Our DJ is the DisCO Journey
The DisCO Journey is a 7 step peer-learning process.
Each step helps participating DisCOs clarify their values, methodologies and governance. The Journey also strengthens ties between DisCOs and informs the direction of the overall DisCO project through continued community input.
Emergent DisCOs are encouraged to contact DisCO.coop for support when starting the Journey. More resources are being created to facilitate each step along with each DisCO's progress, and their outputs will be publicly documented.
The DisCO Journey is sequential. Each step unlocks possibilities for each participating DisCO. Although the basic steps are the same for each DisCO, their interpretation will differ. The DisCO Journey is designed to encourage creativity and fresh ideas, and serves to build trust between the participating DisCOs. Connections made along the Journey will inform the evolution of DisCO and its upcoming tech. The DisCO CAT will award a PawPrint at completion of each step.
Consider this page as a placeholder for the DisCO Journey. It's a work in progress before the Journey is formatted for the main DisCO.coop site. If you're here, congrats! You're one of the first DisCOs undertaking your Journey and your experience and contributions will shape how the Journey is presented in the future. Check back regularly for changes and updates.
DisCO Journey TL;DR
Click here for the full seven-step breakdown.
The DisCO Journey is a seven step peer learning process to co-create advanced, mature DisCOs.
The Journey is designed for DisCOs to build trust and federate with other DisCOs, to create a network of practice and ultimately build an economic counterpower. Every step builds on previous ones. Here is a brief description of each step:
Step 1: Get on the DisCO Dance Floor
- Your DisCO agrees to take the Journey and contacts the DisCO.coop team for an onboarding call.
Step 2: Spinning the Seven DisCO Principles
- Your DisCO considers and discusses how it addresses the 7 DisCO Principles, reflecting your group’s answers in a simple document. You will now have a dedicated page in the DisCO Ball Wiki and are now officially a DisCO. Congratulations!
Step 3: Pump up the Values
- Your DisCO discusses how it meets, forks or adds new values to the 11 DisCO values. You will add this information to the DisCO Ball Wiki and gain access to DisCO's discussion spaces on Matrix and Loomio.
Step 4: Break it up, Break Down: DisCO Blocks
- Your DisCO discusses which DisCO blocks to use or adapt. You can also create new DisCO blocks. You are also encouraged to create your own information repository, as a complement to the DisCO Ball Wiki. You will have a progress call with the DisCO.coop team and your journey will be featured in a blog post or interview on the main DisCO.coop site.
Step 5: The DisCO that Governs Together Stays Together
- Your DisCO will discuss and create its own DisCO governance model, describing roles and responsibilities, value tracking and decision making, creating new governance patterns for the DisCOverse.
Step 6: Hexagons are the Bestagons — Building the DisCOverse
- Your DisCO will support the development of younger DisCOs on their DisCO Journey, building a supportive relationship network with other DisCOs. The Bestagon is our visual representation unit, ultimately used as a building block for the InterDisco Federation
Step 7: Seven is the Magic Number: Federating the DisCOverse
- Your DisCO will complete its Bestagon by surrounding itself with six other DisCOs. Share your Journey and the lessons learned with the other six and explore inner and outer federation to continue to build resilience in the DisCOverse.
How long will the Journey take? What does it look like?
This is an early beta iteration of the DisCO Journey, primarily carried out on a one-to-one basis between the DisCO.coop team and individual DisCOs. More resources are being developed at present, and although the ‘dance steps’ will remain the same, it should be progressively easier for new and active DisCOs to learn and improve.
As you read, you may recognize qualities which already exist in your organization. In this case you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Adapt or integrate what you’re already doing with the steps in the DisCO framework, and help us enrich it with your own process.
3 Main Paths in the DisCO Journey
You will be able to take the DisCO Journey in 3 ways. These are, in order of time and involvement.
1: DisCO Journey Quick Start
The Quick Start Journey is designed to get you up and running as a DisCO in no time. You only need to complete Steps 1 and 2. Upon completion of Step 1, you're a proto-DisCO. Once you've completed Step 2 you're a DisCO and will be listed in this Wiki. You can then choose to engage with the other two DJ modalities later on
2: DisCO Journey Self-Paced
This is the full-scope DisCO Journey, but you and your group will take it at your own time and rhythm, supported by our materials and access to our community spaces.
