CoTech Hack 2018/Governance and Membership

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CoTech Hack

This is a session to try and define a government and membership structure for CoTech.

First day - Governance team

29th November, 11am


  • Setting up a journal
  • Process of joining, which is currently loose
  • How co-ops can co-operate more efficiently
  • What is perception of CoTech and where is it going
  • If CoTech is the answer, what is the question - purpose of CoTech and how to deliver it
  • Better onboarding and process
  • Stronger collaboration, cobudget
  • Membership procedure, can it be slightly more accessible?
  • What CoTech is, structure is informed by the purpose


1. What is CoTech

2. What is the purpose of CoTech?

3. What questions are we trying to answer?

4. What are concrete outputs of the group?

What CoTech is:

  • A community
  • A network of value-driven businesses
  • Viable System Model
  • Shared infrastructure
  • Safe space
  • An alternative for clients to procure sustainable solutions

What CoTech is not:

  • A regular company
  • Is not a co-op itself

It‘s difficult to balance clarity and structure with freedom and flexibility. Challenge seems in being ready for ongoing evolution (learning model). Strong structure needs to exist to support bidding for big clients, particularly if we are about to pool resources, share some budget.

Purpose is to get together to solve problems in a different way than it's normally done.

However, should we draw the line and position ourselves in the opposition to Google etc. The infrastructure can be developed alongside the dominant one.

We might need to use Google but we definitely oppose the shareholder.

Cat from Dot Project - presentation & feedback on pitching to the Co-op group

After Wortley Hall last year several co-ops came together to provide digital services to the Co-ops UK (Outlandish, Agile, We are Co-op Go Free Range, Small Axe, Wave, Co-operative Web...).

The approach, appreciative inquiry: lean way, interviewing the co-op group members. Establishing common set of rules. Consortiums are capable of delivering their services faster.

Another finding was that co-ops provide top quality of the services, which means that clients get great products for relatively small amount of money.

The interviews also found that CoTech communication skills allow for coordinating several co-ops and filling for skills gaps.

This pilot project found that:

- cost of the project - 18-25% programme management overhead; client would like to drive it down, which might affect the quality of collaboration.

- Co-op Group wanted to know how this would look in practice (different companies, cultures, project management software, who's the spokeperson etc.); process mapping showed that, in practice, one organisation would need to take the lead. Dot Project had to step out of the bid because they could not afford the insurance.

The process has taken almost 9 months and there is no clear outcome.


We could have done it faster, thinking internally rather than about what the client really wanted.

There was a shortage of time, it was difficult to navigate the interests and motivations of different co-ops.

Co-op group is weird, who should be talked to, you need to know who you are dealing with otherwise the proposals disappear in the procurement process.

Examples of (un)successful collaboration in CoTech and challenges we are facing:

Regarding membership of CoTech - what is a tech co-op - how do we define it?

We do not have especially developed way/path of dealing with variety and collaboration between co-ops.

In the collaborations, with clearly defined roles it was easier to engage with the process

Understanding the client's perspective of collaboration. There's usually one leading company and the other is stepping in.

Tenders - there might not be clarity about starting the collaboration

The Bun protocol - how to pass the bun (potential project) around;

Do we use CoTech as an underlying brand that we refer to (endorsement brand) or a brand that we use to create new opportunities.

That's the pivotal decision.

There's no ledger of availability (e.g. someone has a few days to spare next week) - could people see what another group of people is up to?

How do you prioritise joint pitches when you have ongoing jobs (how to afford it). Should CoTech be client or should the co-ops do their own work. Co-ops have fend for themselves to survive and it‘s difficult to make CoTech thrive that way.

CoTech has no capacity to start projects internally.

CoTech has no overarching outpost to search for and facilitate incoming job opportunities/bids.

Solid Fund could enable time Rich & Cash Poor co-ops to meet Cash Rich & Time poor co-ops. We should facilitate more encounters.

Governance group decided to draft four proposals:

1. Membership agreement, outlining:

- benefits

- commitments & roles/responsibilities

2. Membership subscription - fund pilot project

3. Guidelines for collaboration (both for our knowledge and more client-facing)

4. Guidelines for communication