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#Goteo: Validating an irrigation system for the commons

photo of chris pinchen

chris pinchen
19th December 2011


This post from Goteo describes the state and successes of the project so far:

Photo source: Botanicalls Kits, based on arduino let plants reach out for human help! They offer a connection to your leafy pal via online Twitter status updates to your mobile phone

We’ll start this post citing one of the best shared resources on the Internet - wikipedia: “Drip irrigation, also known as “drop by drop irrigation”, is an irrigation method used in arid zones which permits the optimum use of water and fertiliser.”

Here at Goteo we’ve been trying out this same system in a digital way for 40 days. And after helping “water” to arrive in the form of monetary and other resources to projects which deserve to grow, we can confirm that it works. We’re just beginning and so it’s been necessary to fertilise thoroughly through media diffusion, creating alliances for decisive help, constant feedback with a lot of people – but the system functions.

Each person can understand the “arid zone” mentioned in the article in different ways, but we are all clear about a global context in which there are cuts in budgets, ideas and possibilities in different areas which complicates the financing of good independent proposals. But we still have the Internet: an environment where some “network logics” (transparency, meritocracy, distribution, agility, viral, identity) can be used to identify the value of proposals and the people behind them, and to provide what is necessary to make them happen.

Lessons and achievements

These first days of financing, conversations and hectic social-media-ing have been, above all, a learning process. We’re validating theories which we believed could work after rehearsing them in workshops, understanding important aspects of putting together crowdfunding campaigns, working on the best way to give a constructive response to the proposals which come in, and discovering modules which need to be improved or developed before releasing the platform.

So far, three of the first projects with which we opened up the platform have achieved the minimum financing which allows them to pass to the second round of Goteo, together reaching about €13,000 and dozens of offers of help in exchange for the collective returns. They will still need to cover their financial necessities but now they can begin to get down to work, sharing their developments on the Goteo platform and through their own communication networks. But most importantly they will continue to need the energy of a community to go further and create the collective returns which we are interested in and which benefit everybody.

Tuderechoasaber.es has been the first project to reach the minimum financing objective thanks to more than 135 cofunders and numerous offers of collaboration. An open data platform, it will make the transparency of the Institutions and Public Representatives law more effective, registering questions and answers which will benefit the public.

Bookcamping, the second project to go through to the the next round in Goteo has been implacable in social networks and have posted a large number of updates which have convinced nearly 174 individualsand organisations of the need to back an open library which is a real network of free texts and other formats.

Nodo Movil is not so much about software but a mobile open wifi device for public spaces which, although still needing to cover some of the collaboration needs, will soon be a reality thanks to the 80 cofunders and a constant stream of updates.

All of this has been thanks to individual and institutional help which validates the main ideas of Goteo, where amongst other things, we proposed the platform as a social network as well (right now with more than 1500 registered users) through which people with similar interests can be brought together via their contributions. Also we’ve had the help of key organisations who have provided strategic contributions in these first campaigns - Gabinete de Iniciativa Joven de ExtremaduraColaborabora and Ideas4Change.

However, we’re not 100% satisfied (although extremely grateful for their trust and work in preparing and promoting their proposals) as the projects CuentoJuegos RobociclaMove CommonsTrash Alert andTodojunto Letterpress have not reached their minimum funding objectives, even though they were great proposals and some were very close, with cofunding offered by many people (finally this won’t be activated). In some cases we are aware that the promotion and offers of collaboration they’ve had will contribute to them becoming a reality anyway.

Carry on watering ;-)

With an average of 2,290 daily visits from Italy, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Portugal and France as well as Spain, we are continuing on this adventure of open crowdfunding for projects which contribute to the commons more enthusiastically than ever, a shared and distributed process where there is still a lot to plan, improve and develop.

Apart from the four projects which will be campaigning for another 40 days, and beginning to materialise thanks to the resources obtained so far, we’re continuing to launch new proposals in other areas where it is possible to cofund in return for interesting returns while at the same time contributing to freeing content for the benefit of society. How about real soul music to bring collective energy to the commons? Or reusable wrappings whose tracks around the world we can follow? And the designing of new board games for sharing or giving?

They are beginning to be watered, drop by drop!

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