3: DisCO Journey Cohort
In the Journey Cohort you will have regular calls with the DisCO team and other DisCOs taking the Journey. Together we will take part in games, exercises, mutual care and exploration of the development of the DisCO verse. Your work during this process becomes part of DisCO lore and, together, we forge the DisCOverse!
Note: These 3 modules are currently being developed. For now contact us and we'll direct you to the most suitable current resources.
If you're taking modalities 1 &2, there are no hard deadlines. It’s not a race, what's important is that it's valuable to your group. The one exception is that we'd ask you to complete the minimum (Steps 1 & 2) within a month of your onboarding call. From there on, we expect you to find your own rhythms. Those DisCOs who are more involved and unlock each step will receive more assistance from the DisCO.coop and the community
Every group on the Journey adds great value to DisCO, and as different groups accumulate more and more PawPrints, more creative possibilities will open. These are the building blocks for the future of DisCO, so take one step at a time and enjoy the ride.
7 Steps on the DisCO Floor
Here is a description for the 7 consecutive steps in the DisCO Journey. After the descriptions you will find short summaries of:
- Actions needed at each step
- The outcome of this step
- Online resources to help you
To be a DisCO, you must fulfill steps 1 and 2 of the Journey at minimum.
The remaining steps will result in additional DisCO PawPrints, your DisCO's dance floor prowess — but this is not a competition. More mature DisCOs will make it easier for newer and future ones to undertake the Journey by offering a greater variety of examples, and remember that the process needs to follow the living rhythms of your community and shouldn't be rushed.
Step 1: Get on the DisCO Dance Floor
The first step in the Journey involves:
- Becoming familiar with DisCO (what it stands for and entails)
- Wanting and agreeing to become a DisCO
It takes two to tango, but three to DisCO — the model is aimed at groups, not individuals. When a group decides to take Step 1, they can book a time for a 30 minute consultation with the DisCO.coop team to get to know each other and talk about the Journey.
- Write a basic overview of your DisCO: its primary practices, goals and values, the team composition and where you're located.
- If you want to self-test your level of DisCO Knowledge, take the DisCO Quiz.
- You have started the DisCO Journey and are part of the DisCOverse. You will be listed as a DisCO Lab in the DisCO Ball Wiki
- You now have 1 PawPrint, awarded by the DisCO CAT.
- You are now ready for Step 2!
- The DisCO Manifesto
- The DisCO Elements
- DisCO Homepage
- DisCO Articles
- DisCO Videos
- Compiled list of DisCO resources
Step 2: Spinning the Seven DisCO Principles
The Seven DisCO Principles are the basic building blocks of DisCO. Each DisCO shares its own interpretation of each principle according to their values, personal context and lived experience.
Take the principles as constructive challenges: there aren’t perfect answers for each principle, but rather creative ideas and intentions to eventually meet them that will naturally evolve and improve over time. Your way of meeting the principles will be examples for future DisCOs, enriching the framework. Don’t forget, we’re building a community knowledge commons, step by step.
You’ll want to review the Seven Principles before approaching your answers (see links below). Discuss how your DisCO meets or wants to meet each of the principles as a group.
Once you've agreed on how to answer each of the principles, you can draft a simple document detailing how you meet the Principles.
Notify us once you've completed them, and we will add them to your page in the DisCO Ball Wiki.
- As a group, review your understanding of the 7 DisCO Principles and discuss how your DisCO intends to meet them.
- Draft your agreed-upon answers.
- Notify the DisCO.coop team that you've documented the DisCO Principles.
- Your DisCO will now have a dedicated entry in the DisCO Ball Wiki.
- The principles will be added to your wiki page, ready to edit as your DisCO evolves.
- Your interpretation of the Seven Principles can be added to DisCO's documentation as an example of the principles.
