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Bringing collaboration to decision making

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Bringing collaboration to decision making

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With crowdsourcing it is easier to get sucked in by the allure of the idea generation phase.  That’s often the sexy part where you’re seduced by the huge numbers of participants submitting some hopefully groundbreaking ideas.  It’s exciting stuff.  The actual implementation phase often pales in comparison, yet is just as important, if not more so.

I used a cycling analogy to describe such a situation last year.  Being fond of riding in the Alps, a great deal of attention goes into the various cols you’ll go over.  You plan the length and the gradient.  You think about your food and your pacing.  What you seldom think about however is going down the other side of the mountain once you’ve reached the top.

Successful innovation requires thought and attention to both phases.  This is something that New Zealand based start-up Loomio are hoping to rectify.  They have built a collaborative decision making application that has recently gone into initial crowdfunding in a bid to make their software available globally.

“The world needs a better way to make decisions together. So we’re asking the world to help us build a new tool for truly inclusive decision-making – Loomio 1.0,” said Loomio co-founder Alanna Krause.

“Real democracy is about collaboration, and it needs to include everyone. Loomio 1.0 will be mobile so people in developing nations without computers can access it, accessible so people of all abilities can use it, and we’re making it easy to host your own instance so you can take complete control of your data and privacy.”

So, what exactly is Loomio?  It’s billed as an online tool for collaborative decision making, with three primary stages.  Firstly, you get people together to talk about an issue or challenge.  Members of that community can then propose a course of action to tackle that issue.  The crowd then go to work on the proposal to make it watertight.

They have obtained a lot of community buy-in for their initial prototype, and hope that with crowdfunding support they can roll out the software in full in due course.

“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 Krause.

“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.”

Is Loomio the silver bullet to make implementation of ideas more effective?  I suspect not, but it is nonetheless an interesting project that can help organizations secure greater community involvement in the decisions they’re undertaking.  You can check out their crowdfunding video below, or back the project here.



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