Living the New Economy… updates

The following are a few updates that I compiled over the six days of the confluence…

Oct. 21, 2013

Living the New Economy, 2013 came to a close with a series of information driven workshops. We started the day with a workshop on Financing the New Economy where Michelle Collusi and Suresh Fernando from the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal, Ross Gentleman from the CCEC Credit Union – The Official Facebook Group and Kevin Harding harding from the BC Cooperative Association provided a brief intro to various tools and models that people and local communities can use to finance their projects. Suresh higlighted the Ecosystem approach to resource allocation that he is working on that aims to shift the paradigm from allocating resources one project at a time to financing groups of projects collectively!

This was followed by an engaging discussion between a group of social entrepreneurs all working on collaboration platforms. This included Ben Scott Joy Case Van Hove from An Idea Nation – Global Think Tank, Vida Mas from Cyrka, Scott Israel from CoCreatrix and Caroline Smalley of Citizens Media. All of these platforms aim to do similar things and the question we were exploring was: why are those building collaboration platforms collaborating? Many things were revealed including the importance of the specific roles and skill sets of the entrepreneurs, the challenges of financing larger projects (if they decide to collaborate, for example) and the importance of reducing complex visions to easily digestible stories that people can actually engage in.

The late afternoon session focused on Shared Spaces. A recurring theme at LNE was the need for Shared Physical spaces in order to maintain our conversations; to bridge the gap between the projects; to get to know each other better; to build culture. The New Economy will bridge the gap between ‘economic’ issues and ‘life’ issues, revealing the dichotomy to be false. Life happens in physical space… To that end we had John Bromley from Benevoland Tara Mahony and Daniel J Pierce of the Junction and @Kim Cooper from Co-Lab and Jim Carrico from Redgate.


Oct 20, 2013

Another magical day at LNE… This whole experience is leaving many of us both exhilarated an exhausted as we now move into the final day of our program! Each day has been different and, as was pointed out to me yesterday, for those that have been there every day, a sense of family is starting to develop…

For this is what it is all about is it not? … the creation of a culture that values us as for who we are; not as functional entities in an economic paradigm that dehumanizes, commodifies and devalues our existence. This sort of culture, in some sense, is a large family; one where we really see and embrace each other for who we really are!

In terms of the day, it began with Tam Lundy doing a workshop in Generative Change; or, what might, more popularly be called, Systemic Change; the sort that requires that we broaden our perspective and see that whole; that we look beyond our own personal interests; that we realize that our personal interests are served by serving the collective interest.

This was followed by a session on Recliaming the Commons where Tiberius Brastaviceanu presented the Sensorica project which is working on developing the tools and methodologies for those working in distributed environments, to develop their own value exchange methodologies while they collaborate on projects together. Dallas Luther provided some local context by describing the MakerLABS project, the object of which is to create a space and associated community to empower those that want to creative make things! Michel Bauwens, of the P2P Foundation concluded by giving us a very brief description of a very exciting and seminal project that he is working on with the government of Ecuador; a project the focus of which is to develop an Open, Commons Based, Knowledge Society,

Joy Case Van Hove of An Idea Nation – Global Think Tank followed this by presenting a Live Crowdfunding workshop where provided us with an overview of what crowdfunding is, highlighted several projects, engaged the projects with those in the room and initiated crowdfunding campaigns on their behalf on the AnIdeaNation platform.

We closed with a shared feast!

Looking forward to today which promises to be equally spectacular!


Oct. 18/13

Yesterday was a mix of theory and magic! In the morning Randy Galowan facilitated a really powerful storytelling workshop where he introduced us to the work of Marshall Ganz, who has done a lot of work on the importance of storytelling in the context of movement building. The basic idea is that there are three stories that we need to be able to tell… The Story of Me, the Story of We and the Story of Now… and if you can make these stories fit together into coherent picture, then you have a persuasive and powerful story that can serve as the basis of a call to action!

The stories need to be as personal as possible, calling on specific life instances that resulted in major transitions… shifts in consciousness etc. Those moments need to be described in rich detail… This is what will connect you with others… build trust and form the basis for the communities that you want to build.

