Templating the Co-op Start-Up Process

My immediate thought was a simple Drupal-based system. I’d avoid Nationbuilder personally, but perhaps that’s just me.


Maybe on the hosted forms services could do it, but I don’t know enough about their capabilities.

That is my thought also, if money is tight ask @naomi and if there is a decent amount of money available ask @finn, @stephen, @aaron and co at https://agile.coop/ and I’d also suggest budgeting for security updates for the duration of the project.

"if money is tight ask naomi " … ?

I’m sure you mean well @chris but …

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Sorry, that wasn’t worded as well as it could have been, I should have said “I expect that @naomi might be able to help produce a Drupal site for less than a co-op such as Agile would charge”.

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I would second doing it in Drupal too - and could definitely help with that …
I’d steer WAY clear of nation builder…

Thanks all - I’m not looking to commission any tech development at this stage, given the simplicity of the functionality involved and that this is a prototype, I’m pretty sure the most efficient route is just to use existing software that already has forms, database and linked email built in with an already nice UX, or through linking a couple of bits of existing software (i.e. wufoo and mailchimp). At the point where we’ve done this, tested it, developed the brand and language (which research suggests will be the key factor for our target audience), then hopefully we’ll have some strong evidence to make the case for investment in build of a proper platform. But for now its all about simple quick working system asap.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on existing packages, otherwise will just jump in and try out a few different things I am aware of.

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Coincidentally, I’ve been talking to a group of people, one of whom worked with Chris Mears, and are now working on a new version of One-click.Org / one-click co-op. They are developing an evolvable structure, starting with a a very simple model, and gradually adding further models as demand indicates and resources allow.

They are in the process of setting up as a worker co-op, Platform.Earth, and will be ‘eating their own dog food’ - using the re-coded one-click-org tool for this process.

The infrastructure they are building is based on dockerised microservices to provide an infrastructure for building the components needed for building many other types of platform, and could directly support Graham’s Platform 6 proposals.

Platform.Earth (the product) is then a wider plan to support commons organisations (ie a wider remit than pure co-ops but not private businesses) - of which the expanded ‘one-click orgs’ package is only one of the foundational offerings. The others that are being developed include a three-layer currency / commons market set of tools, and social governance tools that integrate with the legal structures that the one-click orgs create.

A primary use-case for this set of services is to make the transactions costs for setting up new co-operative joint ventures with robust transparent governance as low as possible.

Platform.Earth plan to join CoTech and would like to to work with other CoTechers to form a second tier co-op to share and further develop these tools - testing a one-click second tier co-op (LLP?) tool in the process :slight_smile:


That’s great news. :smiley:

Please point them at this thread. I’m researching this at the moment before setting up a co-operative, i would be happy to help with alpha- and beta-testing. :smiley:

Do they have a mailing list/wiki?

Sounds really interesting Bill. I’d be keen to be in touch with platform.earth people.

http://platform.earth have got an interesting set of tools already there, along with a system of integrating them with other external systems.

They seem to be structured so they can run on decentralised systems as well. They’re working on versions for Holochain.

Platform Earth looks really good - probably what we are working on is focused a bit more on the external market of people who wouldn’t currently be considering a co-op structure, and just making that first step in as attractive (or at least non-repulsive!) as possible.

But generally I speaking anyway I think its not a bad thing when there’s a pressing need like this that a few different people are trying to achieve similar goals - makes it more likely that at least one of us will be successful. I know competition isn’t naturally a popular thing within the co-op world, but it does have benefits sometimes :slight_smile:

It strikes me that the best route forward on this might be an open one. When/as/if the current work is tested and becomes useable, all those that want to do so could implement it using various approaches - platform.earth via Holochain, Platform 6 via Drupal, etc. in such a way as they are consistent and compatible.

