Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Open value networks and global economic fairness

Disclaimer: This blog entry reflects the thoughts of the author and does not speak on behalf of the Sensorica OVN.

In February 2011, economic fairness became a real possibility with the launch of SENSORICA. The new economic model proposed by this network promised open access to economic activities for everyone in the world, with a system for fair redistribution of benefits, based on merits. 

SENSORICA is an open value network. People propose projects and develop them in collaboration with others. The affiliates use open project development methodologies and generate tasks that are made available for anyone in the world. The time, the cash and any material resource that are used during the execution of a task are logged. A contribution accounting system compiles all the input to projects and displays a profile of the economic activity. If the project becomes a commercial venture the revenues are redistributed to all the participants, without exception, in proportion to everyone's contribution. The venture belongs entirely to the participants, anyone can join, any time. We call these ventures open enterprises. SENSORICA is an incubator of many open enterprises. 

Since the inception of SENSORICA we spent a lot of time developing the open value network model, building infrastructure, designing new methodologies, refining the open governance, implementing a proper legal structure, and developing open new technologies. In 2015, SENSORICA is closer than ever to become an economic success, with a few projects to be crowdfunded during the summer and a few service offerings that have already generated revenue.
This post is not about revenue generation and sustainability. The main goal is to illustrate economic fairness, to show the world how we are fulfilling our promise. 

In January 2015 Atelier Barda, a group of architects and designers from Montreal, trusted SENSORICA with a contract to design an interactive imaging system, to be installed in Forillon National Park, in Gaspesie QC, Canada, which is administered by Parks Canada, a branch of the federal government. The project was executed in an open way. Three SENSORICA affiliates answered the call and delivered successfully, exceeding the client's expectations, who was a bit skeptical in the beginning, knowing that he was dealing with a new type of organization. One of these affiliates, Abran, lives in Pakistan. The project was coordinated using SENSORICA's new open service providing methodology, mediated by our virtual infrastructure.

In the end, the revenue was distributed according to everyone's contribution, and Abran was paid as if he was working and living in Canada. 

credit to Massimo Sestini—Polaris
Europe is now dealing with a major social problem caused by waves of immigrants coming from Africa. This crisis is exacerbated by the drama surrounding the death of a few hundreds of these unfortunate people, who are desperate enough to put their lives in danger by crossing the Mediterranean sea, using inadequate means, lead by human traffickers who are mostly interested in profiteering. A social problem coupled with a humanitarian crisis that keeps politicians on their toes and pushes them to use extreme means, to militarize the Mediterranean sea using UN forces. Are these desperate human beings invaders? Are they the new enemies of Europe? Or are they the result of colonialism and victims years of political interference and economic exploitation? Are guns the solution to this problem? Or more economic fairness?

While our western governments, who created the problem in the first place, make it even worse, we are developing infra-national economic structures, a peer to peer economy, to address the problem at its core.

 By AllOfUs

Monday, May 11, 2015

On how to conduct open and peer to peer ventures

In the Batman The Dark Knight Rises movie there is a scene, called the social experiment, where people in two boats need to make a decision to avoid an imminent catastrophic explosion. In one boat, they form a democratic system and they debate about the problem in order to make the best decision. The second boat is filled with prisoners and their guards, forming a hierarchical, army-like system. The movie shows these two situation in parallel, with a clear preference for the hierarchical situation, essentially trying to convince the viewers that in times of crisis, when things need to get done effectively, we don't have time for democracy. This movie was made during America's military operations in Afghanistan and in the Middle East, justifying the need to bypass democratic processes and even take illegal actions in the name of national security. We can now go back in time and judge if these decisions have had a more positive or negative impact on the US and on the world.
I live in Canada, a so called democratic country, where people spend most of their time in a totalitarian setting, the workplace, where they get things done. If we do the math, we spend most of the time executing or giving orders, depending where we are situated within the hierarchy, Once in a while, very rarely, we are called to vote on community or social issues, and even that is most of the times reduced to chose a representative from a short list that is presented to us, to delegate our decision making power.