- Most importantly: you're now officially a DisCO, yay! Please tell the world about it:
- Add the DisCO logo to your site,
- Share your DisCO awesomeness on social media!
- The DisCO CAT will award you a second PawPrint.
You are now ready for Step 3.
- DisCO in 7 Principles and 11 Values (from The DisCO Elements)
- The 7 DisCO Principles, from the DisCO Mothership Wiki
- DisCO 7 Principles illustrated PDF
- Dance it Yourself: a 7 DisCO Principles Builder
- Tales of a DisCO, Straight from the Dancefloor (Guerrilla Media Collective on the challenges of meeting the 7 Principles)
(Note, some links contain variations on the same text; updated resources coming soon)
Step 3: Pump up the Values
Apart from the 7 Principles, the DisCO Manifesto included 11 Values, more nuanced and varied than the Principles. The Principles are like verbs, actions common to all DisCOs. The Values are more like adjectives, descriptions particular to each group. In the Manifesto, we presented 11 values based on our actual experience developing DisCO on the ground in Guerrilla Media Collective, the OG DisCO:
DisCOs are a framework for exercising the ideals of Distributed Cooperativism in actionable, federated ways facilitated by digital technology. But this doesn't tell the whole story. What do DisCOs in the real world look like? Who’s there? What do they do to care for one another, make a living, and share their experiences with others?
For this DisCO Step, we want your DisCO to react to the existing DisCO Values, fork them, or add new ones. If you're forking or dismissing some of the existing values, we'd love to know why. Same goes for any new values you'd like to offer. You don't need to limit yourself to the 11 values presented in the Manifesto, either - please feel free to share your group’s lived experience and how you see it in terms of your own values.
Much like the 7 Principles, your take on the values needs to arise from a process of community deliberation. This means going through the links below and discussing how you meet or develop on the values in-group.
In this case, instead of using Community Rule you can either send us your DisCO's reflection as a written document or, if you're familiar with Wiki editing, add them directly to your page on the DisCO Ball wiki.
- As a group, refresh your memory on the 11 DisCO Values and discuss how your DisCO intends to meet them, fork them or add new values altogether.
- After agreeing, draft your answers, either in a document that you can send to DisCO.coop, or directly in the DisCO Ball Wiki
- Your wiki page will have the principles added and you will be able to edit it, as your DisCO evolves.
- Your interpretation of the values can be added to DisCO's documentation as an example.
- Completing the values awards you entrance to the Loomio DisCO Space community board and Matrix server to present yourselves, chat with other DisCOs, share ideas etc
- The DisCO CAT will award you your third PawPrint
- You are now ready for Step 4!
- DisCO in 7 Principles and 11 Values (from The DisCO Elements)
- The 11 DisCO values, from the DisCO Mothership Wiki
(At the time of writing, these links are basically the same as those for the 7 Principles, and will be updated over time).
Step 4: Break it up, Break Down: DisCO Blocks
The DisCO Blocks are modular governance components that DisCOs can assess, modify and share with other DisCOs. Each block gathers best pattern practices for recurring situations that DisCOs encounter. The purpose is to gather a catalog of DisCO Blocks that individual DisCOs can drag and drop into their governance structures. These Blocks will help better define each DisCO's Governance model ( see below) as well as the design of upcoming DisCO Tech tools.
For this step, we suggest that your DisCO reads through some of the existing DisCO Blocks,discusses them, chooses which to implement, or offers new blocks. The suggested blocks are:
- Commitment Statement
- Community Rhythms
- Dating and Mentoring
- Mutual Support
- Working Circles
- Norms and Boundaries
- Conflict Resolution
- Collaborative Tools
At present, these links reflect DisCO.coop's and Guerrilla Media Collective's DisCO Blocks. As we gather more examples from other DisCOs, we will share more general and specific descriptions of each block. As with the values, you can onboard all of these blocks, adapting them to your circumstances, or create new ones.
This will open the question of where to document them. It's easy to add new sections to your page on the DisCO Ball wiki, but the page might start to get cluttered.
