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La Comunificadora, a Barcelona Activa programme, jointly coordinated between femProcomuns and LabCoop cooperative, has already supported about fifty projects in its 5 editions.
This support programme for the transition of Collaborative Economy projects into the commons economy, targets new, or already existing projects that need support to function in a social and solidarity commons-oriented economy.
The first iteration, «La Comunificadora s’activa», intends to explain the programme and identify challenges and opportunities, while accompanying and defining the projects so that they could prepare their candidacies and enter the programme with their focus on the commons.
The participating projects, each of which has the support of a tutor in the programme, revolve around different themes and purposes, from time bank projects to housing, collective care, sustainable mobility, community radios, ….
These projects follow a 3-month itinerary (26 sessions), during which the Model of the 5 pillars of sustainability of the commons is used as a guiding thread, a model used since the first edition of the programme.
We have identified that in sustainable models there is a fragile balance between the motivations of the different participants: the challenge seems to lie in maximizing the motivation of a sufficiently large and diverse group of people who contribute (in the production model p2p) to important aspects of the project, sharing vision, mission and values and with a policy aligned to share knowledge and governance.
La Comunificadora focuses on the commons economy as opposed to extractive economies. Extractive economies projects, often StartUp companies, do not have a business model but are often sustained through rounds of financing, from risk investors (business angels) and / or oligopolistic giants, and that are not sustainable, neither economically nor by the environment, while putting social rights at risk. It is not sought to replicate them by making alternatives to the social market, because they are not replicable and trying to do so leads directly to failure. What is sought then is to find alternative models to meet the challenges identified.
During these three months, participating projects make three iterations through the 5 pillars of the commons.
The first, in a three-hour session, the “Beta Iteration”, in which each of the projects quickly reflect and imagine how each of the pillars will be configured.
In the next 5 training sessions, they make a second iteration, to deepen and expand the knowledge in each of the 5 pillars, with the Canvases of the 5 pillars of the commons, designed specifically for this purpose, which you can download here.
• Central pillar, where the Common Resource is located. It helps identify the value element, the shared commons, which solves the challenge or needs detected, the core of the project to be sustainable, with the Mission, Vision and Values and the community (the group of people who manage and take advantage of the commons) well-defined.
• Pillar of resources to be mobilized, income and contributions. Identify the resources that will be necessary to carry out the activities required by the project. With an analysis of project sustainability models, which exist and have been sustained for years, and which are in the framework of the Social and Solidarity Economy at the intersection of the commons and the social market, between a community perspective and a perspective of service.
• Pillar of co-production. Identify the activities that make it possible to keep the project running, who will do it, how production is organised and how it is compensated.
• Pillar of governance. Identify what to deliberate, reach agreements, make decisions, open to participation, receive opinions or contributions. Which aspects of the corporation, property, distribution of property or surpluses, orientation of the project, road map, it will be necessary to co-decide, or co-govern.
• Pillar of sharing knowledge. Identify what needs to be shared, transmitted, so that the project is sustained, reproduced, continues to function, contributes to the ecosystem of which it is a part and fulfills its mission.
The third iteration through the 5 pillars will leave the projects prepared, with a roadmap to follow to end up being sustainable and autonomous.
Meanwhile, in the collaborative work sessions, we discuss the participants skills and competencies, sharing the lessons learned, promoting and practicing intercooperation between projects, with cross-microformations and other group activities.
Besides, the programme includes Advisors Day, group consultations, specialized support to each of the projects, open days, and the closing session “new paragraph”.
La Comunificadora, is documented on La Teixidora: 1a edición 2016 · 2a edición 2017 · 3a edición 2018-19 · 4a edición 2020 with materials of each session, presentations with the training contents, notes taken for participants and trainers, canvases and images of each session.
In 2016, one of the proposals of the «Economies col·laboratives procomuns» meeting was to create support and incubation mechanisms to strengthen the Barcelona metropolitan commons ecosystem. This proposal received citizen support for the participatory process of the Municipal Action Plan on Decidim. Barcelona Activa assumed the proposal by creating La Comunificadora program. Five editions have already been done and the group of participants has grown, while the methodologies and format of the programme has evolved with the evaluation of the experience of each edition. Many projects and people who have been in the programme are part of a collaborative economy ecosystem that is articulated at this intersection between common models, intercooperation and social market models.