The lead partner: Planetmakers LLP

The lead partner in the Planetmakers Platform project is a new cooperative partnership, Planetmakers LLP. It is registered with Companies House in the UK, and is a member of Coops UK. Its function is to coordinate and shape the project overall.

It was set up for the purposes of this project, and builds on the formidable experience and background of its six partners. That includes working with community and environment groups, software development, setting up online communities, effective bottom-up organisation at scale, raising funds and creating new visions of a sustainable future.

In fact, what drew these people together was the prospect that very recent developments in the decentralised and distributed internet could enable their visions to be realised. This project is the result.

The partner members of Planetmakers LLP are:

Dr Gary Alexander: Dr Alexander retired after 37 years at the UK’s Open University, where he was at times, the Director of the Energy Research Group, Director of the Electronic Media in Education Research Group, a pioneer in developing online courses using collaborative learning techniques, an author of many courses on environment and electronics. He has been involved in many community projects, including setting up the Diss Community Farm, was active in the Transition Network and was on its Board of Trustees for 4 years. In his books, papers and conference contributions over many years , he has developed detailed visions of a collaborative, sustainable future, especially in his book, eGaia, Growing a peaceful, sustainable Earth through communication. See his website for more details.

Sofia Bustamante: Sofia Bustamante, MEng, FRSA is a social process designer with nearly 3 decades of work in conflict mediation, facilitation and community building.  Her current focus is on applying the design patterns of nature to conflict resolution in distributed environments. She draws on diverse influences from biomimicry to The Art of Hosting practices to the martial art of Aikido. Sofia was given London Leader Status by the Mayor’s office in 2010 for her participative community design work, for which she also won the Ogunte Women’s Social Leadership Award People’s vote in 2013. Her social innovations seek to bridge divides, enable individuals and communities to better work together, increase their sense of agency and unleash their inner and collective creativity. She is a fellow of the RSA and an associate of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.

Mamading Ceesay: Mamading is a highly experienced information systems engineer and architect who has worked in a variety of industries, most notably Financial Services, Film Special Effects and Virtual Reality.  He has experience in designing peer to peer cloud services and collaborative social software.

With Sofia, he was a co-founder of London Creative Labs which won multiple awards for its local economic development work and successfully raised funding from JP Morgan Chase for its Startup Brixton project, which help drive the transformation of Brixton.

He has also been actively engaged in researching and designing new forms of political and social economies that are fit for the 21st century, with an emphasis on sustainability and social justice.  As a result, he has:

* Worked on community currency software.

* Analysed outcomes of UK Timebanks and LETS.

* Delivered a course on community currencies.

* Chaired a community currencies panel.

* Co-founded the Brixton Pound.

Martin Dow: Martin is a solutions-oriented Software Architect and Consultant with a flair for innovation.  His extensive experience in all stages of professional systems development goes back to the late 1980s with real-time networked software, later working as technical architect on transformative digital content solutions for the likes of a global digital agency, national broadcaster and international media telco.  He subsequently specialised in the components of “trustworthy computing”, including digital asset management, digital rights, identifier and semantic metadata architectures both for international companies, international standards organisations and publicly-funded projects within the institutional sector.  Martin has taken his experience developing centralised repository systems of trust into other sectors using decentralised blockchain technologies, developing personal data mobility solutions (PDM) for healthcare data, professional networking organisations, and working on stable crytonomic value with the graphene blockchain family.  He is excited to work with Holochain on PlaNET in supporting PDM and verifiable mutual accountability by design.  Martin is passionate about the potential for real practical change these technologies can bring to society.  He supports interests in community-built rural hyperfast fibre networks and home educational networks.