At this stage, we will offer that your DisCO creates its own knowledge base for documentation and governance. This can be a separate wiki, Gitbook etc. We want to encourage other DisCOs to set up Semantic Media Wikiinstances so wikis can "talk" to each other, but if this is outside of your technical scope, you can opt for something simpler. The important thing is that you document how your DisCO works, for both its current and future members, as well as for other DisCOs.
- Familiarize your DisCO with various DisCO blocks.
- Choose which Blocks to onboard or adapt. You can also offer new DisCO blocks.
- Document these in your DisCO Ball entry, own Wiki or own Documentation.
- Optional Wiki and Semantic Media Wiki installation tutorial and assistance.
- If you create your own Wiki, this will be linked from the main DisCO Ball Wiki.
- You can schedule a second call with the DisCO Crew to chat about your progress
- You can opt to write an article about your DisCO, or ask for us to interview you. We will publish either in DisCO's Stories section
- The DisCO CAT will award you your fourth PawPrint.
- You are now ready for Step 5!
DisCO Blocks-specific resources are on the way! For now simply refer to the links above.
Step 5: The DisCO that Governs Together Stays Together
Clear governance forms the backbone of any DisCO. It clarifies agreements, strives for maximum fairness and ensures that every individual in the DisCO is accounted for, cared for and heard. In this step we propose that you draft a governance model for your DisCO.
This can be based on existing DisCO governance models or the DisCO Matrix model (a template model with various options). The latter is currently being drafted, so, as with other early participants in the DisCO Journey, your Journey will be more exploratory than the Journeys of later DisCOs — you're a trailblazer!
Your group may already have a governance model preceding its DisCOfication. In that case, simply update your existing model to meet the DisCO principles, incorporate some DisCO blocks and meet the 3 main governance criteria offered below.
As with all previous steps, community deliberation and discussion are required. You can choose to use the DisCO Space Loomio group to host your discussions and solicit feedback, but you can also create your own Loomio or similar forum for private in-group discussion and decision making.
It's up to each DisCO what tools to use and where to have these discussions (face to face, through calls, apps or other means).
If you've read the DisCO Manifesto or DisCO Elements you will already be familiar with the basics of DisCO Governance. We want to make Governance model creation convenient , this goal is a work in progress. For now we'd like you to take the three basic blocks of DisCO Governance on and decide on how to implement them in your DisCO. These are:
1: Roles and Responsibilities
How does your DisCO distinguish between roles? In this section of your governance model you will define the various roles within your DisCO. There are two main categories:
As you onboard new members, they will go through a Dating Phase, where you will check each other out. If all goes well, Dating can lead to more committed relationships.
2: Value Tracking
Value Tracking is about making visible who contributes to your DisCO and how. Per DisCO principle 6, "Reimagining origins and flows of value", three types of value are tracked through complementary metrics. These are:
- Market value, AKA Livelihood Work
- Commons-creating value AKA Lovework
- Care work and reproductive value, AKA Care work
Your DisCO determines how each of these is tracked and rewarded.
3: Decision Making
Decision making and community deliberation are essential for DisCO. Decision making power is directly related to individual roles (see 1: Roles and Responsibilities) and contributions (see 2: Value Tracking) in their DisCO.
These are the three bare bone components which need to be determined for a working DisCO governance model. Within each of these you can get as geeky and detailed as you want.
The DisCO Blocks that you've defined in step 4 are also important parts of the governance model and we recommend that you add them therein.
This process will likely be more involved and take longer than previous ones, but the preceding steps will have given you a good grounding for how your model will be adapted. More accessible templates and tools will be available ongoing.
You can request feedback for your governance model on the DisCO Space Loomio group, or send it directly to the DisCO.coop team. It should be openly available as part of your DisCO's documentation, preferably hosted on your own wiki or site, or within the DisCO Ball wiki if self-hosting is not an option.
Your own DisCO governance model will provide key use cases for the development of DisCO's value tracking tech: the DisCO Deck. Your contributions will be vital for its development.
Familiarize your DisCO with DisCO Governance and draft your own governance model, which should include:
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Value Tracking
- Decision Making
Solicit feedback for your model from DisCO.coop and the larger DisCO Community.
