That was the week that was!
Every week for the purposes of communication I do a round up of what’s been happening in our world, this last week or so.
You may not have realised that it is now possible to buy your new Tesla with Bitcoin. What a week for the crypto.
And what a week for us. It began by talking to Eleanor of Headway on Monday who reaffirmed what frontline community groups and charities are looking for: support with funding; support with admin and support for volunteers to advance in the context of their own personal development.
In this day and age it is possible for a centralised support organisation to deliver such services digitally through what are known as platform technologies, this being the focus of our ongoing work.
Organisations like Headway are specialists in their own field and really should be supported to focus more fully on supporting people to recover from a brain injury. Eleanor sees an opportunity for goals-based-development plans for each of their service users to “encompass the personal, the spiritual and the emotional”. Personalised development plans are also what Penny and Lynne from 1000 Lives were suggesting yesterday as an idea that collectively we should pursue.Good idea.
Such a personalised development process would work for a whole range of applications such as ‘manage my money’ or ‘manage my health’. Think about it, an app that looked after your best interests.Big Brother, no! Big Sister, yes!
This ‘whole-system’ stuff really is quite interesting. The only way to pull it off is to work from the individual’s perspective outwards and to focus on giving that individual an exceptional user experience. That’s summed up in our mantra: “Do More, Get More, Be More”, and through a laser-like focus on making that experience work for people who for one reason or another, have been denied access to the kind of opportunities that most of us take for granted (good health, good wealth and good happiness), we will have created a system that is more inclusive and more accessible than the pernicious and self-serving one we have right here, right now. An agenda that my friends Tim Calvert (“Helping People Belong”) Patsy Corcoran (“Natural Born Advocates”) and Lez Smith (“Julian is Amazing”) have been pushing forward for years now. Respect.
A massive part of our work has been to figure out why our sector isn’t commissioned by the public sector as much as it could be, or should be. So our friends at Noisy Cricket did some research on our collective’s behalf, and one of the reasons is a lack of consistent delivery standards in terms of outcomes/results. Which is where Ross from Sporting Communities has been very helpful. It’s obvious when you think about it — why would you commission a service if you aren’t convinced that the service provider can deliver the service to a certain minimum standard? Some consistency around results is really what we need to be aiming for if we are to unlock the stored value of community. At least we know what the problem is now and so with the help of Ross and his team, and Lauren and her team, we can begin working towards developing an accreditation process — The Gold Standard as Julian from Green Door puts it. Quite right too.
Whilst our work in Stoke & North Staffs has taken forever to get going, the flywheel is eventually beginning to move. You can see that in our numbers but you can also see it in the interest from funders. Alex from UnLtd for example is hoping to continue her work in the region with infrastructure funding for another 12 months; The National Lottery are encouraging us to bid into the Growing Great Ideas fund, and Local Trust are sponsoring a project called Exchanges for Changes that ties back to the CTRLshift City project that commenced when we held a regeneration conference down at Spode the year before last. We also are also beginning to see glimmers of interest from private sector investments, which to me is hardly surprising given the fact that one Bitcoin now retails at $47,000, not bad for a token that is mined into existence for “work” performed by computers! DO ME A FAVOUR! I don’t understand the inherent value in a Bitcoin — yes, it’s a (volatile) store of value, but what is the value of the work that sits behind, underpins and backs it?
In this context, our token — which is earned into existence for contribution to the common good — represents VERY good value. Think about it. It’s good for the volunteer (ask Julian); it’s good for the community group (ask Green Door) and it’s good for the economy since it clears up the mess left behind by the world’s free-riders — at NO COST to the public purse. This is why we defend and advocate for the interests of community. We are of value. We just need to trust our gut and defend our line. WE ARE GOOD VALUE. WE DESERVE TO BE RESPECTED.
True? We ARE good value, aren’t we?
So we’re onto something here that’s beginning to become quite an interesting experiment in community currency development. Our friends at CryptoBates Group (who seed funded us to the tune of £5,000 some 3 years ago) are supporting our exploration into the pros and cons of creating the world’s first community crypto. One thing’s for sure about our coin compared to the likes of Bitcoin and Dogecoin (do me another favour), is that you won’t be able to hide behind an anonymous avatar and you won’t be able to peddle drugs, buy ammo or traffic humans. We’re the good guys!
But you will be able to use the coin to trade, to bargain and to hustle. Jenn Spice thinks there is an opportunity to develop what she calls ‘The Attenborough Tax’ where large carbon emitting corporates can purchase the coin voluntarily so that their contribution to the common good can be used to help community groups and charities support their beneficiaries to recover their self-confidence and sense of purpose. What’s in it for these large corporates is a transparent and public league table that ranks their contribution in relative terms to their competitors. A ranking system where impact data is published and widely disseminated, and which is easy for the public to understand would make a transparent and refreshing change to the way impact is currently reported.
But the way it could work is not even a tax.
With the backing of a high profile publicity campaign (championed perhaps by our very own BET 365 and Vodafone), these mega-corps could purchase the coin to help make an impact, and amplify their commitment to it by insisting their suppliers accept 10% of their payment in coin. Transparent public ranking that makes an impact— that’s the answer.
Yes, there’s a lot going on. Which is why our main focus is now on delivery. We have this great idea that’s gradually getting itself noticed and now we need to get organised on what we’re going to do when we have the money to invest in results. Our next priority is the development of a marketplace where the coin can be traded and exchanged. We have some very interesting commercial partnership discussions on the go here — including Mr John Farrar — a socially responsible neobank that is interested in challenging Visa’s self-serving attempts to make crypto an economic empowerment tool.
Can we do better than Visa? Yes! Can we do better than Bitcoin? Hell Yes!
Finally, good governance. That’s the only way we’re ever going to out-compete these very large corporates — by being more distributed than they are. A massive thanks to Jez Hall of Shared Future CIC who is supporting Monica and the CTRLshift Stoke team to apply the principles of participatory democracy to the way we operate and make decisions, including how much to pay each other. It’s fascinating stuff and a real opportunity to design a new economic system from the ground up — one that’s more inclusive, more diverse and more participatory than the current one.
Boy, we work with some amazing people. We truly are blessed and we truly are grateful for all the support we receive. We don’t take it for granted and we appreciate everything that’s done for us and with us and by us. One day we’ll be able to take a step back and, drink in hand, remark: “Hey — that really is a show-the-world-what-good-looks-like, show!”
One day soon, for sure.