Tue 26 Jul 2016

Co-creating book: "Glimpses of a new society" (working title)

Jake Hansen Public Seen by 62

This thread is for people interested in co-authoring a book or perhaps several books on contemporary Commons Transition-related cases and topics. Following a dialogue in the thread https://www.loomio.org/d/UTN1QfRJ/rushkoff-rebooting-work-programming-the-economy-for-people (go there, search for 'book' and read up if you like)

The exact topic(s) of the book is not defined yet as is the process in which the book will be written, as this is exactly the thing to be decided by interested co-authors together in this thread. Some ideas could be: case studies of successful cases, attractive design and lots of nice pictures, simple and elegant style, aimed at people interested in the topics but not 'inner circle', searching for overlapping themes of interest to the various co-authors, doing a 'Book Sprint' to write the thing in 1 week together.

Also, the title is merely a working title at the moment, to give a bit of a feeling where things might go.

Sounds interesting enough? Let's go!


Jake Hansen Tue 26 Jul 2016

For easy read-up I made a structured summary of my points from the original thread:

First ideas on contents:
- My topics of interest include: community-based (product) development, P2P production, systemic societal change, open source economy, open design products, Internet of Things, (modular) open design housing and living indepedently/off the grid, sustainable living, all revolving around innovation, technology and entrepreneurial initiatives.

  • I would prefer the more tangible product-based cases, like Open Source Ecology and less about the network organizations like P2P Foundation (but do include successful projects they supported/executed); product-oriented community-based/P2P initiatives, aimed at providing basic building blocks for a new society (construction, energy, food, healthcare, transportation, monetary system, etc).

  • I am also more interested in case studies for longer-term initiatives and of things that can scale up, rather than for example a research project that was once done, has been successful, and that was that.

  • Besides cases, intermezzos could be included as well, as long as they are easily worded, brief, visual and do not comprise of more than 25% of the contents.

First ideas on form:
- An inspirational, visually appealing (design + photo material) book for non-insiders, giving case studies of successful initiatives/projects/products in our domain. A lot of visuals, personal stories, attractive anecdotes, not too much 'dry theory'.

First ideas on target audience:
- Targeted towards people who are interested, but not insiders.

First ideas on writing process:
- http://www.booksprints.net/

Inspiring (somewhat) related works:
- http://thepowerofopen.org/
- http://www.positive.news
- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/creativecommons/made-with-creative-commons-a-book-on-open-business/description (I a co-creator)

My writing credentials:
- 2 times Bachelors Thesis (Computer Science and Business Administration, 1 time Master's Thesis (Economics), 1 academic paper, handful of articles in business magazines, followed several writing courses and written lots of reports during my time as Management Consultant.

Does any of this resonate with you? What would you like to see different? What is your interest? Please do share.


John Kellden Tue 26 Jul 2016

Great idea! https://goo.gl/jJNtP2


Nicolas Stampf Tue 26 Jul 2016

Wow, big apologizes! The paste was supposed to be limited to the list only. I only have access to a phone right now hence my big error.

Forget everything else in my previous post, except for the list which i try to recopy below. Editing the previous comment doesn't work.

Can we list the tentative topics do people can see where they might contribute?

I have started an early draft at http://bit.ly/UP-draft where i proposed some topics which i paste below, for a starter:

List of topics to be included

Agriculture (food),



Economy (currencies),


Environment (resources: non-renewable and others)

Governance (politics),





Technology (energy, manufacturing, transport, IT...),

Another interesting map (though less exhaustive) is the one produced by Blaqswans (link to P2PFoundation website.

Last link is: http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/mapping-the-emerging-post-capitalist-paradigm-and-its-main-thinkers/2015/11/29


Nicolas Stampf Tue 26 Jul 2016

Ok, using the tablet it seems I could delete the erroneous comment. Again, my apologizes!


Jake Hansen Fri 29 Jul 2016

Yes, great list of topics/categories, covering all the areas where P2P/commons transition has some kind of impact. Perhaps we could develop a chapter/part for each of them, or at least the main ones, giving an intro (why?), a compelling case (what?), including some personal stories/interviews, and some open questions and challenges. And perhaps a 'what you can do' part.

The infographic is a great starting point to find people and cases.

How about we invite some more people into this thread, who could be potential co-authors?


Nicolas Stampf Fri 29 Jul 2016

No doubt we need more people. But do we know how to make them work together on the texts (or on the details of the chapters first)?

Putting my systemic hat on, I make a note that interactions between all the topics are interesting well to investigate. Like for instance: local money fosters local communities, local and better food, less energy consumed for growing it and transport, more thriving people, hence probably more innovation, etc.

In my tentative book "United People" I proposed to use team syntegrity to organize efficiently that inter topic pollination. But maybe forums might be easier to organize...


