Academics study Loomio use

Loomio has been collaborating with academic researchers Shiv Ganesh at Massey University in New Zealand and Cynthia Stohl at the University of California, to do the first large-scale survey of Loomio users. The survey is still open, but we are already getting some really fascinating information on who we are as Loomio users, how we use Loomio, and what we use it for.

We know, for instance, that we are more age diverse than we previously thought. While a third of our users are young (i.e., below 40 years old), nearly a quarter of us are 60 and above. Pew research has shown that messaging and decision-making apps are not popular amongst senior groups, so it is fantastic to see how well we are doing with senior demographics. We have also confirmed, as we suspected, that we are an (over)educated bunch of people; a full 75% of us have undergraduate degrees, and 40% of us have postgraduate degrees!

We also now know that Loomio is an important part of our decision-making media matrix. Over a third of us have reported that 50% or more of our group interaction takes place on Loomio, and about half of us report that Loomio is very important or absolutely essential compared to other digital platforms we use for group interaction.

 

The top three tools other than Loomio that we use to communicate are Email, Facebook and Texts or iMessages, with Whatsapp, Twitter, Skype, Telegram and Slack also being important complements.

Finally, we are beginning to get a detailed sense of what we use Loomio for. We asked you to tell us what sorts of issues your work connected with, and over 37% of all users so far have identified democracy and justice as central issues. Other critical issues for us include environmental issues, human rights, economic inequality, feminist and gender issues, sustainability, technology, and labour.

Pie chart. 47%: This Loomio group has clearly established communication linkages with a particular organization. 21%: In this Loomio group communication linkages with other groups are unclear and not yet established with any particular external organizations, groups and/or individuals. 20%: This Loomio group is developing communication linkages with a group of organizations, groups and/or individuals. 12%: This Loomio group has clearly established communication linkages with a group of organizations.

Over the next few months we expect to produce more fine-grained pictures of how we use Loomio and for what purposes, the organizing archetypes that drive this use, and how we feel about Loomio and its effectiveness.

There is still an opportunity to participate. If you would like to take the survey, please click here for the English version, and here for the Spanish version.

Hope-y New Year from Team Loomio 🙃

Warm greetings from the beautiful South Pacific summer! Before we wind down for the holidays I wanted to reach out with a final message for the year.

2016 has been an extraordinarily turbulent year. The earthquake that brought down office buildings in Wellington seems to be the perfect metaphor for the political shakes in Europe, the US, and Middle East that have gripped the world. Checking in with my friends and colleagues overseas, I hear a lot of grief, uncertainty, and fear: progressive people have the sense that something important is slipping away.

Big stories like Brexit, the US election, and the Syrian civil war take up so much space, they can drown out the sound of the many reasons to be hopeful in 2017. The people that are growing “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible” tend to be quiet: they’d rather spend their time tending their local initiatives, rather than drawing attention to themselves.

One of the most energising things about working on Loomio is that I get to connect with inspirational people working on incredible projects nearly every day. So as we close out 2016, I wanted to share a couple of reasons to be hopeful in 2017:

Continue reading Hope-y New Year from Team Loomio 🙃

Reuniones más eficientes con Loomio

Escrito por Mix

Trabajar eficientemente como un grupo es complejo. Parte del rompecabezas es encontrar el equilibrio entre las reuniones cara a cara y la colaboración en línea. Las reuniones son costosas, pero permiten una transferencia de información enriquecedora. La colaboración en línea les permite a todos contribuir a su tiempo, pero hay muchas conversaciones que no quieres tener en línea. Con el equilibrio adecuado puedes tener lo mejor de los dos mundos.
Durante las reuniones en persona, la discusión de la Agenda idealmente va así:discussion turns into action

Continue reading

Some thoughts about large scale decision-making

A comment from Loomio co-founder Richard D. Bartlett in a recent discussion about decision-making at scale:

“Personally the two models of scaling that I’m interested in are delegative & deliberative. (See Wikipedia on delegative democracy and Aaron Swartz on the deliberative model known as parpolity.)

Projects like DemocracyOS and LiquidFeedback are exploring the delegative model, where votes can be passed between people to form blocs of influence. I can imagine that being pretty awesome, and pretty problematic too.