I completely agree with Graham,
It seems odd for various groups to be doing this on their own, in their own way, without involving a wider group… the core work would not need to be replicated if it was open (hence ‘owned’) by a wider set of people… I think that was part of the problem with OneClick - a small group made it in their own way, didn’t open it up for others to support and hence when they got bored / disinterested / under-resourced it failed… and now we are forced to repeat the work again, starting from scratch… :frowning:

Dan, you mentioned you are / have been working with people from Co-ops UK - but did not say who :frowning: …it almost seems like people are averse to sharing info / collaborating on this project…!

Would it not make sense to form a wider working group on this, so that all interested parties can help, assist, test, contribute etc in whatever ways we can…?

It would seem odd if, within CoTech and the wider co-op space, we can not work out how to cooperate on building this thing! IMHO An easy to use, co-op creator website is still (and has been for many years) one of the top 3 projects the co-op sector needs to build, and get right, asap!

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I’m really happy that the focus is on something small and simple that attempts to solve a well-researched need.

@dansmallaxe despite the comment about our (commercial) rates above, we (Go Free Range) would be happy to offer a bit of advice on how to build the simplest thing possible to test the idea if you think it will help.

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@olisb - working with a few different people at Coops UK, particularly John A, Giles (who has now left), Leila and James Delevigne.

Not at all averse to sharing info, but am keen to make sure we keep this project focused - the main audience is people outside the co-op movement, so the design process so far has prioritised getting their views on what they would want in a product, or what might put them off current processes, in terms of UX, language, brand etc. This has informed the new process that we’ve put together, which we’ll now build as a simple prototype before testing with the same audience and then making a plan for promotion and launch.

There’ll definitely be a stage at which forming a wider working group will make sense, but I think thats a bit down the line - when we are considering wider tech functions we might want to add, or other models/types of co-op structure, after having got the first prototype up and proved the concept is worth pursuing. We already have a fair amount of different people involved now and I’d be concerned we’d end up designing by committee if we do that too early. The questions we need answering and things that need doing at this point are fairly simple and just need getting on with rather than lots of input from tech/co-op experts really! I know where to come at the point where we do need that though of course.

That said - as per earlier message on this thread am going to be trying out different software for this prototype in near future, and advice on that side definitely welcome. @chrislowis - will drop you an email to set up a chat at some point

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ok - thanks Dan - keep us posted - I am very interested in this and helping in any way I can and trying to encourage less re-invention of wheels… if you have any progress by July it would be great if you could come and tell people about it at https://2018.open.coop

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My suggestion was much less about having more people stick their oar in to what sounds like a perfectly sensible product development process, and much more about making the final design open in such a way as many different people/orgs could then implement the design using whatever tech suited them, on the basis that having more shop fronts available tends to enable a higher number of sales.

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@olisb - will do, hoping we’ll have it all working and ready to use by then, so maybe we can do a live starting of a coop on stage or something :slight_smile:

@Graham - understood. as we’re not using any complex tech is more of just a user journey than anything else, so should be pretty much open to replication just by looking at it. Definitely the idea is to have different shop fronts, along with different journeys where necessary, for different markets/sectors. But need to crack it for one first.

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Public Service Announcement:

After spending two years going around in circles working with David Bovill (who is the person behind Platform.Earth) someone who knew him for many years before I’d even met him said to me “oh, so how do you know Dr Death?”.

I knew Dave was a Dr but had no idea why this lady was referring to him as Dr Death and so I inquired. The answer: “he kills projects”. This immediately resonated and I wished I met this lady two years earlier!

Of course people are totally free to form their own opinions and I do love lots of things about Dave (I still consider him a friend and he’s long been ahead of the curve on many things with lots of great ideas, including this Platform.Earth stuff), but I sadly feel it is my public duty to highlight my experience with working with him: he was really good at convincing me and others of one strategy/ project one week and then another completely different strategy/ project the next.

The result: lots of going around in circles not getting anywhere.

I and others involved of course have to share some of the responsibility for this, but personally I would not work with, nor have any faith in any project led by, David Bovill. Sorry Dave, hope you’re well :slight_smile: