few
different things as identified by Ed, but the two major ones are (broadly):
speaking to potential members/supporters of CoTech about what the network
is about, and putting forward CoTech as an entity that can be hired to do
the bigger projects that individual members couldn’t manage alone. And its
currently doing the first a lot better than the latter I would say.

So rather than try and make it be all things for all people, I think we
should consider a separate site (and possibly even brand identity) for the
outward, customer facing aspect of CoTech. That would be a lot more focused
on speaking to the big customers that we might target for working with us
collectively (suggestions welcome on who they should be!).

Probably that would look structurally and content wise like a lot of our
individual organisational sites - focusing more succinctly on what we
offer, why we are the best at it, and case studies and testimonials of what
we’ve done successfully before (there are a few good examples of
collaborations now we could use). And using language and visuals
specifically selected to appeal to that target market. I don’t think for
instance overemphasising how the amount and variety of different orgs that
are part of the network is something that will necessarily always play to
our favour for this audience.

The immediate complication is that there of course quite a few orgs in
CoTech that offer differing types of services - and thats what makes the
current site a bit sprawling and unclear. Given that from what I know the
majority in terms of business size/employees are in the tech development
sector, I’d suggest it make sense to first develop an offer specifically
focussed on this market, before moving on iteratively to develop offers for
other markets.

Ok thats me for now anyway - interested to hear what everyone else thinks,
particularly on what the optimal split/definition might be for this first
offer, and of course whether you think its a good idea at all :slight_smile:


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Don’t underestimate the power of just being a brand / name that exists.

Enspiral is mainly brand backed with a highly dynamic community of people who are generally rad and like to help each other. I’ve noticed that even though Cotech might not be “clearly defined” yet / ever, you have a name and a website that I reference when I’m talking to people quite a lot. This is incredibly powerful alone.

If you can do that, and start working with one another, I think you’ve got a self-building machine.


I’ve created issues in github for the two issues raised by @harry above:

Unfortunately the content of the site is not versioned, only the software that runs it (c.f. this discussion on Loomio) so there’s not a natural place to collaborate on this comment. Does anyone have a suggestion on how best to collaborate/track that enhancement?

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@mixmix - a fantastic and very encouraging comment! Thank you :grinning:


The site doesn’t link to this Discourse site and I think it should, many of the enquiries that go to the private contact list would be better posted here, I created a thread for this issue some weeks ago.


I agree with this (as well as mapping collabs).

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The site doesn’t link to this Discourse site and I think it should

This was one of the things I know @chrisroos wanted to fix.

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I added an issue to capture this.

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This raises an important, if not fundamental, question. And is often the
case with fundamental issues, it’s quite simple.

Before we decide what sort of website to build for Co Tech we need to
decide what the organisation’s proposition is and to whom. i.e I think that
Co Tech has the potential to be one or other of two types of organisation.
It could also be a combination of these two organisational types but would
to recognise that there’s a need to address a number of audiences

Namely, is Co Tech…

a) a ‘trade body’ designed to represent tech co-ops within the co-operative
movement, thereby providing:-

  • technical, organisational and resourcing support
  • representation for its members within the co-operative movement
  • the go-to place for tech co-ops to get support
  • the go-to place for co-ops to get tech support and expertise

or is it…

b) A new provider of technology products and services - designed to
aggregate the capabilities of tech co-ops in order for them to compete in
the open market, thereby:-

  • supporting Co Tech members who are looking to broaden their market and
    increase their revenue
  • diverting revenue from the share-holder economy into the co-operative
  • promoting the co-operative model as a valid way of doing business

Or, as I say, it could feasibly be both.

Once we’ve decided definitively what Co Tech is, we can then define what
its customers are and what Co Tech’s customer proposition is. That then
should be the key message that is communicated by the website.


This is our (Gildedsplinters’) stock in trade. If people are in agreeance
with my line of thinking, I/we would be very happy to take the lead on
driving this process and the team (of Co Techers) that we’d need to have on
board to make this happen.

It really needn’t be complicated or take very long (within a month).

I hope that helps.



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In agreement with Co-Tech being a representative body of tech based coops
and promoting as such, along with pooling together each other’s skills and

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And so Liam, just to clarify - should the Co Tech site be aiming purely to
recruit new members and support existing ones, or should it be aiming to
promote the capability of the group to potential customers?

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I’d say recruit new members and support existing ones but also in this way
promoting the group and it’s capabilities but focusing mainly in the former.

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Very interesting perspective @andyrcroft. I believe some of the concepts of CoTech were inspired by Enspiral in New Zealand. I wonder if their description and website would provide some inspiration - I don’t think they fit exactly into either of your two models. They sound to have some aspects of your option A, but Enspiral Services sounds more like your option B.

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