Loomio is currently far down the deliberative end of the spectrum. We’ve stayed away from the “hard” problems that come with scale (e.g. identity verification) and are working on the difficult “soft” problems like teaching people to engage with each other respectfully in pursuit of shared understanding.

When we’re talking about nation-scale decision-making, the problem with either electoral or delegative systems is that the point of citizen engagement is entirely discontinuous with the actual crux of governance: negotiation, compromise and consensus-building. Voting leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, it feels like I’m giving up my autonomy in the hopes that some jerk who I don’t even know is going to exercise it in my interests.

Conversely, the deliberative model is fractal, self-similar at all scales, so the grassroots participants have an insight into what operations look like at the uppermost or innermost decision-making body. Participation is an enriching experience for the individuals, and it draws out collective intelligence greater than the sum of its parts.

There are something like 25,000 Podemos members using Loomio right now, in 1,000 different groups. It’s pretty easy for me to imagine Loomio 2.0, where all those groups are associated together into one network. Imagine sending a proposal out to all the different groups in the network and seeing distinct deliberations underway in each local group, watching points of agreement or controversy or insight or initiative spreading virally throughout the network, everyone participating in their full autonomy and simultaneously contributing to a massive collective roar, or a song, a unity of unmerged voices.”

Got something to add? Join the discussion over on Loomio

Loomio & Reinventors: reinventing social movements

What would the ideal social movement of the 21st century look like?

That’s a question that Doug Rushkoff has invited Ben from Loomio to help answer, along with some other amazing people at tomorrow’s online Reinventors roundtable discussion: Reinventing Real-Time Movements,

They’ll be considering how these networked, collaborative, digital movements might be prototypes of a new form of civic engagement that could ultimately replace what we think as of politics, and what these new forms might look like.

Ben will be speaking on behalf of Loomio, drawing on his experience with the Occupy movement, joined by other innovators in the field: Nicco Mele (co-founder and resident futurist at EchoDitto), Anna Galland (executive director of MoveOn.org), and Micah Sifry (editorial director from Personal Democracy Media). Ben’s particularly excited to explore the protocols of interaction that would enable a transformative social movement to be scalable and sustainable over time.

You can tune into the streaming roundtable on the Google Plus event page at 11am November 6th, Pacific Time – that’s 8am on Thursday morning (November 7th) for you New Zealanders.

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

Ahoy Australia!

Photo Cred: Contactzilla

We’re setting sail from our little island in the South Pacific, ready to explore the globe. First stop – Melbourne!

So we’re dipping our feet into the water of the world, and getting ready to meet with some AMAZING Australians, with a particular focus on co-working spaces and expert collaborators.

It’s going to be a quick trip, with Viv and Ben packing as many meetings and talks as humanly possible into their two days: they’re looking forward to catching up with Julian at The Hub, Alvaro from Creative Suburbs and Inspire 9, Mark and Hilary at the Collabforge, and our good friends Carl and Kati from Groupwork.

We would love to meet you too!

Ben and Viv will be presenting at the Collaboratory Melbourne Meetup on Monday night. We’d love you to meet you there!

What: From interaction to participation: driving online engagement toward real action

When: 6pm Monday, October 14th

Where: Hairy Little Sista, 240 Little Collins St, Melbourne

VIv n Ben

And – if you’re sad we’re not coming to your office or town, let us know! We’re planning on more trips to Australia over the next few months, and we want to be guided by our community. So tell us what you want.

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

Translating Loomio

We’ve always had a commitment to working with our community to steer the development of this project. The strongest message they’ve given us so far is ‘Loomio should be available in as many languages as possible’. So we prioritised translation, and within a few weeks a whole squad of volunteers had turned up to help out.

Loomio in Vietnamese

Since that decision to prioritise translation five months ago, Loomio is now available in ten languages, with plenty more in the works. Continue reading Translating Loomio

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

Our People: Richard D. Bartlett – Director of Autonomy

Loomio Blog- Our People - Richard -

Rich has been described as “an engineer turned artist turned activist” and is one of the original forces behind Loomio. He recently gave a talk on Internet and Identity at Victoria University, so with that juicy bit of content we thought he was the perfect and timely opener for our spotlight on our people.

