We’re at the World Forum for Democracy!

We’ve been invited to speak at the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, which has been the catalyst for our trip to Europe.

Ben and Viv have zipped across the channel from London to attend and speak at the forum from 26–29 November. The focus of this year’s forum is “Re-wiring Democracy: connecting institutions and citizens in the digital age”, which, as you might imagine, hugely excites us!


The Council of Europe is bringing politicians, civil society leaders and groups such as Loomio together to nut out the future for democracy in the 21st century, and to debate and plan the kinds of changes that need to happen to fully embrace the opportunities and risks that technology brings to participatory democracy. There’s a focus on how social media and networking can drive citizen participation in institutional decisions.

Ben and Viv will be heading up Lab 15 on “Digital Local Democracy”, along with the Irish eParticipation platform, Puzzled by Policy, and a Spanish project, CitYsens, who are creating a non-partisan environment to foster municipal civic participation. They’ll be discussing how to use technology to upgrade local democracy, especially at the local government level. Loomio are encouraged by the vision of a neighbourhood democracy, where anyone can participate in the decisions that affect them, in a non-hierarchical way, at any time. We have also directly experienced how this might work in reality, through the project we facilitated with the Wellington City Council earlier this year.

The lab will be structured as a debate, where participants will choose the best initiative to encourage citizen’s participation for local democracy. Excitingly, some of the people who will be leading the discussion include Steve Clift from America, Founder of E-Democracy.org; Sorin Ionita,  research director for a Bucharest think-tank, Expert Forum; Toomas Sepp, who has been actively involved in the administrative reform of local government in Estonia and Tallinn; and Irene Muñoz Trujillo, director of Message and New Technologies of Mexico City. We’re really proud to be talking with and alongside these amazing people from all over the world: it’s sure to be a fascinating debate. We can’t wait!

Remember that you can contact Ben and Viv through their Twitter handles, @maidaborn, @BenjaminMKnight and @loomioproject while they are away.

Nation-changing Decision-makers: Generation Zero

Generation Zero is a youth-led network of climate change activists who are campaigning to make New Zealand zero carbon by 2050. They want to create conversations and actions to ensure that “today’s carbon bills get paid today”.

The core members and volunteers previously made decisions at biannual national meetings but as the network grew to over 3,000 members they needed to change how they made decisions. They decided to invite 60 of their most active members to make strategic decisions for the group in Loomio, though the invitation was open to any member to request access. Once decisions are made, they are relayed out to the wider group through social media.

Continue reading Nation-changing Decision-makers: Generation Zero

Our brief, but action-packed, sojourn in Madrid!

We may only be there for 28 hours, but our  stay in Madrid  is already packed with action.

Back in May, we were invited to Skype into a collaborative workshop, Laboratorio Democrático, organised and driven by Loomio community member Yago Bermejo Abati, on Networked Democracy: Tools and Technologies for Democratic Participation.

After hearing that we’re coming to Madrid, Yago has extended the warmest hospitality we could imagine, organising a forum to explore governance in the internet age, as well as to put users and developers of internet tools in contact, so as to study the dynamics of democratic web processes at all scales. Its going to be held at Medialab-Prados, a program of the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism of the Madrid City Council. According to their website the space “is conceived as a citizen laboratory for the production, research and dissemination of cultural projects that explore collaborative forms of experimentation and learning that have emerged from digital networks.” We’re excited to check this place out!

On the cards for discussion are how the internet is transforming 21st century democracy and the role of technology in reconnecting citizens to democratic institutions. It will be a great opportunity for Loomio to build connections with like-minded people working towards similar goals, as well as offering Loomio as a tool to help social change movements coordinate more effectively. The line-up for the forum is a dream come true… Continue reading Our brief, but action-packed, sojourn in Madrid!

Hello, Europe and the United States!

photo credit: Kate Ter Haarphoto credit: Kate Ter Haar

Next stop on our exploration of the globe: Europe and the United States!

Ben Knight and Vivien Maidaborn, two of the co-founders and dream-weavers of the Loomio Cooperative, are setting off from the Land of the Long White Cloud, Aotearoa, and are on their way to the Northern Hemisphere!

They’ve been invited to speak at the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, and will also be spending time in Madrid, London, Berlin, and Amsterdam before traveling onwards to New York, Boston, Washington DC, and San Francisco.

They’re excited to be connecting with people and networks interested in social change through technology, online engagement and deliberation, new models of cooperative business, innovation emerging from the Occupy movement, social enterprise, and collective intelligence.

They are available to speak at events, run workshops on online deliberation and collaborative decision-making, and to meet up with interested likeminded people and organisations.


  • Nov 11th-13th: Madrid
  • Nov 13th-20th: London
  • Nov 20th-26th: Berlin / Amsterdam
  • Nov 26th-30th: Strasbourg
  • Nov 30th-Dec 11th: New York / Boston / Washington DC
  • Dec 11th-16th: San Francisco / Los Angeles

Get in touch if you’d like to meet up with them, and stay tuned for news of their adventures!

Ben Knight: ben@loomio.org
Vivien Maidaborn: vivien@loomio.org
Twitter: @LoomioProject | @Maidaborn | @BenjaminMKnight

Wellington City Council uses Loomio!