Dr Angela Espinosa: Angela started her professional life as a computer and systems engineer before doing a PhD on organisational Cybernetics in the UK. After 10 years of working as an academic and consultant in Colombia, (including leading the Secretariat of Informatics in the Colombian President’s Office), she moved to Hull University in the UK where she has spent the last few decades teaching and researching at the Centre of Systems Studies. Her research interests have been in studying organisational transformations for improved viability and sustainability, from an Organisational Cybernetics perspective. She has a long and fruitful experience teaching, researching and consulting in this field, including large transformational processes in the Colombian public and private organisations; and in communities and businesses in the EU; and in leading funded research projects in both regions. All consulting and research outputs had been published in leading academic journals and research monographs. She was awarded the Ashby Lecture in the International Federation of Systems Societies and Vienna University in 2002; the Norbert Wiener Award by Emerald Publishing; and she has been listed in Marquis Who is Who in the World, and Who is Who in Science and Engineering.

Dr Jon Walker: Jon Walker has over thirty five years experience working in the co-operative business sector. He has established and co-managed a range of businesses including retail outlets, a small-scale manufacturing plant, a warehouse and a chain of supermarkets dealing mainly with wholefood, organic and fairly-traded products. Concurrently, Jon has lectured, published, consulted and provided training courses in both private and public sectors, on organisational structures. His recent book “A Complexity Approach to Sustainability, co-written with Angela Espinosa is now on its second edition.

In particular Jon has pioneered the use of an innovative organisational approach known as the Viable Systems Model, in both large cooperatives and an eco-community. The resulting organisational changes have resulted in working practices which are both efficient whilst at the same time being based on principles of participation and individual creativity and autonomy. Jon is based in Yorkshire where he continues to have direct involvement with the co-operative food sector there, in particular in developing food networks that serve local communities.

The other partners

In addition to  Planetmakers LLP, the lead partner, the project brings together a group of technical partners, building the prototypes of the platform, a set of community partners who are already actively working to build sharing, sustainable, collaborative communities, to try out the tools and principles of the PlaNET platform, and a set of supporting partners who are adding expertise to proactively work with the community partners to enable them to work as effective Commons.

The technical partners are:

Holo (contact: Dan Quinton) Pioneering the decentralised, distributed internet with hardware (HoloPorts), and Holochain, a new software layer of the internet that runs on them, a decentralised, scalable, efficient open source framework for truly peer-to-peer applications, and Holo, which acts as a bridge to the conventional internet.  It provides the underlying layer on which PlaNET is built.

EYSS (contact: Eduardo Moreira) Founded in 2017 as a social enterprise in Venezuela to support individuals with disabilities, EYSS was then transformed into a limited company with the same mission, which is to provide opportunities to those with disabilities, giving priority to employees applying with disabilities and in some cases promoting the search of talent with disabilities. EYSS is a software company building the PlaNET platform on top of Holo. EYSS is deeply connected with the Holo organisation, working on a range of other projects with them. While EYSS works in different technologies, it is their intention to become a leading development company for the Holochain decentralised platform.

The community partners are:

Barcelona Sharing City (contact: Ricardo Espelt) The partner will be Dimmons (Internet Interdisciplinary Institute at Open University of Catalonia). Dimmons has an agreement with the City Council for the Sharing Cities Action, so the City Council will be part of this. BarCola (a local group of sharing economy organizations) is also involved in the organization of Sharing Cities Action. Beyond, the chapter of Open Food Network in Catalonia (Katuma) , there are other interesting organizations that participate in BarCola. Ereuse, for example, is using technology for the traceability of their products. In any case, there are many local projects that would be interested in being part of this exploration of possibilities.

ECOLISE (Contacts: Eamon O’Hara, Markus Molz, Thomas Henfrey) ECOLISE, the European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability, is a coalition of national and international networks of community-led sustainability initiatives as well as of organisations that support a community-led transition to a resilient and inclusive Europe through research, education and advocacy.

ECOLISE has almost 50 members, including international networks of community-led initiatives such as the Transition Network (representing Transition initiatives in over 1200 locations), the Global Ecovillage Network (15,000 ecovillages), the Permaculture movement (3 million practitioners globally) and ICLEI, the association of local governments for sustainability; national and regional networks; as well as several research institutes and education providers. Through its members ECOLISE reaches thousands of communities all across Europe.