Name: Richard D. Bartlett

Age: 28, which is like a granddad in internet time

Title: Director of Autonomy (Richard assures us this is true and not just made up for the interview)

Team: Richard jumps between the code and community team

Why did you get involved with Loomio?

I have a background in open source hardware (as Rich Decibels) and creative community organising (with Concerned Citizens Collective). I got swept up in the Occupy movement when it arrived in Wellington in 2011. I’ve always been pretty concerned about the so-called ‘wicked problems’ facing society: runaway climate change, resource depletion, ecosystem collapse, and the pervading sense of alienation throughout society… This Occupy experience totally transformed my view on all that – it was the first time I’ve ever really had any hope for the future. My participation in that movement lead me to believe that there’s no problem that can’t be solved by an engaged community of empathetic equals. Occupy totally changed my life, and my hope is that Loomio can make that transformative experience much more sustainable, and accessible to millions of other people.

Continue reading Our People: Richard D. Bartlett – Director of Autonomy

Celebrating our People

800_5298Loomions at our Launch Party – August 2013

We’re really passionate about celebrating our people, be it our users, our contributors, or just fabulous folk that inspire us.

So watch our blog. We are going to start a weekly showcase on inspiring users, workers, and people in general.

  • When we talk about our Loomio users we hope it will give you some ideas about how to use the tool in new and different ways.
  • When it’s focusing on our team, we hope it’ll give you a bit more background on why we do what we do.
  • And when it’s on inspiring folk, we, well, hope you’ll be inspired!

Let us know if there’s anyone you think we should interview, and we’d love if you want to share your story yourselves as well. Contact Emma or Anna for more info on contact@loomio.org.

The difference between offline and online communication

One of the things I’ve been considering is the difference between offline and online communications. To me the people’s mic (or even one person speaks at a time) is al limitation of offline environments that we shouldn’t be emulating to replicate. Instead I would suggest a philosophy of harvesting lots of content simultaneously and providing mechanisms to filter the noise and promote the group sentiment – similar to the reddit approach.
Joshua, pointing out the benefits of an “everyone talks at once, everyone is heard” internet-style communication model, versus the “one person talks at once” model of in-person meetings.

eDemocracy and civic engagement

I have been thinking in the eDemocracy and general civic engagement space for many years now, but in the light of OWS, the Arab Spring, and the increasing tensions between the haves and have-nots around the world, which are only likely to accelerate as the financial excrement seriously begins to hit the reality fan in 2012, I have more recently started putting thoughts into actions.
Seth, describing why he’s interested in helping the Loomio project

Why Limit the “Statement” Length

In Loomio, you assert your stance (yes, no, block, abstain, or whatever terms the group administrator decides to define), and you also have the option to make a statement about why you feel that way. We decided to limit the length of this statement. 

By design, the discussion about the motion will take place on the discussion platform. This is a space for people to express themselves freely, respond to other people’s concerns and ideas, and hash out disagreements. The intent is for people to participate and/or read over the discussion, and then vote only when they are very clear about their final stance. For this reason, the statement length is quite limited, as we feel if you are clear about your stance and you’ve already discussed any concerns or issues in the discussion space, you should be able to state your case simply and briefly. 

This also has the benefit of making the final Loomio results very clear and succinct – it’s easy to see what people think and why.

A Short History and Introduction

The Loomio project began in late 2011 when some members of the Occupy Wellington movement met up with some people at Enspiral and we realized we had a common need for a better decision making tool.

As non-hierarchical groups that aim to give all members a voice in the process, traditional top-down decision making wasn’t an option, but traditional consensus decision making requiring everyone to sit in a circle and talk each point through was too slow and inefficient.

Loomio was conceived to take the best of participatory processes and make it efficient and straightforward for use in groups where people might be in different locations and time zones, and have busy members who don’t have too much time to spare. 

Our goal as a team is to create a simple, effective tool that helps groups move together. We believe in the power of giving each person affected by a decision a voice – it encourages people to feel ownership of outcomes, and takes advantage of the good ideas anyone in the group, regardless of their status, may come up with.

We committed from the outset to create a free and open source tool, and it is our aim to build a community of Loomio contributors who will help make this tool as great as it can be.