July 2018

Summary of Activities


In July, the IDRC started formal work on the Platform Cooperative Development Toolkit project. Our activities this month focused on outreach and discussions with prospective project collaborators, technical and user experience mapping, and the establishment of shared design and development infrastructure for the project.

Among others, we had discussions with CoLab, Loconomics, and ShareTribe regarding the possibility of jointly developing open source tools that would be included in the toolkit's labour platform and governance tools, and implementing existing platform services as "scaffolding" to help bootstrap other aspects of the labour platform. On July 20, Colin traveled to Chicago to meet with the SEIU's Healthcare group and the International Cooperative Alliance to assist them in the early stages of designing a technology platform for the CoRise Cooperative.

The initial stages of our design process for the Toolkit followed a explore, map, share cycle in which the project's design possibilities are creatively explored, maps of potential user experience workflows are sketched, and technical components are elaborated at a relatively high level of abstraction. These works in progress are  shared on the project's open wiki for feedback and refinement. In particular, our design work this month included:

  1. Research and "cooperative analysis" of existing platforms and cooperatives
  2. Sketching initial user experience maps that look at the toolkit from the perspective of different users—particularly prospective co-op members, founders, and supporters. These maps are intended to help map out the design problem space for the project, and are intentionally provisional and lo-fi during at this early stage of the project's design in order to quickly explore different approaches and ideas.
  3. Mapping out the relationships among technical components of the project's labour platform
  4. Examining the existing open source tools and platforms that may be available for us to use or integrate into the Toolkit

In addition, the essential collaborative infrastructure for the project's ongoing open source and development was also set up, including an issue tracker (Atlassian's JIRA) for tracking tasks and bugs, a new GitHub organization for sharing source code, and a mailing list for discussing technical and user experience issues.