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The Missing Part of the Internet – Collaborative Decision-Making Made Easy with Loomio

The world needs a better way to make decisions together

“The new era of digital democracy is one source of hope. New formats for web-based participation, like Loomio, and enablers of grassroots engagement… are flourishing.” — The Huffington Post

Democracy isn’t just about politics — it’s people getting together and deciding how things should be. It’s a skill we can practice with people wherever we are: in our workplaces, our schools, and our communities.

Loomio is a user-friendly tool for collaborative decision-making: not majority-rules polling, but actually coming up with solutions that work for everyone. We’re a small team in New Zealand, and we’ve built a prototype that people are already doing great things with. Now we’re crowdfunding so we can build the real thing: a new tool for truly inclusive decision-making.


A Collaborative Decision-Making Tool

This campaign will fund the development of Loomio 1.0, which will be:

  • mobile, so it works across all devices
  • safe, so you can control your own data and privacy
  • accessible, so people of all abilities can participate
  • free and open-source software, licensed under AGPL3
  • as easy to use as email

Real democracy needs to include everyone

Our mission is to make it easy for anyone anywhere to participate in decisions that affect them.

The internet has made it so easy to talk to each other, but there’s no easy way to make decisions together online. Loomio bridges that gap, providing space for people to come together and talk things through, hear all perspectives, and reach clear outcomes. It’s like a missing piece of the internet, and we need your support to build it.

Who are we? Why us?

“New Zealand start-up Loomio… looks set to go on to great things.” — The Guardian

We’re a small team of open-source developers, facilitators and activists in New Zealand, organised as a social tech cooperative. We’ve got the skills we need and we’ve already delivered a lot with very little. We’re supported by a social impact tech hub called Enspiral.

After 18 months of learning from the thousands of people using our prototype, we know exactly what an inclusive tool for group decision-making needs to be. We’re passionate about user-centred design and we’re expert in group process, with decades of facilitation experience on the team.


Learn about the whole team

What is this campaign going to fund?

We’ve taken everything we’ve learnt from the thousands of users of the beta prototype, and designed a whole new platform that will make online decision-making truly accessible.

$100k will fund the core team to dedicate all of their time to get a first release out before the end of this year. Our first milestone for a stable release in November 2014. This will include:

  • A fully-featured platform for decentralised decision-making: organic group formation, decision-first architecture, full email integration.
  • A lightweight mobile interface built in AngularJS and HTML5.
  • A Docker file for easy local installations.
  • Compatibility with screen-readers and other assistive technologies.
  • Multi-lingual support (we support 17 languages so far, with more on the way)

The bigger vision

If we raise $252,108, Callaghan Innovation (a large innovation funder in New Zealand) has approved a matched-funding grant, which means every $1 we raise is multiplied by 1.4x. This will enable us to work on:

  • decentralized/federated architecture
  • an SMS-based decision-making framework for parts of the world where mobile internet is out of reach
  • a plug-in architecture to enable an ecosystem of open-source plug-ins for different discussion and decision-making protocols that will scale to much larger groups
  • an API for interoperability with other online tools

Support us to give something amazing back to the world

You’re not just supporting a vision, you’re getting a tool that will make a real difference in your own life, in your work, and in your community. So it’s up to all of us. Will this missing piece of the internet be developed on open platforms, for the public good? That’s a decision that you can help to make right now.

Find out more and make your contribution here!

6 Comments

  1. This is amazing.

    I work in a system operations environment. We use JIRA as an issue tracking / project management tool. It gives you the ability to vote on an issue, in the same way you might like something on Facebook, but this tool makes that experience all the more richer. Great for start-ups and community organisations. Not only to decide on things, but to track their projects.

  2. I’m so very happy to promote enabling tools like this. I hope our readers will get behind it. Such resources can be powerful instigators of desperately needed positive change.

    1. Out of there all the bullet points I only understood two. I do not have clue what the others actually mean. Maybe if you want people to crowd fund something you should pitch it in language than non-techies can understand?

  3. Just a note to say that we’ve been using the beta version of Loomio for about six months in our work on the Spokane Food Forest. All of our team members are geographically distributed and Loomio (coupled with dropbox) has been a valuable asset in exchanging ideas, achieving consensus, and moving the project forward. Good to see this Loomio v-1.0 effort taking shape!

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