MINGAnet (Contact: Martha Giraldo), General Coordinator. MINGAnet project promotes the care and celebration of life from the person itself to its relationship with others and with nature, making actors visible, encouraging conversations and exchanges, promoting learning processes and political advocacy.

The groups within it that will be active In Planetmakers Platform are:

ACIS – Colombian Association of Systems Engineers.

Community Action Board of “El Tranal” village, Misak indigenous community, Guambía Reserve, Silvia, Cauca.Alliance for the Rights of Mother Earth, Colombia

Alliance for the Rights of Mother Earth, Colombia

OpEPA -Organization for Education and Environmental Protection,

Corasoma Corporation, Contributing to peacebuilding processes

Biopedagogy Network – Teachers from public and private institutions

Agrosolidaria Charalá – Association of Agrifood Prosumers, Charalá – Santander.

The Free Seeds Network of Colombia, RSL Colombia,

UNIMINUTO– University Corporation

Network of Natural Reserves of the Civil Society from Alto Ricaurte, representing themselves and representing RESNATUR

CASA Latina

The Alternative UK (contact Indra Adnan). The Alternative UK are building Citizens Action Networks (CANS) around the UK. CANS form below the level of party politics or traditional social divides to establish the importance of place-based community for both identity and agency. In particular this will help people who have been excluded from the conversations about how we can face the future, from where we live. AUK has been developing CANs in South Devon / Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham. Working closely with established civil society organisations in each city, AUK run three-stage collaboratories to engage 1) those who share our values but are not yet in the conversation 2) those who may not share our values, or are uninterested in taking action. Going from the ‘Friendly’ to the Inquiry to the Action. This is where the first stages of building trust happens. From there participants are invited to join a digital network where they can develop their relationships and organise action across the community, within cosmo-local networks of communities doing the same.

Transition Woodbridge (contact: Martin Wilks) An active Transition Town in Woodbridge, Suffolk with a range of projects including food, waste, water, community clearing, plastics. Transition Woodbridge is a community-led group that aims to strengthen the local economy, reduce the cost of living and prepare for a future with less oil and a changing climate.

Impact Brixton (contact: Gerald Vanderpuye) A hub and custom co-working space “for a diverse community of entrepreneurs, freelancers, dreamers, creators and social change makers in South London” with 180 members in Brixton, London. Impact Brixton launched in 2014 as a community workspace for mission-led organisations. It has since become a home for community-led change, with projects such as the People’s Fridge and Open Project Night bringing together people and organisations of all background to make a better South London, together.

The supporting partners are:

Open Food Network UK (contact: Lynn Davies) They are a ‘fractal’ cooperative, running for over 10 years, that supports a variety of local food networks: producers, hubs, distributors, etc. They will support and advise our community partners in building local food networks.

Community Forge (contact: Matthew Slater) Community Forge is a non-profit organization that designs, develops and distributes tools around complementary currencies. They will work with us to build an exchange system compatible with their protocols. They have have 300 communities actively using their LETS software built on Drupal, but are looking for a new platform. Some of these communities would move over to PlaNET when it is fully developed.

The Peacemakers (contact: Sofia Bustamaente) A newly forming consortium, commissioned specifically for this project, building a state-of-the-art framework for communications and conflict resolution both online and face-to-face, for community organisations.

Metaphorum (contacts: Jon Walker, Angela Espinosa) An NGO focussing on the theory and practice of systems and managerial cybernetics, and especially, the work of Stafford Beer on viable systems. They will advise and support our other partners on effective ways of building decentralised organisations.

Enspiral (contact: Phoebe Tickell) A network of people and organisations building tools for a more collaborative world. Members of the Enspiral Network will advise us on effective means and structures for collaboration and will participate in the Proof-of-Concept Prototype discussions.