Document your model on your own Wiki, Documentation or your entry in the DisCO Ball wiki.
Test the model in real life and tell us how it goes, what difficulties you're facing, etc.
- Your governance model will receive feedback from DisCO.coop and the wider DisCO community.
- Your governance model will be linked to as a general resource for DisCO governance and possibly as a template.
- Your governance model will serve as a living user story for the DisCO Deck.
- The DisCO CAT will award you your fifth PawPrint.
- You are now ready for Step 6!
- DisCO Governance Model Infographic
- Take Your Time, Do It Right: Commons Governance (Introductory article)
- The Open Coop Governance Model in Guerrilla Translation: an Overview
- Guerrilla Media Collective Governance Model
- DisCO Mothership Governance Model (in progress)
Step 6: Hexagons are the Bestagons — mentoring and support help create the DisCOverse
Care work is at the heart of DisCO. Active care for the work we do and the people we do it with sets DisCO apart from other blockchain/DLT-based or ‘future of work’ frameworks.
Just as we've assisted you on your DisCO Journey, we as a community need your DisCO to pay it forward by mentoring those DisCOs with fewer PawPrints than yours through the steps in this Journey.
The process of supporting DisCO development can be part of your DisCO's own lovework. This could include:
- Calls with newer DisCOs.
- Active participation in the DisCO Space Loomio and Matrix server.
- Attending another DisCO's Quarterly group retrospective as guests.
- Serving in a DisCO's board, taking part in select discussions and votes.
- Mentoring other DisCOs with the unique knowledge you possess.
- Participating in ‘casual relationships’ with other DisCOs as supporters, contributors, or DisCOlars.
- Build some cross-DisCO Mutual Support (have a call with a DisCONaut from a faraway land)
- Awarding PawPrints!
You've already built trust within your DisCO. Cross-DisCO relationality will build trust among DisCOs. If you've mentored or been mentored by another DisCO you will have met the humans there and, to an extent, shared their struggles and victories. To quote Donna Haraway: we build kin in the anthropocene.
Are you ready? PawPrint level 6 is where it gets freaky: forming a Bestagon. What's that? In two dimensions, DisCO federations are represented as hexagons. Why? Because Hexagons are the Bestagons!
As you relate and build commons with other DisCOs, we encourage you to become hexi-besties with six other DisCOs. You are the central hexagon, and your six nearest DisCOs will outline yours, sort of adding tiles to your trust-floor. This one at a time process helps map DisCOs by centering on actual relations. What we hope to see is DisCOs making connections that go beyond the obvious geographic or thematic similarities, finding different types of commonalities in the human-to-human conversations that build the trust network.
Building a DisCO Bestagon
As before, we're in the early stages of experimenting and trying out methods to encourage intra-DisCO relationality. New patterns will emerge out of these experiences. For now, here is a suggested approach:
- Approach another DisCO within the DisCOverse, and introduce yourselves.
- Consent is key, as always: If the other DisCO accepts your invitation, you are now ready to boogie.
- Read each other's documentation keeping an eye out for things that call your attention, including their takes on:
- The Seven Principles
- Eleven Values
- DisCO Blocks
- Governance Model
- Meet each other’s DisCO and get to know each other.
- Discuss with your DisCOs members and take a vote: do you want to team up with the other DisCO (they follow the same process, too), and map each other as side-by-side hexagons, building that tile floor.
- If it's a "no" for whatever reason, process the info but no hard feelings!
- If it's a YES, then your two DisCOs are now dating!
- You decide how to date, which can include:
- Regular check-ins
- Collaboration on shared projects
- Share livelihood, love and care work collaborations
- Mentoring each other in certain areas
- Minimum shared Community Rhythms
- Remember that DisCO Bestagons should be both fun and beneficial for all DisCOs within. Don't set unrealistic expectations or obligations, see how things grow.
- Once you've decided on the basics, you can craft an InterDisCO Commitment Statement. This document "officialises" DisCOs within a Bestagon.
- Repeat this process with five other DisCOs until you've formed your DisCO Bestagon!
