Following the International academic conference in Lyon on complementary currencies (CC), Community Forge invited practitioners to a special meeting at the Tiocan, outside Geneva on 18th-20th February.
With LETS leaders from 4 continents, currency implementers from 2 continents, local CC initiatiators, software engineers, alternative bankers, young entrepreneurs and the Community Forge staff present, we took advantage of our diversity in profiles, ages and cultures to spend a weekend together identifying the greatest needs in the movement and what Community Forge could do about them.
SWOT Analysis of the CC movement
We asked the 25 people present, and those that attended via skype, to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunites and Threats of the movement. Here are the compiled results in order of frequency.
Break-out groups formed
Based on the SWOT analysis discussion, we divided into different groups and adressed topics such as:
- Software requirements
- Resource center
- Translation solution for multicultural approaches
- The Tiocan's local currency project
- Funding proposal
- Our view on a label for complementary currency (certification)
Resource Center / Community of Practice
A resource center would be a place to gather documents, info, videos, reports, stories about complementary currencies.
Time Banks USA is already working on this called 'Time for the World' and is seeking to engage with the wider movement. In addition Stephen de Meulenaere offered his site, http://complementarycurrency.org which already has substantial resources on it, to be the venue. Details to be announced later.
With twenty years in the field, Stephen de Meulenaere led the discussion, which addressed software requirements, but was more concerned with the future of CES, and the global software infrastructure for mutual credit systems. In the end a clear direction emerged and the following commitments were made:
- Community Forge will work with CES to support the design and creation of CES new platform
- Tim Jenkin will finish work on Clearing Central & MS will make Drupal work with it
- Matthew Slater will prioritise Drupal 7 version of software working ASAP
- Complementary currency.org will be migrated to Drupal and opened up to be more useful for the Community of Practice
- Joshua Zeidner will release a limited demonstration of the Geneva Engine by May
The high failure rate of CCs leads to disappointment and lack of credibility. The need was clearly voiced for some kind of standards body, probably NOT Community Forge itself, but something new, based in Geneva. This would require funding. In the mean time, we will move forward with the Community of Practice to create a funding proposal and some draft standards.
French and English were mixed and realtime-translated in order to provide full understanding for all participants.
I was really happy to be able to meet so many CC specialists at the same time in the same place and to get something out of our collective intelligence.
The organisation went really smoothly and we are greatful to our hosts, Joss & Nico of Tiocan who provided such wonderful meals and atmosphere.
Donations from the Community Forge users community made this weekend possible. €1100 were given to objectifgaia association, and 500€ was spent on transportation and misc.
Collaboration is continuing on BetterMeans.
Thanks to all involved and feel free to comment below!
Etienne, des Valeureux