Commons Abundance Network - Post-conference 2013

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Commons Abundance Network post-conference side event

On May 25 sessions are being offered under the title: : "How to get there from here? conference followup and post-conference planning".

Invitation to explore mutual empowerment through exploration and further development of THE COMMONS ABUNDANCE NETWORK

  • When? May 25th, 9am -12
  • HBF Building, room depending on size of attendees to be assigned
  • For whom? Participants from all conference streams are welcome.

Together we shall explore how CAN can empower you and your communities and how we can make it more relevant specifically to your needs as commoners, commons communities and networks.

What is CAN?

The Commons Abundance Network (CAN) is an emerging Social Learning Network to enable commons and commoners to learn from one another, share best practices, resources and expertise, collaborate, innovate, and open channels for advocacy from local - P2P to global levels. As our initiative is in its formative stage, it will benefit enormously from ideas, suggestions, help, thoughts, support that conference participants may give!

CAN includes:

  • A social network, where members can register, and send messages to other members,
  • A wiki, called NORA (Needs, Organizational forms and Resources for Abundance), an information resource on how appropriate organizational forms - typically based on commoning - can use resources sustainably while satisfying the needs of humans and other living things,
  • Groups that members can form and join, within which they can
  • create and edit documents (in titanpad or other formats).

More functions are planned, such as optimizing the existing groups forums function.

Questions to explore at the Workshop

Questions regarding the needs of the commons community

  • What additional collaboration tools would you (we? as commoners?) like to have on a commons platform?
  • What kinds of governance structures do you (we?) find useful for collaborative online networks?
  • Which sources of revenue do you find support mission-driven ventures?
  • What other kinds of user interface do you find would be the most engaging?
  • What additional services might help you members of the community to reach out to others?

Questions regarding CAN as a response to the needs of the community

  • What are your current initiatives and how could CAN help to interconnect them?
  • Which types of collaboration tools are available and would be most suitable for our common purposes?
  • What types of governance structures would be suitable for CAN to empower the community?
  • What sources of funding would best support this mission?
  • How can we make CAN more useful to users/members?
  • How can we best market our package to the commons community?
  • How can we best reach out to others?

More specific questions on improving CAN

We have a variety of users in mind as we are developing CAN, and hence a variety of reasons why people might want to join CAN, as elaborated on our Is CAN for Me? page.

We already offer some of the information resources and collaboration tools mentioned on that page, but have a lot yet to build. Hence, depending on the time available and the interests of participants, we may discuss some of the following questions on how to optimize our offerings for people with particular needs or interests:

For those who are perplexed how to come to grips with the social, economic and environmental problems that are disrupting your life and that of other people worldwide:

How can CAN, and NORA, best place you in contact with people and communities that have found ways of dealing with many of the issues that confront you today, and with networks or groups you can join to develop the solutions most appropriate to your situation? How can the NORA and member search functions make it as easy as possible to find the information and the people you need?

For those who would like support in creating a community/group/network of people where all can meet their needs by working together in an open and democratic manner:

How can the NORA portal and the CAN social network best help you to find people who can share their experiences with you and help you get started?

For those who want to work in a meaningful job that contributes to creating a better world, or have extra time that you would like to spend doing something beneficial for your community:

Would it be useful for you if the CAN social network provided postings of job and volunteer opportunities at commons-oriented organizations. What kinds of information would you want to have available?

For those who need to find people with whom to collaborate to start a commons-oriented organization:

What kind of a mechanism would work best to help you find like-minded people, who are themselves looking for partners? Could there be a board where people pin up ideas for projects they have in mind, in such a way that others may find them?

For those who are already working in a commons:

Would you want to do use the CAN site as part of your work, by contributing to NORA, creating a group, or connecting with other members individually? How much of a learning curve would you consider acceptable - or not - when doing this? Would you be more ready to share your own experiences if you found that CAN offered a rich information resource already? Or if CAN made it easier for you to access people with skills you don't have, but to which you need access?

For those who are a leader in a commons-based initiative, and need to find more people to work for them – either as volunteers or as paid employees:

Would you be interested in using the CAN social network to advertise such vacancies?

For those who wish to expand their commons community or cooperative by reaching out to like-minded organizations in order to make their venture successful:

Would you consider the CAN social network as a means to facilitate the establishment of new organizational partnerships? What would CAN have to be able to offer so that you would use it in this way?

For those who have made progress in creating greater abundance for yourself and others through better commoning methods and wish to let others know how they can do it too:

Would you consider adding or updating information on the NORA portal, which is similar to Wikipedia? How much time would you be willing to devote to such an effort, including time spent learning how to use the software? Would you consider making yourself available through the CAN social network so that others engaged in similar projects can consult you?

For those who wish to advocate for the use of the best commons-based practices such as those above, anywhere from your a community to the United Nations:

Would you be interested in the NORA portal and the CAN social network as a means to find and formulate solutions, policy and develop strategy with like-minded organizations and provides channels to bring these to the attention of world leaders, the United Nations, civil society organizations and governments at all levels? Which features of CAN would you consider the most critical in these endeavors?

If you have ideas, best practices or tools that you wish to make available to help people or communities worldwide:

Would you be interested in a CAN membership that alerts you to channels as these open up for you to share across language, social, economic and political boundaries; and as a means to speak to governments who are seeking such solutions?

If you/your community wish to give input to world policy:

Are you interested in CAN's potential to

  • put you in touch with peers from around the globe who might wish to work with you;
  • facilitate global consultations you can participate in cross language lines;
  • create venues where global policy is developed, as well as a platform from which to interact with national delegates who are negotiating agreements for their countries?

For those who believe that we must build a world where all people have access to, produce, manage and share equitably in the resources of nature and society which they need to survive and thrive; and if you believe that such a world must foster the well-being of all people and nature; and that it is therefore necessary for all people to have an equitable say in how our world develops:

Would you be excited by the prospect of using the informational, networking, planning and action modalities of CAN to help people, communities and networks to create relationships that empower one another and weave an ever stronger foundation for a global economy that creates abundance for all? Which features of CAN would you wish to use for the purpose?


Wolfgang Hoeschele: whoesch (at) truman dot edu

Helene Finidori: hfinidori (at) yahoo dot com

Both of us will be staying in the Best Western Hotel during the conference.