As this is an ongoing process, you only need to dance with one other DisCO before progressing to step 7 below. When we co-create both enough relationships and data to work with, theseDisCO Bestagons will be graphically and spatially represented, as well as validated onchain for future goodies and interactions.
Bestagons are built with other DisCOs who are at Step 6 and have a governance model that incorporates the previous steps. At the start, there will be fewer DisCOs at this level in the Journey, and this requirement ensures that cross-DisCO commitments are based on a thorough understanding gained from real-life experience with using and adapting the DisCO framework. Just as we mentor new individual members in their early dating stages, this group networking process is also meant to encourage your DisCO to help mentor other DisCOs through their initial steps. Through the mentoring process you will get to know them and decide if you want to partner together in your Bestagon as they reach Step 6.
- Reach out and get to know other DisCOs directly or through participation in shared DisCO spaces.
- Decide to mentor a DisCO on the DisCO Journey.
- After getting a feel for other DisCOs, approach a PawPrint 6 DisCO to ask whether they want to be added to your Bestagon (“will you be my Bestagon bestie?”).
- Follow the Bestagoning procedure described above.
- You will continue this process in Step 7 by adding more DisCOs to your Bestagon until you're surrounded by six other DisCOs.
You will create direct relations of Care with other DisCOs, this may include:
- InterDisCO Mentoring
- InterDisCO Mutual Support
- InterDisCO Love, Livelihood and Care work
- Start building a Bestagon.
- You can schedule your third call with the DisCO Crew to chat about your Journey.
- After signing one InterDisCO Commitment Statement, the DisCO CAT will award you your sixth PawPrint.
- You are now ready for Step 7!
There are no specific resources for Step 6 at this time. It builds on many of the resources your DisCO will have gone through on its Journey, and the necessary resources for this space will result from your input!
Step 7: Seven is the Magic Number: Federating the DisCOverse
In DisCO, Seven is the Magic number:
7 DisCO principles, 7 Steps in the DisCO Journey and 7 chapters each in the DisCO Manifesto and DisCO Elements. How does this hex up with hexagons (aka Bestagons), you ask?
There are six sides to your DisCO’s perimeter, that we see abstractly as the virtual connecting points to other DisCOs. Your DisCO is the space in the center, being outlined. Your Bestagon is a hexagon: six sides, plus the center space that the sides outline (that’s you!) Six plus one is… seven!
Chapter 7 of the DisCO Manifesto is titled "The Last Dance: The Future is Unwritten".
Individually, the change-making movements we take part in offer alternatives to the deficiencies of mainstream economic thought, but to address the root causes of inequality we need accessible frameworks that unite them. As noted British ecologist David Fleming said, "Large-scale problems do not require large-scale solutions; they require small-scale solutions within a large-scale framework." Individual commons (e.g., DisCOs such as GMC) are small-scale, trust-based solutions. Large DisCO federations of Open-value cooperatives constitute a potential large-scale framework.
This has always been the vision for the future of DisCOs. We have our ideas, but don't know what it looks like exactly, because we need more DisCOs. DisCOs are, ultimately, experiential learning spaces for alternative economies. They are safe zones for all who feel marginalized by capitalism, the patriarchy and colonialism to develop their own care-based economies from the bottom up.
The large scale framework that Fleming describes is necessarily a (distributed) cooperative effort, it can't be designed by one DisCO (nor the authors of the DisCO Manifesto) and imposed upon the rest. Imposition isn’t a way of creating space for plurality and cooperation, and it tends to fail even when intentions are noble. What we provide here instead are patterns. In Free Fair and Alive, the Insurgent Power of the Commons, David Bollier and Silke Helfrich describe Christopher Alexander's approach to patterns and how it relates to commoning:
In Alexander’s view, a pattern describes “a problem that occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.” In other words, patterns-thinking and solutions based on it are never decontextualized, nor disconnected from what we think and feel. We suggest looking closely at the underlying patterns of thriving social processes for inspiration while keeping in mind that a successful commons cannot be copied and pasted. Each must develop its own appropriate localized, context-specific solutions. Each must satisfy practical needs and deeper human aspirations and interests.
