Playing innovator in an open culture change lab is engrossing, and at times deceptive. Will it blend? Can it scale? Just which 'crowd' is going to fund this shift?
Right now, VEDA is moving along a vague initial roadmap. Off-roading, you could even say, many ways to go. Slow and bumpy, albeit with fine views. Our vision is keen to the distant horizon; meanwhile there's forest, rivers, hillocks, and waystations to negotiate, bringing the focus in close.
We're in extended bootstrap mode, bridging from volunteer-driven design and prototyping into real product and service offerings that will anchor this node of collective enterprise even while R&D continues in unforeseen directions. This does not imply a concession towards business hustle mentality! We're still orienting towards a donation basis for exchange, but needing to spend time in more traditional marketing modes to cultivate a reputation around the nature and quality of the 'gifts' we have on offer.
This is 'community supported enterprise' and we're still pretty new to this local community. If you go around volunteering good deeds amongst strangers, well, they may look at you funny and sidestep the interaction for fear of some ensuing ploy or indebtedness. Get a little bit of that work done and on public display though, it will speak for itself, peer to peer. That's the meat of our launch strategy...be the change!
In that spirit, we've gone to work in a few gardens, done some video documentation for a partner co, invested in work space clean-up, tackled a few design problems for friends, worked on planning and prep for some upcoming public events, and jumped in on some larger affiliated collaborative efforts such as Open Source Hardware doc jam and DIY Days learndoshare flipbook.
Other near-term intentions? We intend to stabilize our rhythm in a few key areas: workspace, collaboration, and outreach. A couple of flagship projects plotted over the course of Summer:
- innovative open source solar shower and/or dehydrator
- signature environmental artworks
- public access to our host site
- valnet conference
- video series
- wiki dev
Practicalities still loom large. Time, money, tools, talent, templates, all shy of targets. We're looking to explore new avenues of crowdfunding via informal pledge-drive formats, where a goal is set to enable a particular project and a selection of possible return gifts is put forward for contributors to flag as desirable. No rigid tiers or rewards, just an authentic, well-informed personal investment and reciprocation.
One of the first things we may attempt in that format is to fund a small Permaculture and natural building course series that produces some lasting improvement on multiple partner sites along with the learning value for participants. We will propose a budget (range) and possible feature set, then reach out for participants who submit their pledge and request for taking part. Some innovative offerings we'd like to incorporate in that exchange are things like peer accreditation ('badge' system for local skill-net), access privileges (again, network-wide merit / credit system), and 'success story' creative commons documentary content.
Moreover, we're looking to inspire and encourage others to jump in with their own generosity of spirit and surplus of productive passion (not so much with the spare big ideas though, as those are already in overstock!) to carry things along in ad hoc team projects, all connected through our evolving Values Canvas of core drivers and style cues. This may be bold fantasy for now, but we are ready for increasing subscribers.
Bon chance, one for all! May-hem ensues...