Collaboration and co-design protocol

Our concept of a Data Commons rests firmly on the concepts of community, collaboration, and co-design. We built this philosophy into our own work on developing this blueprint. We chose a co-design approach that involved potential users of the Data Commons. We could have raised venture capital to build an extractive business and kept this strategy to ourselves. Instead we invited inclusion, maintained transparency, and involved as many people as we could with the resources we had available. The people who were attracted to the project tended to reinforce this approach. It has been an interesting conversation amongst technologists, financial cryptographers, scientists and environmentalists, extollers of free markets and frontline social sector NGOs.

Out of this process we have largely agreed on the nature of the challenge and the thrust of the solution. In a word, high trust and inclusion were at the heart of the project. We hope our approach serves as a model for the collaborative and co-design approach which we believe is essential to the continued development of the Data Commons.

So the first step in forming a Data Commons will be to identify a shared set of interests in data and forming a group which represents all those interests. The discussion above should also help provide a checklist of not only who should be included in this collaboration, but at least broadly what their shared interests are which will form the basis for the Commons. Based on our own experience, the early discussions need to identify these interests, how they can be supported by a Data Commons, what each member of the group can bring to the discussion, and what value and risks group members can identify. The next step will be for this group to agree on how the Data Commons project will proceed and how they will work together on it. As indicated above, it’s likely that this and other steps will be revisited in the course of the discussions.

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