DisCO and the DisCO Journey provide patterns, constraints and creative prompts to make your DisCO's social processes thrive and make these relatable (visible, recognizable, attractive…) to other DisCOs. This process of mutual recognition and shared core values and principles adds capacity to the large scale framework we are trying to weave.
The Journey should give you first-hand experience of some of the same challenges and dilemmas that led us to create DisCO. Beyond your group, you will have also shared experiences with the DisCOs surrounding you in your Bestagon. This makes you uniquely qualified to build the DisCOverse, because you’ve already begun.
Step Seven of the DisCO Journey is where we make kin. Naturally this is directly related to DisCO Principle 7, Primed for Federation. The following is extracted from the DisCO Elements:
DisCOs replicate through a standard federation protocol that allows critical mass without regimenting all parts.
Cooperatives worldwide have a combined turnover of US$3 trillion, which is similar to the aggregate market capitalization of Silicon Valley’s greatest players (Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook). Unfortunately, this economic power is dispersed, with many coops only nominally acknowledging the sixth cooperative principle, cooperation among cooperatives. Unlike networks, which may or may not share common goals, federations are held together by shared commitments and power is equitably distributed among all nodes. Federations also provide viable alternatives to the dangers of scaling, where a worldview is simply extended from a center of power and forces everything in its path to conform to its values.
DisCOs are distributed and differentiated structures that replicate themselves through a standard federation protocol. This allows federations of DisCOs to achieve critical mass without regimenting all parts. The modularity of DisCO Value Tracking allows DisCOs to mutualize economic power (as well as shared, non-monetary resources) for greater impact. Every node retains the levels of trust, mutual support and well-being that only small groups can achieve, while still achieving a larger collective impact by being part of broader economic networks. The long-term goal is to make cooperatives transcend their status as a form of economic alternative and instead, become a collective economic counterpower.
The DisCOverse and its federation practices are emergent in two directions:
Inner: When your DisCO crosses a threshold of people and you don't have time to keep track and actively care for all of them, you’ll see that it's time to federate into nodes that operate under one DisCO, but have varying degrees of value sovereignty. Read more about DisCO nodes here.
Outer: This is where you federate with other DisCOs, sharing power, knowledge and care. DisCO is a relational, not primarily an algorithmic framework. Sure, algorithms can and will be built, but these need to be supportive of our existing, care-based relationships with each other, and not the other way around.
You've already embarked on ‘outer federation’ by linking up with your Bestagon DisCOs to create a map of relationality and closeness. You will know which DisCOs are closest to you, and know you better.
Bestagons from Open Source Embroidery
Enter the 7th CatPaw
The 7th CatPaw and the end of this stretch of the DisCO Journey is not the Journey you've made as a DisCO, but the road you’ll travel alongside other DisCOs continuing the process begun in Step 6, and adding more DisCOs to your Bestagon over time. Once you're surrounded by sister DisCOs on (ideally) six sides, your DisCO Journey will be legendary!
To achieve the 7th CatPaw you will stand in the center of the Bestagon and tell the story of your Journey.
We look forward to the day when these stories can be told, and welcome the creative expression your Bestagon feels is right, whether it’s a video presentation, blog journal entries, an article or artwork…why not a song, a performance, a poem — it’s your story! Express your experience on this Journey. Consider revisiting the answers you gave to the seven principles at the beginning and see how these have changed through experience. You can share the commons you've created and how you've enriched the DisCOverse with your unique contributions.
Once the Journey is witnessed, the other DisCOs in your Bestagon will acknowledge you, as they’ve witnessed your journey. Feedback could be welcomed but not essential, it’s your story.
This story doesn’t center on algorithms or blockchains, this is ritualizing togetherness, a pattern of commoning offered by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich:
"One of the most important ways to strengthen shared purpose and values is by ritualizing togetherness — meeting regularly, sharing deeply, cooking together, celebrating successes, candidly assessing failures. This is essential to building a culture of commoning and a shared identity."
The key here is building trust and networks of mutual support.
