Open Climate Collabathon

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Tiberius Brastaviceanu, founder of the Sensorica project, is interviewed by Sebastian Klemm:

  • Sebastian Klemm: Why do you engage for the Open Climate Collabathon? What is the role of Sensorica in the related ecosystem?

Tiberius Brastaviceanu: I found the Collabathon through the Climate Chain Coalition. I was sold to it as soon as I read the introduction of this project. Everything sounded just perfect.

The goal is to create a shared platform, open source, using a participatory process. This is like writing Wikipedia, or developing Linux, or participating in Bitcoin. All these things are built and maintained by a diverse ecosystem of stakeholders, none of which in particular controls the thing. Only this type of thing is global from birth and inclusive by design. Only this type of thing is totally detached from the current economic system, since they have been created through commons-based peer production. I thought that the approach and the nature of the climate accounting platform were suited for the goal, which is in essence to tackle a global wicked problem.

  • Sebastian Klemm: Amidst these challenging times and in anticipation of impending recessions in response to the COVID-19 lockdowns:

What opportunities do you see for people to engage in co-creative crowd-developments like the Open Climate Collabathon with regards to the work of the future & the future of work?

Tiberius Brastaviceanu: I believe that the type of organisation that we are building for the Collabathon will become dominant in the future, replacing centralized, command and control type organisations. This is extremely important for the future of work, if we want to understand the context in which future workers will evolve and the new skills that they will need to acquire.

Today, it is still too early. Commons-based peer production cannot reproduce itself well outside capitalism or socialism. But a lot of hybrid models give us a hint about the future.

One thing has become clear, though, during the COVID crisis, open source innovation and commons-based peer production plays a non-negligible role in generating rapid solutions in times of crisis. Communities and individuals have spontaneously organised to deal with this crisis. Thousands of skillful individuals have engaged in the development of mechanical ventilators and masks, SARS-CoV-2 test kits, mobile applications for contact tracking and for coordinating mutual help and care, to name just a few. Since March, we recorded 63 groups focused on open source solutions for the coronavirus crisis, on Facebook alone.

Open source enables faster innovation, as everyone can build on the existing. In parallel, over 80 online hackathons were organised. April 24-26, 380 volunteers organised EUvsVirus, a hackathon initiated by the European Innovation Council to federate projects realized across Europe. 20,900 people registered to this event, which resulted in 2,150 projects submitted. At the same time, traditional organisations worldwide bridged with the crowd, proposing over 26 challenges and prices to crowdsource innovation.

This burst of crowd-based organised action propagated on top of existing networks of hackers and makers of all sorts, sharing a common culture of open collaboration. Governments around the world have started to pay attention to this phenomena, acknowledging its potential. Open source development and open science are well documented, but they have not yet been integrated into the mainstream. Some have coined the term “fourth sector” in referring to this wide-scale mobilization of individuals around a common purpose or issue.

  • Sebastian Klemm: Since the Open Climate Collabathon is less a competitive hackathon but a vision to engage everyone on a common planetary cause, namely the development of a global open and transparent climate accounting system: How can collaboration be rewarded?

Tiberius Brastaviceanu: Collaboration, in general, can be rewarded in many ways. We all know that, but once in a while we fall into the trap of thinking that only money can motivate people to work. Wikipedia is written by thousands of individuals who don’t ask to be paid. Many great things today are made by people with no money involved in the process. Does it mean that all these people are volunteers? What do we mean by a volunteer?

Many of these processes exhibit a complex system of incentives: they offer an opportunity to learn something new, to make some new friends, to show our skills and be recognized or validated, to make money on the side by monetizing services, once we’ve built a reputation. We can lump that into one phrase: enlightened self-interest. To that, we add the cause, the purpose, or the spiritual dimension. But we can go further and include tangible benefits directly related to efforts.

In other words, some people involved can get paid for their work from grants or even from the economic activity that can be generated around the project. At this moment we are considering the possibility to distribute development grants to participants." (

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