6-May-2017 Great Hucklow

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06-05-2017: CoTech meeting at the Co-operatives UK Workers Co-op Weekend

Attending: Mateus Crow, Kayleigh Walsh, Nick Sellen, Maria Young, Aaron Hirtenstein, Szczepan Orlowski, Geoff Morgan, Chris Croome, Jonathon Cook, Jim Noble, Roy Brooks (There were many others attending whose names I don't know. Please add yourselves to this list!)

Notes: Jim Noble


  1. Wortley Hall
  2. CoTech camp
  3. Community discussion board
  4. Skill sharing
  5. AOB
    • Future plans for CoTech identity and marketing

Wortley Hall

Wiki page: Wortley Hall 2017

  • Booked by Agile Collective for 3 days in November.
  • 20% deposit paid.
  • So far funded by 5 co-ops:
    • Outlandish
    • Agile Collective
    • B.D.E
    • Tableflip
    • Go Free Range

Roadmap / timetable

  1. Start outreach initiatives
  2. Approach SolidFund re. bursary funding and event insurance.
  3. Approach Seeds of Change for facilitation work.
  4. Setup online booking form (June 30)
  5. Setup wikipage to collect ideas for the Agenda: Wortley Hall 2017
  6. Pay Wortley Hall invoice 1 week before event. (End October).


  • Based on information gathered from the booking form about how many people intend on coming, and how many can pay the ticket price, the Network should approach SolidFund for event insurance to make sure that no-one ends up losing money.
  • SolidFund may also be able to offer bursaries for co-op members who need help with the ticket prices.
  • N.b.: It takes time to make a SolidFund application. Start early!
  • There may be other grant options for bursaries which we can find.
  • Sponsored tickets would be another way to help people without money to attend the event.
  • Wortley Hall will issue a single invoice, one week before the event.

Booking form

  • Ticketing needs to be fair and inclusive.
  • Booking form will be available online.
  • The aim of the booking form will be to guage interest, find out how many people are planning to come, and how many of them can pay the full amount.
  • The booking form should capture two forms of booking:
    • Option A: Pay full amount now.
    • Option B: Want to register interest, but not suree I can pay.
  • To keep track of the collaborations going on in the Network over the last year, the booking form should contain a section for people to add a brief case study of CoTech work they would like to report back to the network.
  • Last year the pricing was very transparent and the component costs clearly explained. This was seen as a good thing that should be repeated this year.
  • Online banking / payment options could be prohibitively time consuming and expensive to set up. Web Co-op have a system they use. Someone in the network should get in touch and find out if they can advise us on a time/cost-effective solution. AP: Aaron to contact Ed at Web Co-op.

Event organisation

  • Would like to use Seeds of Change as facilitators again this year. There was some side conversation following the meeting between Chris (Webarchitects) and Kayleigh (Outlandish) re. the relative merits of Inspiral, but the latter were considered too expensive, and to be following their own agenda.
  • Online booking and ticket payments. There was concern around last year's experience of having to chase money from attendees long after the event which was both time consuming and financially difficult for Outlandish. This year we would like to get payment for tickets as early as possible.
  • An online booking form should be in place by June 30.
  • We should aim for everyone to have paid for their tickets by the end of September.

Event agenda

  • This is something that was seen as being non-urgent. A wiki page will be has been set up and everyone in CoTech can contribute agenda items on the run up to the event.
  • Broad loose categories for discussion was considered enough to build the event around.
  • Some felt that last year there was too much attention paid to compiling the agenda and that we will be able to agree on what we want to discuss when we all get there


  • Some sort of outreach needs to be put in place.
  • Last year it was notable how few women were in attendance. This year the feeling is that we should work hard to spread the word about CoTech and draw under-represented groups into the network.

CoTech camp

What we know!

  • A large field in Kent on the edge of the downs near a luxury cottage with room for 7 folk who don't like camping has been found. The neighbouring landowner has a swimming pool that we might be able to get access to for ablutions.
  • Event is loosely scheduled for end of August (TBC).
  • There is a thread on Loomio with more information about the current thinking around the event.
  • Currently the event is seen as a cheaper alternative to Wortley hall to pull additional people into the network. It will be a shared cooking event to keep prices down.
  • People at the meeting felt a clearer explanation of how this event complements Wortley Hall would be useful.
  • There was a concern that the event should not sit in competition with the Wortley Hall event, and that it should not turn partisan.
  • Other members at the meeting felt the event was about group consolidation and community building.
  • Other members were unclear about the level of enthusiasm for the event and wondered how many people were likely to go?

Community discussion board

  • Loomio is seen as limiting for people who want to join in the CoTech discussion, but are not members of co-op organisations.
  • Chris from Webarchitects has setup a Discourse discussion board to supply this space. It can be found at community.coops.tech.
  • There are a few ongoing teeting p roblems around replying to thread emails, but these will hopefully be ironed out in the next few days.
  • The platform should be available next week. It is available for everyone in CoTech, but is open for anyone to join.
  • It will be friendlier to outsiders and relieve some of the pressure on Loomio.
  • Please can everyone sign up for accounts.
  • Chris will send out notifications on all channels (maybe including Twitter and Facebook) when everything is good to go.

Inclusivity and Language

  • In relation to multi-channel engagement, Yeva raised a concern that the level of technical and jargon laced language could come across as unfriendly / unwelcoming to non-technical participants. Some induction / jargon-busting would be appreciated, and people might be more mindful to be friendly and helpful.

contact@coops.tech emails

  • Kayleigh is currently answering emails coming in to the contact@coops.tech email address.
  • To lighten the load it was suggested that those enquiries that weren't income generating could be referred to the community discussion board with a standard email. AP: Chris offered to articulate this in an email and to update the website directing people accordingly.

Skill sharing

  • Members of CoTech are keen to share skills and working processes. Mateus asked the question: How do we set this in motion?
  • Arrange to spend a day in other people's workspaces / live in a different co-op for a day.
  • Three options were discussed:
    1. If you do something really well, shout about it to the network and do a show and tell on Google Hangouts.
    2. If you want to know how to do something specific, ask the question and go and find out.
    3. Jamming / Hacking - co-ops can arrange topic based events to get other network members working together and sharing ideas.
  • Animorph generously offered to host a Pizza, beer and code event on May 19th/20th TBC. Several people at the meeting indicated this was something they would like to get together for.
  • Agile Collective issued an open invitation to interested individuals who wanted to come and work in our offices for a day.
  • Outlandish are taking on more space at their offices for desk and event space. The refurbishments will be finished in June. People from the Network were invited to make use of this space in the newly renamed Outlandish Towers building.
  • Yeva offered space in their offices in Canary Wharf for CoTech event usage also.


Future plans for CoTech identity and marketing

  • Szczepan expressed interest in the current state of the CoTech identity.
  • Is there a consistent narrative the network is using to draw in new people?
  • How are we planning to tell the world about CoTech?
    • There is a Manifesto on the website.
    • There is a video on the homepage.
  • Is there a marketing plan?
    • Kayleigh is currently spreading the word to individuals as the opportunity arises.
    • Currently there is no network level marketing plan, or marketing materials to attract outsiders.
  • Email badges and website markers were discussed. Stickers were mentioned.
  • Easily distributable communications materials aimed at outreach might increase the authenticity of the Network.
  • This could be worth brainstorming at Wortley Hall.
  • Without offering to take it on here and now, Gildedsplinters indicated that triggering interest and stirring the pot were activities they were particularly good at!