Technically, getting to the 7th CatPaw is easy. You just need to tell your story to six DisCOs that trust you. It's the building of this trust and developing DisCO that is hard. And it will take time. In her introduction to the DisCO Elements, Ela Kagel tell us just as much:
The only thing is that it ain’t easy…. Starting off with the DisCO principles means entering a stretch of deep work. Training our imagination, expanding our perspectives on money, value and power, understanding how privilege can limit our perspective on the big picture. The hard thing is that DisCO is about activism, not theorism – and we have to start with ourselves.
I, therefore, do not recommend simply applying a light cosmetic spray of DisCO. It’s not a quick win and it doesn’t provide any shortcut for the big leap we will have to make. How do we get from DAO to DisCO? From coop to DisCO? From a loose collective to DisCO? What is required to build these patterns of organizing together with the people we want to work with?
You can scan this document from beginning to end, but you won’t find any predefined methodical steps or checklists. You will learn about the DisCO principles, you will find tons of inspiration and encouragement. You will be able to draw lessons from a governance principle that grew out of a real-world community. And, ideally, you will find answers to the question: what actually kept you from building this type of organization earlier? Creating a DisCO is about unveiling the blind spots in the system we are a part of. Once seen, we cannot unsee them.
DisCO development leads you along the path, from one kind of learning to another. In following this rhythm of recognizing and adapting your behaviors, you will slowly develop your very own DisCO beat. I am sure this beat will carry you and your peers along the way.
DAOs are built on tokens, investments, early adoption or advanced technical knowledge or anarcho-capitalist values. DisCO thrives on recognition of what is essential to the world's population: real life human needs and care. The DisCO Journey can be a transformative process for those willing to take it, however long it takes.d In turn it will give us a more resilient base to engage with work, disruptive tech and the challenges of the present. Let's build the DisCOverse together.
- Complete your Bestagon on all six sides, however long it takes. Don't rush this process, work on trust and make it pleasant
- Tell your story to the six other DisCOs, how you've created commons, performed care work etc. There are no wrong answers at this stage
- Celebrate, you have achieved the 7th CatPaw
- The 7th CatPaw unlocks the next level of DisCO building.
- The rest, we build together based on what we’ve learned together.. Stay tuned
As before, there are no specific resources for Step 7 but your own experience going through the preceding steps which, if documented will become resources themselves.
Remember, the 7th Step is more of an acknowledgment and celebration than a procedure at this time, get out there and have fun!
(In order of appearance)
- Lead image by Fidel Fernando
- Disco Neon by Bradi Bellini
- Dope DJ by Redd
- Disco isn't dead by Hello I'm Nick
- Pink metal plates by Ryan Stone
- Light bubbles by Agê Barros
- Dance by Georgia de Lotz
- Hexagon field by Sam Balye
- Neon rainbow by Paola Franco
- HTML quilt by Open Source Embroidery
- ↑ Individuals interested in exploring DisCO can take part in an upcoming survey, geared towards matching people wanting to form DisCOs.
- ↑ Coming soon!
- ↑ At the time of writing, the DisCO Ball wiki is in pre-production, so we will be using the DisCO Mothership wiki as a placeholder until we transfer all relevant content to the DisCO Ball.
- ↑ Not sure how to discuss the principles or need some help? Check out this article detailing the procedure.
- ↑ If you're not familiar with Wiki editing, first have a look at our documentation on MediaWiki or let us know. If enough people ask we'll be happy to schedule a webinar tutorial on the subject.
- ↑ Also coming soon. Stay tuned!
- ↑ This is not to homogenize all governance models into a predetermined format, but to ensure that there is enough conceptual compatibility and mutual recognition among alternative economic spaces so they can create power together. For this we need modularity and shared patterns with abundant scope for variety and modification. More on this below.
- ↑ As you will see, Step 7 is centered on the completion of your Bestagon and inter-DisCO relationship building.
- ↑ Until 2019 these numbers were similar. Post pandemic MAGAF has skyrocketed in valuation.
- ↑ Cue Ingmar Bergman!
- ↑ Read the rest of the passage on Ritualizing Togetherness and other patterns in the social life of commoning here.