Collaborative Technology Alliance

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= " a network of individuals and organisations working on technology projects that aim to create a more transparent equitable, sustainable and inclusive world".

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"The Collaborative Technology Alliance is a network of individuals and organisations working on technology projects that aim to create a more transparent equitable, sustainable and inclusive world.

The CTA aims to document the objectives and activities of its members and to highlight connections and overlap between projects in order to encourage greater interoperability between the technologies and communities in our network.

Our members are committed to active collaboration. They commit to sharing what they have learned, to coordinating activities and developing more and better ways to work together. They may not know the exact route to tangible interoperability, but they are committed to making it a reality."

2. Edward West:

“Last month, a group of 35 designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs from all over the world gathered in Oakland, California. Together, we are working on the creation of tools, strategies, and networks to build a new collaborative commons.

Our group consisted of founders and key contributors from Enspiral, Loomio, CoBudget, Chalkle, Robin Hood Cooperative,, Hylo, Ethereum, Citizen Code,,, KiwiConnect, Lifehack, Planetwork, Impact Hub, Refugio Resource, Pyxis, Triaxiom, CivicMakers and more. With us in spirit were our friends from Backfeed, CredEx, Village Lab, Ceptr, and Swarm.

Currently, our largest social media platforms are closed source, privately funded, and generally designed to maximize screen time for viewing ads and data collection for selling to third-parties. While on balance they provide tremendous benefit to many, I know that we can do better. We must.

We envision the future of the social web as an ecosystem of collaborative tools designed to enable communities, guilds, and loosely affiliated groups everywhere to collaborate, share resources, sensemake and create at a scale. These tools will rise as a way to stabilize and rejuvenate the commons, and more efficiently distribute resources to the parts of the network that need them most, rather than concentrating the resources in the hands of a few.


By the end of our gathering, we had coalesced around a number of the problems, the needs, and the specifics of our vision, and the Collaborative Technology Alliance was seeded. This group will create (and adopt when already available) standards, schemas, and protocols to enable interoperability amongst collaborative software tools. This group will also promote user-centered design amongst our member tools, and help to generate a common UI/design language for the ecosystem towards this end. ” (


“Key functions of an ecosystem of collaborative software tools:

Here are a number of areas that we have decided are critical to this collaborative ecosystem.

  • Notifications Dashboard: aggregated notifications of activity that is sourced from activity from tools in the ecosystem
  • Chat and Direct Messaging: one-to-one and one-to-many messaging, with tunable privacy as appropriate to communication goals
  • Representation of Group Membership and Group Auth: a tool that stores who is a member of which group, who can see the data that the group contains, and can invoke single-purpose tools through “group authentication”
  • Representation of which groups are using which tools: this enables the community to understand which tools are part of the set of tools in use in a given environment
  • Intent-casting + Collaborative discovery: discovery of aligned intentions + matching of available requests and offers. Can include bounties/price tags in a variety of currencies.
  • Collaborative ideation & brainstorming: allows decentralized groups to ideate and brainstorm together
  • Collaborative decision making: allows decentralized groups to come to decisions together
  • Collaborative budgeting: allows decentralized groups to allocate common-pool resources
  • Network visualization: allows users to interact with different types of visual representations of shared data and membership
  • Reputation: allows users to assess the past actions of network participants based on user tunable, context aware preferences
  • Identity: allows users to be aware of the identity of other users over time tied to reputation
  • Mutual Credit: allows users to create and track mutual credit exchanges
  • Task management: allows users to assign and track completion of tasks
  • Dues collection: allows users to pool resources
  • Common Resource Pool Management: allows users to pool resources that can be invested collectively
  • Crowdfunding: allows users to gather small contributions from large numbers of people
  • Cryptoequity: allows users to share equity in each other’s projects and work with outside financing
  • Smart Contracts: allows users to create contracts with each other that are machine-executable
  • Personal data management and export tools: allow users to manage access to and export their private data .”


The state of affairs

Edward West (2015):

“There are currently a number of easy-to-use, user-experience first, collaborative software tools that are open-source, peer-to-peer licensed, and designed to benefit the commons.

Some are created by social enterprises, some are non-profits, some are informal projects. While their forms are different, what unites them is their intention to benefit the commons. However they are currently not well linked together.

A solution to the “tool fatigue” challenge lies in creating interoperability amongst these tools, and protocols for allowing the creation and integration of more tools. This way we can begin to knit together into a flexible, collaborative open social web — facilitating the creation of a culture of creativity, collaboration, and mutual support, for the rejuvenation of the commons — at the scale required for a connected and collaborative humanity. For our vision of sophisticated technological interoperability to be real, where tools are passing data to other tools, group authentication is managed by one tool for an other, data is exportable, people are managing budgets in one tool, and making important decisions in another; for it to work, it has to feel easy, fun, simple, obvious; it has to feel like play. “ (

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