New Zealand social innovators taking collaborative democracy tool to the world

art_filipe tohi 09Wellington-based social enterprise Loomio is today launching an international crowdfunding campaign to make their collaborative decision-making software accessible globally.

“Whether you are in business, government or the community sector, we all know that collaboration is key to continuing growth and good social and business outcomes,”said Loomio co-founder Vivien Maidaborn.

“So we’re ready to build a new tool for truly inclusive decision-making – Loomio 1.0.”

Loomio is a simple online tool for collaborative decision-making, built by a diverse team at the Enspiral social impact hub in Wellington. The organisation is driven by a social mission: To make it easy for anyone, anywhere, to participate in decisions that affect them.

Over the last 18 months the Loomio team has built a prototype that’s now being used by thousands of people both in New Zealand and around the world. Last year, Wellington City Council used Loomio to collaborate with citizens on policy development, and Loomio recently partnered with Pathways, New Zealand’s leading national provider of community-based mental health and wellness services, to roll out Loomio as a tool for internal organising.

Further afield, the Greek Direct Democracy Alliance has recently set up over 450 Loomio groups, covering every prefecture and region of Greece, with plans to open a nationwide conversation about how to fix democracy in the lead-up to regional elections.

“We’re delighted by the great things people are already doing with the prototype. We know its potential, and we know its limitations. So now we need to step up and build the real thing – a truly inclusive platform that’s totally mobile and accessible to everyone,” said Maidaborn.

“Loomio 1.0 will be mobile so people without computers can access it, accessible so people of all abilities can use it, and we’re making it easy for businesses and individuals host your own instance so you can take complete control of your data and privacy.”

The organisation is using an open-source platform called CrowdtiltOpen to run their campaign, which allows fundraisers to build their own page. Loomio is aiming to raise over US$100,000.

“We are aiming high with this campaign – With our goal of US$100,000 we can build a great mobile tool. But if we exceed US$250,000, we are pre-approved for an additional 40% matched-funding grant from Callaghan Innovation,” said Maidaborn.

“This would allow us to build an SMS-based decision-making framework for parts of the world where even mobile internet is out of reach, as well as launching a collaboration training program in schools around New Zealand.

“Loomio is a values-driven social enterprise, and it’s important to us that money should never be a barrier to meaningful participation in decision-making. We’re embracing the gift economy, so that we can give something amazing back to the world.”

Loomio has already been translated into more than a dozen languages by volunteers around the globe. Within the past two weeks, Loomio users have started translating the software into Ukrainian, in response to requests from civic activists there.

“We’re feeling more urgency than ever to get Loomio out into the world. We’re crowdfunding so we can make it available where it’s needed most.”

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A press pack is available upon request.

For more information please contact:

Alina Siegfried

alina@loomio.org

+64 27 863 5848

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