Randy emphsized, specifically, that People connect with People… not ideas and that there seems to be something fundamental about Stories and Human nature…



OpenKollab: inherent conflicts arising within generative collaboration spaces


Hey Folks,

I just drafted this as a part of a conference submission that I made and I would welcome your thoughts. Specifically, we have all come to realize that, even though we all share a passion for open collaboration and its potential, actually identifying what to collaborate on is much more difficult than you would think it should be.

I am interested in understanding why this is so and what we can do about it. There are a few thoughts below, but I still continue to be mostly puzzled…

OpenKollab: inherent conflicts arising within generative collaboration spaces

This paper will explore examples of conflict that have arisen in the development of OpenKollab (, an generative open collaboration environment that is developing a community of practice as well as tools and processes to foster collaboration amongst organizations with aligned missions. As a result it will discuss specific problems that have arisen during the actual practice of creating an open collaboration space. Potential solutions to the identified problems will then be suggested.

A generative open collaborative environment is one where a group, sharing a high level abstract goal (in our case a commitment to the benefits of open collaboration and a conviction that it can play a role in bringing about positive social change), but no definable or measurable goals, works together to identify such specific goals. Hence different sub projects can be identified and teams can be formed that can pursue these projects within the umbrella of a larger open collaboration environment.

It is our experience that generative open collaboration environments give rise to specific sorts of conflicts that need to be resolved. The challenges are great for those working on OpenKollab, but the rewards will be worth the effort since it is generative open collaboration environments that hold the promise of mass mobilization and coordination of action on a global scale.

The group’s mission has been driven by idealism, but we have learned the hard way that there are many pragmatic challenges that one must contend with. These challenges can be understood as conflicts that arise at many levels, including:

  • The mission of OpenKollab versus participants personal agendas
  • The mission of OpenKollab versus participating organizations
  • Conflicts arising from differing agendas of participating members and organizations.
  • Individual conflicts arising from lack of consensus in the formation of the vision.

All of these conflicts arise out of an inherent tension between the larger group, treated as an abstract entity, and the individuals (or sub-groups) that have a more tangible reality. At first glance it might seem as though the solution to the problem is to engage in sufficient dialogue to generate consensus. Practically speaking, this has proven to be more difficult than it would seem since consensus around high level principles does not necessarily lead to agreement on specific sub-projects and associated tasks.

If the larger objective is to bridge boundaries and create bonds in the spirit of collaboration, practical strategies to overcome these inhibitors will need to be developed.

To mitigate these inhibitors, we are working towards specific task and workflow procedures such as:

Autonomous Information Spaces With Simultaneous Content Publishing: technology mechanisms that allow content to be simultaneously published in a distributed fashion across different platforms (wiki’s, websites etc.)

Hybrid Branding Strategies: strategies that create a brand both for OpenKollab as well as the participating entities.

Commons based Reusable content: what is required is that workflows be structured so that work that is done for the collaborative group is work that can be leveraged by others within the collaborative community.

  • One groups output becomes another groups input
  • Flexibility given for content modification and re-use
  • Subject to commons based content licensing

These, and other such strategies for mitigating conflict in the development of generative collaborative spaces, will be described.

Moving Forward!

It’s been a long time since my last blog entry. Much has changed in my life and this will be reflected in the blog as I move forward. Those of you that take the time to read some of my previous entries will note that the focus was highly abstract and theoretical.

As we move forward you can expect the content to be more balanced. Most of it will reflect what I am thinking about and working. Even so, due to the fact that there are some deep intuitions that underlie my opinions, one can expect the content to maintain a bit of a philosophical feel.

One easy way to get things going is to reference several documents that I have written in the last few months. These documents provide a good overview of what I am thinking about and working on:

Climate Change Collaboration Platform: A description of a platform and processes that could be used to develop collaborative processes within the climate change space. See:

Open System Mobilization Platform: This is the very large vision for a platform that would enable very large numbers of people to collaborate in real time! See:

Ecosystem Collaboration Platform: This is a powerpoint presentation that contains a visual representation of the sort of platform that I think would make collaboration between organizations much more effective. You will need to download it from:

Social Venture Investment Bank: This is a position paper exploring the viability of the creation of an investment bank in Canada, the purpose of which would be to finance social ventures.  You will need to download it from

Let me know if you have any questions regarding any of these documents.

As we proceed, I’ll talk more about what I am doing to advance the ideas that are introduced in these documents.

Suresh Fernando