Monday, March 28, 2011

Welcome to my World: The adventure begins. Stage 1. Mobilize.

Now that I've found a way to structure and test my ideas through Business Model Generation (BMG) and Customer Development, this is my first jump in the biggest pool I've ever been to until now. 

So the first stage of the BMG is to mobilize a team and sketch the first idea into a BM canvas (see below). This first canvas is only a set of hypothesis, so let's go through it:

Value Proposition

a) Background:  My value proposition comes from a visceral personal need that I believe is very common. I want to make a living out of what I love doing. And 'make a living' does not necessarily translate to make money. We'll uncover that sometime in the future. I want to work in what I love and I do not want to sell time that can be used to create awesome things, into inefficient and meaningless jobs. I am not going to sell my freedom!! But, I also have to be realistic, and I need to provide for basic needs efficiently in a world that is over-dependent on money.  Visceral!! I can't think of the possibility to work without personal, intrinsic, heartfelt motivation. Money as a motive is an illusion to me. Money as a tool is that, a tool and I welcome it as a temporary resource.

Now, if I project that need onto my communities, this is what I get. In groups like Transition Brisbane and BrisLETS, it seems that people want to do things but can't because they spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week 'working'. Then they go home, and the last thing they want to do is go to a meeting to discuss things that don't seem to go anywhere. The problem is, that these meetings of exploration and chaos must happen. The groups need to discover what are their members passions, ideas and more importantly, who are their members. I believe these connections need to happen before and while the groups deploy plans and actions. How can we set time aside to do this and not having 12 hours days?? Identify the needs of the community and create business out of them. 

Offer: Fun, inspiring, motivating and action focused workshops where the [specific] community or organization will explore their individuals passions and visceral needs, prioritize them, gather them together in clusters of possible projects and create their first business model for their ideas. With each cluster having a sketch Canvas, the community can now focus on the top priority project and launch a pilot project to test hypothesis and follow the concepts of BMG and Customer Development. Imagine the top priority project is 'local food production' and let's say that they finally have a business model and they start producing food locally. The members of this group can now make the decision of working 3 instead of 5 days a week in their official workplaces, because now they can make a living out what they love doing and ideally, in the future, the business will scale to a point where they don't need to mainstream-work anymore. Now they work locally. The local community is now certain that their community is producing food for them. So now the next project in the priority list can be addressed. This is not to say that various projects cannot be handled simultaneously, it just makes more sense to me to start with one pilot project and learn as much as possible from it so that lessons can be applied to the next one, rather than making similar or same mistakes at the same time in different projects, using more time from more people. In fact, if there is only one pilot project, lessons learned can now be applied to a couple of projects in the next level of priority, making it an iterative and scalable process.

In the end, the specific community or organization will have access to what they need, because they were the ones who discovered, prioritized and created the value to address their own needs. I dream of the day when, while needs are being increasingly and locally satisfied, the organizations and/or communities can start using local currencies and put official currencies to work for other purposes (redistribute them). A visualization to how this may happen is here, although the story needs to be reconfigured to the context of this post.

b) Background: Another personal need. I can't develop the contents for a workshop like this, and develop the whole idea, all by myself. Does anyone else share my visceral need and value proposition hypothesis?? Well, then you can come and be part of this whole thing and we'll learn through action and mutual support.

Offer: Co-creation of the workshop project and shared BMG learning. We'll follow the structure of BMG and will apply it to/test it in our own communities. I'm offering a community of practice for BMG.


a) This business model would ask Transition Brisbane and BrisLETS members. But my hypothesis so far, is that this model can be applied several times to all communities and organizations that have the same main need explained above. The common trait in this organization and communities is, however, that they have to be somewhat involved in re-localization movement. Why?? Again, it is a visceral and personal perception. I believe in re-localization from all its perspectives.

b) All possible co-creators. That is, those who share the (a) value proposition. I believe most of these members are within the complementary currency groups and those working on localization, open source anything and p2p initiatives.


a) It seems a bit early to say how exactly we may keep continuous communication with the community organization we'll present our workshop to (in my case, Transition Town and/or BrisLETS members).

b) How will I keep the work and communication going with co-creators?? I'll use BetterMeans because, to me, it has all in one place, it is like an online office. We can keep track of conversations, discussions, new departments can be created instantly...I want to explore the huge potential I see in it. So far, I have created the workstream called 'business model for community organizations', and I will create one subworkstream per step of the BM design process. So far, I started the first sub-workstream, which is the Mobilize step. You can have a look here, but to contribute you need to sign up (you can use your gmail account if you have one), and to join the team, I need to send you an invite to the workstream, so let me know (


a) The logistics of organizing and delivering the workshop 

b) All the material I/we need to immerse myself/ourselves in this project (research), and I would like to develop a membership scheme that would work as a revenue stream for the workstreams in BetterMeans. That is, co-creators may have to pay a membership fee which would not go to anyone's account, but to the NEH's account, and from it, anyone who belongs to the workshop workstream would be eligible to be compensated for their work as co-creators. More on how this membership system may work, here (look for the 'Funding' section of the post). The development of this membership scheme involves a cost.


a) The workshops
b) The co-creators membership scheme

Key activities:

a + b) Develop workshop contents and presentation
b) * Develop Membership Scheme
     * Management of the BetterMeans workstream

Key Partners: 

The Truthology Foundation has experience in setting up membership schemes in a similar fashion to the one I have in mind. Another key aspect of partnering with them, is that they have experience in helping out setting organization's bank accounts that can help to serve the purpose of what I am proposing here (using one account but being able to compensate others from it)

Here it is the synthesis of what you just read. This is the canvas of the first idea. Here is where, hopefully, the adventure begins.  You can make comments directly on the canvas if you want, but you need to sign up to the website, although you can have a look at the canvas without signing up, by clicking here

If this actually mobilizes a team, then I would amazed at how the BMG process started much earlier than I thought it would, which is pretty exciting. Also, I have to mention that the more I write, the less space for cost/price/revenues thoughts are left in this idea. I feel that this project may lead to communities that, if all their needs are addressed locally and passionately, then why would we need any type of money at all to do what we want to do?? It feel as if money as a reward can be replaced by a system for acknowledgement or community thankfulness. But I am aware that at the moment, a transitional step needs to be put in place, and nothing better than using a currency that is familiar to all to create this transition, that is why I am interested in the membership scheme, because I believe that a community, in this case the community of co-creators, can put money to circulate in different ways than the mainstream ideals of business.

Could it be that a system for acknowledgement and community thankfulness would be the next definition of money?? No rewards, no punishment, only thank you's....???

Next post will be the last of these series. What a journey. I'll talk about lessons learned from this commitment.  

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