Jake Hansen Mon 1 Aug 2016

Yes, good points. When we approach potential co-creators, we should be specific and clear of what we ask from them. And yes, the interactions are very interesting. I believe also that technology for example could not be a topic in its own right, but be part of each of the other ones.

For the past few days I have been thinking: what if we could get one person, or even better, a small team (2-3 people) as coordinators for each topic? We could send people the general idea of the book-to-be-written, then ask them if they are willing to take it upon themselves to coordinate one topic, related to their expertise. Also, people who have other non-topic expertise are very welcome, like copywriting, editing, lay-out, etc.

And to keep things hands-on, practical and not over-ambitious: perhaps we can get started by writing blog posts (/articles) on the topics? Then co-authors can 'hop on' as interested and if this goes well, in the end can result in a nice complilation (and expansion) of the posts into a fullly illustrated book. And if it does not go well, then at least we have some nice blog posts.


Greg Cassel Wed 3 Aug 2016

Collaborative writing is one of my few deepest goals, but that's necessarily on the back burner right now because of my focus on our (IMO very deficient) communications and collaboration tools and techniques. This may seem unfair, but I feel kind of like a guy who's been asked (in the past) to build a house with the wrong set of tools, and chooses instead to build new tools.

Anyway, some people are certainly more capable of teamwork than others-- and if you can create a sufficiently harmonious team, I do strongly recommend to use coordinators/facilitators per each topic/ focus area instead of positionally coercive managers/ bosses. And since the topics will be (I predict) deeply related, I would recommend for most people to be discussants/ consultants on most of the topics. Good luck!


Simon Grant Thu 4 Aug 2016

What @gregorycassel writes resonates with me as well. I'd like to help find (or build) tools and techniques that help us stay away from the mindsets of getting other people to help with "my" book writing project, or fill in "my" concept for what a book should be like.

Creating the harmonious team is indeed a big part of the challenge. Maybe, partly, we can each think about our own teamworking skills, and seek feedback for improvement; and maybe anyone who knows good exercises can bring these up. Maybe we don't so much need exercises, as a willingness to reflect on and accept positive and constructive criticism, not only about content but also about method, as we go along.

Happy to help with any of this.


Jake Hansen Thu 4 Aug 2016

Yes, very interesting! Now you mention it, I agree that process and relationship are very important in making teamwork/groupwork effective. My experience relates to teamwork when the team is in the same room/location at least most of the time. Always when their is a relational/personal problem going on, forget about talking about process or content, first fix the relationship. And if the relationship is in order, but people do not agree on the process, forget about the content. First agree on the process.

So it seems we agree on this to some degree, how to proceed? I have no experience doing this in co-located teams or a distributed bunch of people, or even when no team has been formed. Clearly the Book Sprint is an effective way to write a book collaborately, but it depends on: (1) having the team/people already identified and willing and (2) having the team in the same physical location.

We are facing a bigger challenge with: (1) getting more co-creators interested and on board and (2) not having co-creators in the same physical location.

What is the practial next step? @gregorycassel, looks like you have more experience with this, what is your advice? Has a book been written in this way successfully, so we can build upon the experience of people and lessons learned there?

As we already have the first contours of a team, my proposal would be: then start establising that relationship and group culture. It seems not practical to get together physically, so then perhaps via video conferencing?


Jake Hansen Thu 18 Aug 2016

Today at Koppelting (http://koppelting.org/) I found one of the organizers very interested in creating a book like this. Actually, he already had a similar idea he wants to work on, looking for collaborators. We will be doing a workshop/session tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday at the event, brainstorming and co-writing.

The idea is to go towards a "Lonely Planet Travel Guide for the Commons", a sort-of guide to newcomers, which can be more than 'just' a coffee table inspirational book.

If you are interested to join remotely, let me know.


Simon Grant Mon 22 Aug 2016

Great idea to have a travel guide! I don't think that's my thing, particularly, so I'd like to float alongside that the idea of a book on something more like "systems for a new society". Case studies, certainly: there can be some overlap here. Also, theoretical studies may be helpful. But, most of all, in my mind, the underlying modus operandi of mutual aid and critical friendliness. With systems hats on, we actively explore not only how each "solution" can influence each other, but how the very concepts, and designs, can be strongly and vitally influenced by the presence of others in the same envisaged world.

So, I have this idea of a great tool to help people find others with common interests. How is this idea modified, altered (perhaps radically) by being seen alongside other tools? There is very broad space here both for dialogue between the champions of different ideas, and for overall collective thinking. Just for example, it may be that the idea changes in response to thinking through the systems of governance that will maintain it, or vice versa?

And at a yet larger level, how does the subject matter of this book interact with the subject matter of the "travel guide" book?