Week 11 - Testing the prototype

Posted by Ian Drysdale on Friday 25 June 2021

We’re exploring the question: How might tech support communities to carry out collective decision-making and collective design?

Last week we pulled together a clickable prototype of ‘Saxford Giving’, a website that helps members of the community collectively decide what to fund in their community.

It’s an open source autonomous micro-grant organisation.

With the prototype we believe:

  • It can demonstrate slick user experience at all stages of a grant process.
  • It’s provocative: it shows the extreme of removing staff and their bias.
  • It can demonstrate radical transparency because all data and decisions are structured. It can state “this project was funded on this day, and was voted on by these people, with these results”.
  • It demonstrates how tech could achieve HUGE scale by removing humans. What if the Lottery used it to grant fund every postcode, every month?
  • It’s not unrealistic: think about Meetup.com. Every month it encourages organisers to host a new event, it goes out and finds possible attendees, it takes payments, it gets their RSVP, it collects feedback afterwards.

This week, we put the prototype in front of some people for their feedback! We showed it to Khadra from Camden Giving and Samuel from The Other Foundation. We were interested to see if they saw how it might have application in the work their doing with Participatory Grant Making.

Cassie also introduced us to The Onion Collective, who’ve been working on a fascinating project called Understory. Georgie was kind enough to talk to us about that and then offer some thoughts on the prototype. I also got a chance to catch up with Sam from Free Ice Cream, too.

It’s got us thinking about what else we might add to the prototype to ‘reveal the community’ to itself all the time - show who’s in the room, how decisions are getting made and where there might be gaps. We’ll show some of this next week!

In the meantime, in preparation for wrapping up the project, Paul’s been furiously writing! For the prototype to make sense beyond the duration of this project and without one of us introducing it, it needs more words to help you understand the decisions we’ve been making along the journey. You can see where he’s got to here.

Next week is our last full week on it. It’s going to be busy. We’ll pull that write up together and get it online. We’ll also illustrate how the prototype might present the data it’s collecting about funding and the community over time. It’s going to be fun :)

Thanks for reading,

Ian & Paul