About OuiShare

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Our Story

In Fall 2011, a small group of collaborative economy enthusiasts started meeting every month in Paris for potluck dinners. Conversations were passionate, and there was a shared feeling they could lead to something more.

From this collective energy, one core idea emerged: we wanted to better understand the change underway and accelerate the transition to a more meaningful society by empowering the pioneers of the collaborative economy from across the globe.

On January 2nd, 2012, we decided to give this project a name, and that was the official birth of OuiShare. The very first OuiShare Drink in Paris brought together 100 collaborative economy enthusiasts, and was soon followed by other meetups in other cities.

Later in May we invited them all to join us for very first OuiShare Summit in Paris.

After this, OuiShare quickly spread beyond the borders of Europe, to Latin America and the Middle East, thanks to an amazing international team of Connectors.

Our Mission

OuiShare is a global community and think and do-tank. Our mission is to build and nurture a collaborative society by connecting people, organizations and ideas around fairness, openness and trust. We believe that economic, political and social systems based on these values can solve many of the complex challenges the world faces, and enable everyone to access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.

OuiShare activities consist of building community, producing knowledge and incubating projects around the topics of communities and collaborative society, as well as offering support to individuals and organizations through professional services and education.

Started in January 2012 in Paris, OuiShare is now an international leader in collaborative society field. A non-profit organization which has rapidly evolved from a handful of enthusiasts to a global movement in 25 countries in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, our network of 50 expert “Connectors" engage over 2000 members and contributors worldwide.

All of our work is made available through the Creative Commons.

What We Do

OuiShare activities consist in building community, producing knowledge and incubating projects around the topics of communities and the collaborative economy, as well as offering support to individuals and organizations through professional services and education.

Note: see how we stand about policy and advocacy: OuiShare, Public Policy and Advocacy

Community Building

We connect collaborative society ecosystem by organizing a wide range of events, fostering online conversations and building meaningful relationships between the pioneers of this new economy (entrepreneurs and project leaders, companies, public institutions, non-profits, researchers and writers, ...)

These activities include for instance:

  • Regular events and meetups in local communities across the globe
  • Large scale events and conferences such as OuiShare Fest
  • Online conversations groups (per city, language or topic) for community members
  • Creating links between community members and with existing networks

How is built our Community?

Knowledge Production (think tank)

We aim to create open and shared knowledge on a wide range of topics related to communities and the collaborative economy. Such topics include: industry and system analysis, economic models, social behaviors or public policy frameworks.

We do this through a number of channels:

  • Publishing in-depth analysis from community members on the OuiShare Magazine
  • Animating a global network of experts via our topical groups (transport, manufacturing, food, …)
  • Research papers and studies about the collaborative economy and communities
  • Workshops and co-creation events about public policy and economic models
  • Publications such as manifestos, white papers, public policy briefs, books, …
  • Public Speaking in various events, conferences and seminars

Project Incubator (do tank)

We develop projects and tools to foster the collaborative economy, such as:

  • OuiShare Magazine, our contributive online magazine launched in July 2012
  • OuiShare Fest, a three-day festival co-created with the community
  • OuiShare Jobs, a job board focused on the collaborative economy
  • OuiShare Labs, a tech community lab to develop open source tools for communities
  • OuiShare Resources, a community lab to experiment resource sharing systems within the OuiShare community and with other organizations

All our projects

Our 10 Values

This is the heart of our community: the ten values that guide all our actions and decisions. Even though we all come from diverse backgrounds and approach topics from various perspectives, these principles are what hold us together.

These did not emerge overnight, but are the result of a long process that began at our second OuiShare Summit in Rome in November 2012. But as you can guess from our value “permanent beta”, this list is not final – it will evolve and be adapted as we go!

1. Openness. We strongly believe that a culture of openness has many benefits. OuiShare is a non-hierarchical organization, which anyone can join and contribute to. Decision-making is based on peer governance and meritocracy. What we produce is open source, making it easy to reuse, remix and share alike.

2. Transparency. As an open organization, it is our priority for everyone to understand what we do, how we work and how we are funded. As we grow, our aim is to disclose all information in a reader-friendly fashion.

3. Independence. We are happy to work with companies on individual projects, but do not enter exclusive partnerships of any kind that could compromise our independence. You may not like this at first, but in the long term you’ll see the benefits.

4. Impact. Our mission is stated as “to accelerate the shift toward a more collaborative economy”. Maximum impact in doing this is what ultimately guides our actions.

5. MPRL (Meet People In Real Life). Amazing things happen in real-life. The internet cannot replace real-life interactions; it is only a tool that supports them.

6. Action. We don’t like talk without action. When you have a great idea, don’t wait for others to execute. Build something yourself from day one and watch people join you!

7. Permanent beta. OuiShare is an ongoing experiment with a lean startup approach. With curiosity and an open mindset, we strive to continuously try new things and challenge our assumptions. Release early, fail often, learn by doing and iterate.