In February 2013, the Wellington City Council contracted Loomio to run the online side of their largest public consultation exercise of the year – developing an alcohol management strategy for the city. The Council chose Loomio because they wanted to get diverse input from people who would usually be too busy to attend traditional public consultation meetings.

What resulted was a lively mixture of bar owners, students, residents associations, liquor industry employees, emergency services staff, teenagers and anti-alcohol campaigners, all getting together online in a month-long collaboration focused on finding solutions that balance the negative impacts of alcohol on communities with the social and economic benefits that come from a thriving entertainment scene in the city. Continue reading Wellington City Council uses Loomio!

Our people: Scrum-Master Mix

Name: Mix
Age: 29
Title: Scrum-Master Mix
Team: Product Team

Why did you get involved with Loomio?

It started off as a coding internship in Enspiral. I was interested in honing my skills and Loomio was interested in volunteers. In retrospect, it’s probably no accident that Loomio resonated so well with me – I’d recently come from working in a progressive secondary school which values things like collaborative planning of individual education pathways, community engagement and communicating on equal footings.

Continue reading Our people: Scrum-Master Mix

Our People: Viv Maidaborn – Loomio Dreamer and Vision Maker

Vivien Maidaborn

Viv is a driving force behind Loomio — and one of the most well connected members of our group. It’s become a joke in the team that if we need to find more users, we should just send Viv for a walk down the street — she’s sure to bump into at least five people she knows. But finding users is only small part of the amazing-ness that is Viv, she helps us map our course through social impact, casts magic spells before parties, and helps us keep diversity top of mind. Here is Viv, in her own words:

Name: Vivien Maidaborn

Age: 53

Title: Loomio Dreamer and Vision Maker (aka business strategy)

Why and how did you get involved with Loomio?

After a 30 year career in the not-for-profit sector, I realised that charity models weren’t delivering scalable change anywhere in the world. In fact, most of the baseline measures (economic + social inequality, environmental degradation, etc.) I had thought would improve in my working life were actually getting worse.

So, it felt to me like real social change would have to combine the skills, tools and the leverage of business, with the values, emotional intelligence and compassion that can be found in community and citizenship movements.  This for me is what I mean by ‘social enterprise’.

In 2011 I resigned from my charitable CEO job and went looking for the right opportunity in this social enterprise space. I was introduced to Loomio and the rest is history!

Continue reading Our People: Viv Maidaborn – Loomio Dreamer and Vision Maker

Journeying along our roadmap

A few weeks ago, we laid out our code roadmap for the future of Loomio – and we’ve been hard at work travelling along it! We’re pretty excited about the places we have been, and those still to come. Here’s a whirlwind tour of our journey, so you can start getting just as excited as we are!

In the past two weeks, our code team have rolled out two new features:

  • You can now make an attachment of an image or document, which appears as a thumbnail in your post.
  • You also have the first version of your very own inbox, which displays discussions you’ve not read, giving you a clear idea of what you need to catch up on.

Why is this important?

Attachment is important because everyone has been asking for it :) We’ve tried to release it as quickly as possible, knowing that there’s room to keep improving as we go. For instance, we’ll be improving performance of this feature in the near future to make it faster.

Continue reading Journeying along our roadmap

Communicating Towards a Compassionate World

In a world fraught with violence, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) aims to transform how people communicate with each other, and is underpinned by an assumption that human beings are compassionate by nature. NVC was developed in the 1960s by Marshall Rosenberg, who wanted to understand how people can stay compassionate in the face of extreme circumstances and violence. The NVC community is active in over 65 countries around the globe.

One of the many international conferences and trainings for people wanting to learn and practice NVC takes place in India each year. When Emma Collins, a Compassionate Communication Trainer, approached Loomio to discuss how our platform could support their project, their aims and intentions resonated strongly with us.

Continue reading Communicating Towards a Compassionate World

“Write” Cultural Fit

A comic-book whizz, a web developer, a chiropractor, a film-maker, several curators and a grocery store co-op owner: What do these people have in common? Well, they are some of the busiest people on Loomio: and they belong to the Adobe Books and Arts Cooperative.

Adobe Books (before the move). Image courtesy of Brett Lockspeiser.

Loomio loves this group of people who have come together as a co-op to protect a well-loved community space, Adobe Books, in San Francisco’s Mission district. As Brett Lockspeiser explains,

“Adobe Books has been in San Francisco for 25 years. For 24 of those years it was a sole proprietorship, mostly run by Andrew McKinley, who owned the shop. Unfortunately, the business of selling his books has become harder and harder…combine that with San Francisco which is currently gentrifying at an obscene rate. In 16th Street of the Mission the rents were doubling”.

Continue reading “Write” Cultural Fit

Love letters and permaculture

Richard Telford heard about Loomio from a friend at a local food swap in Seymor, Australia. His friend happened to be Carl Scarse, who several weeks ago posted this on our Facebook page:

Carl and Richard know each other through the Intentional Community, Commonground, where Richard lived for about five years. The community began in the 80s in response to a need for support, resources and networks for social change activists. Today, Commonground is a co-operatively living community of activists and people concerned with living lightly on the earth, sharing resources, and supporting social change groups. Rather cool.

Continue reading Love letters and permaculture