The following is an adaption of a conversation I am having with Tom Osher of Chambalabamba who wants to build something similar to Crowdool under the name Utopiacornucopia. Some points evolved in writing that I wanted to share with you. An abridged version of the discussion below.
I think what we need is a realistic roadmap. Building a complex digital system is like nature in that sense, rapid growth tends to be brittle growth. Fast-growing trees simply do not provide the quality of lumber that their slow-growing ancestors do. Ecosystems need time to evolve. The same is true for networks, which, at best, are digital ecosystems of sorts.
What I deem realistic between now (mid-October) and the end of November is a convincing proposal of what we want to create, convincing enough for many organisations and individuals to be prepared to back it. We could also use our current WordPress based platform as a prototype where committed individuals and organisations could get a feel for what we are aiming for, create profile pages, connect with each other, test some of the functions and begin adding to the database. A bit like a LinkedIn for changemakers and volunteers with a few additional functions. With the caveat that this is merely a prototype, a place to discuss together what we want to build, what functions are most important, and vote on these.
From this temporary platform, we can recruit developers who might be keen to build aspects of what we need, raise funds to pay bounties for more complex challenges and begin to populate the database with volunteers, projects, best practices, proposals to work on and more. During this process, the users would be assisting in developing a platform they would want to use, and it would become their platform in their hearts and minds. They would then become the best possible recruiters we could hope for because they would be inviting people onto their own platform, one that they helped to bring to fruition. They would unprompted bring on their friends and whatever organizations or networks they are part of. And this is how we would grow to have the maximum impact. During this process, we could also use the platform to vote on both the name of the network as well as the guiding principles and rules of engagement on it.
Our platform probably needs a month with a WordPress back end developer, a front end developer and a UX designer working on it to iron out all the kinks and prepare it for the first thousand users. And it would still be a prototype that is cutting corners. But it would provide a sufficiently satisfying and meaningful experience for users to stay engaged. Which enough to build an engaged network, which will be enough to build the future platform which, hopefully, will be enough to have the impact on the world that we are all aiming for.
We should have a very realistic roadmap in the next few weeks that will take us where we need to go. This is a project that will have a gradually increasing impact over the next ten to twenty years and if we are successful, we will have offered significant assistance with creating a new global ecosystem for society. I think it is very much worth taking the time to lay a proper foundation, even if this means launching the platform later on. The goal, after all, is the long term impact. At least to my mind.
All this said I think there is a great opportunity here for a deep collaboration that will bring many projects and organisations into our growing ecosystem and onto a common trajectory. To join with us, and for us to join with. But this must evolve from the ground up and find its own balance. Just like any natural system.Recommended1 recommendationPublished in
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