8. Feedback. Regular and personal feedback is critical to sustaining the participative dynamic of OuiShare and enabling everyone to learn and progress. This is why we praise valuable contributions, celebrate achievements and encourage constructive criticism.

9. Inclusion. Innovation happens in diverse environments. OuiShare benefits from having members across the globe and from very different backgrounds: entrepreneurs, designers, makers, hackers, social innovators, environmentalists, researchers, journalists, public officials, activists, and many more.

10. Play. Work doesn’t have to be boring. We want collaborative lifestyles to go viral, and believe that this can only be achieved if work is as fun and creative as play.

Our Organization and Governance

OuiShare is an experiment of collaborative organization. As laid down in our values, we are a flat, distributed and independent organization that continuously evolves and has adaptability, flexibility and meritocracy hardcoded into its DNA.

While this is not easy, we have taken on the challenge to build an organization that can grow organically through distributed leadership and self-organization, while staying aligned with our common vision and the interest of the community. It will evolve and change with each new individual that joins and makes this project his own.

Our governance structure has been designed to reflect our vision of a liquid organisation that is agile and adapts to rapidly changing environments.

Since we believe in self-organization and the concept of stigmergy, we aim to keep contributions, leadership and our governance structure as organic as possible. OuiShare is a do-ocracy, which means that decision making is based on actions.

To achieve its mission, Antonin, Flore, Edwin and Benjamin co-founded a non-profit legal structure (association) based in France in May 2012, as a legal vehicle to support the projects of the community. The governance structure that exists today has been developed by a distributed team that is growing the community locally and globally.

Roles & Membership types

OuiShare aims to be a liquid organization that enables new and existing contributors to easily move in and out of it as well as dynamically rotate between different roles and levels of involvement. This is to be achieved while at the same time ensuring the consistency and stability of the organization.

Organisational Structure

See the full overview of all membership types in OuiShare, as well as their roles and responsibilities

Decision-Making Principles

Principle #1 - Autonomy of Communities and Projects

OuiShare is a distributed organization based on the principle of subsidiarity. Local communities and projects are autonomous, as long as they respect our values and governance principles. They should, however, ask for feedback and advice when they feel a decision could significantly impact the organization as a whole.

In contrast to principle #1, the following 4 principles apply both to the global/transversal level as well as the local or project level.

Principle #2 - Decision Making

OuiShare is do-ocracy in which people are free to make things happen as long as it is in accordance with our values. Each person is responsible and accountable for their decisions.

There are two levels of decisions.

1) Strategic decisions are made on the collaborative decision making tool Loomio, with a methodology called consent decision making. This means that a matter is discussed until agreement has been reached with no strong objection. The proposed solution can be vetoed by any Connector, but only if there is a strong feeling against it.

2) Day-to-day decisions are made based on:

  • the concept of Stigmergy, meaning that the organization has no central coordination.
  • the “3-Connectors-Rule”: if three Connectors agree that something is good for OuiShare, they have the green light to move forward with it and act in the organization's name, as long as they communicate it in the Connectors group.

Principle #3 - Voting as last resort

Voting is the last resort for extreme scenarios in which consensus cannot be reached. Each Connector has 1 one vote. If someone with voting rights is not able to participate in the vote, he can give his vote to another person with voting rights, in accordance with the system of “Liquid Democracy” used by the German Pirate Party.

Contribution Model & Leadership

General Principles:

Principle #1

A fair compensation system that goes beyond the traditional split between full-time employees and community members.

  • Important or regular contributions can be financially compensated
  • Small, spontaneous or occasional contributions remain voluntary
  • A set of specific contributions remain voluntary (ex: writing articles for OuiShare.net)

Principle #2

A specific list of compensated tasks will be maintained and regularly updated, clarifying how each task are rewarded. Everything else is voluntary by default.

Principle #3

A simple and transparent process will allow us to:

  • Efficiently and fairly allocate activities to the right people, especially when those activities are compensated
  • Calculate the level of compensations

Principle #4

All connectors are eligible for compensated activities within OuiShare, whether they are related to general interest activities or commercial activities.

Principle #5

Non-connectors can be eligible for compensated activities if, either:

  • They were able to fund the activities themselves (ex: business opportunities, sponsorship, … )
  • They were invited to contribute to a given project by a Connector who could not find a specific expertise or resource within the Connector group

Something is missing?

  1. Feel free to add whatever you think is missing from the documentation! Collective intelligence at its best :)
  2. In any case we plan to develop more documentation based on 30 minutes hangout (15min presentation + 15min interactive Q&A) to answer the most common questions on different topics, tools, event formats, etc. The process we will follow is explained on this short video

Practical information

How to use the OuiShare Website

Connectors Tool-Kit

Event Formats