Our concept of democracy is affected by our very reduced experience with democratic processes. We seem to appreciate our minimal involvement in shaping the social power structure. We demand transparency and accountability form those in power. But we don't seem to trust a wide open involvement of the public in making granular decisions. We don't even seem to understand how that can be done.

The multitude, or the p2p movement prescribes methods for wide open processes for problem solving (value creation) and decision making. This is known as open (source) development (peer production) and open governance. These methods have been shown to be very effective, but very few people are accustomed to them. Those who don't know them don't trust them, and find them risky.

I have participated in many collaborative projects in the past, which started with the intention to develop as open peer to peer projects and when the panic set in to meet the deadline many of these projects defaulted back to hierarchical/centralized and closed. The argument was always the same, we don't have time for openness, we need to deliver with the expected quality, and fast, which implies that open processes cannot be effective enough.

Can open and peer to peer processes be effective and efficient? I have been involved in such processes for over 7 years and I can say with certainty that they are. But we have to agree on what we mean by open and peer to peer. Gathering together on the basis of good will is not enough, without the proper infrastructure, methodology, governance, and culture. Like with any other process, we need structure or at least a proper environment for structure to emerge, as needed, in context. Open and peer to peer doesn't mean no structure.

We often hear that we need to let the process self-organize. That is fine, but the next question is self-organize into what? As soon as you ask that question another one pops up, how do you do that? How do you set up the environment to foster that self-organizing process so that the system transitions into a state that has the desired characteristic? Emergence will happen, but you might end up in an undesired state. Lock a bunch of people in a room and come back two days later. You may find them divided into two teams, playing a competitive game, or in a circle, trying to solve a problem in a collaborative way, or everyone else listening to one person giving a presentation, or everyone fighting against everyone else like in a bar scene of a classical western movie. All that is possible, and more. But if you give them some initial suggestions, or even some rules, if you put some boundary conditions on the system and prescribe some processes, you will restrict the array of possible outcomes. You can drive this group into a more collaborative or a more competitive state for example.

Groups that are setting up to do something in an open and peer to peer way, and that don't have the proper culture and knowledge about it don't know how to create the conditions to self-organize into a desired state, one that preserves the characteristics of openness and peer to peer. Some of the features of this desired state are to deliver solutions in an effective and efficient way (and yes, it works), along with empowering the participants, giving participants the opportunity to lean something new, increasing the level of participation, etc. As soon as the panic sets in, their familiarity with hierarchical and closed processes feels like a comfort zone for them, and that pulls them back into their default dynamics.

So what does it take to conduct projects in an open and peer to peer way, effectively and efficiently? There are various recipes that apply in different contexts. Scale is an important factor, which is about the number of participants. The type of project is another one, related to the type of resources needed, to the nature of the deliverable, to the type processes involved, ...

First, we need to evaluate if the initial group has the open culture. This post is not the place to describe what that culture is in detail. Let's just say that the individuals involved need to be comfortable with sharing early, working transparently, collaborate and even co-create, which involves being non-territorial and non-egoistical, accept and provide constructive criticism, be independent, be respectful, be inclusive, be helpful and attentive to others' needs, understand the value within the network or the community, protect and nurture the commons, have a sense of purpose, etc. The better the culture the less governance is needed, because people instinctively know how to conduct themselves. I have worked in groups with the proper culture and it feels like honey. Everything runs smoothly, people find their place rapidly, they know how to take initiative without stepping on anyone's foot, decisions are made effectively without alienating many, ... I also worked in groups with a poor culture. It feels like rolling a stone ball up the hill, dropping it from time to time and starting all over again. People are in for their individual benefits, they fight to occupy prominent roles, they are focused more on having their ideas accepted rather than having the best idea shaping up, they can't share early or collaborate and produce poor results for which they cannot take constructive criticism. When it comes to benefits, they would like to have it all. Instead of helping others they try to outperform them to gain more visibility, ... Sometimes we are forced by circumstances to work with people that don't have the proper culture, and in that case we need norms and rules, we need to install open governance.

Open governance is about decision making processes, conflict resolution mechanisms, norms and rules of conduct. There are many recipes for this too, and we are not going to provide a complete overview here. If you want to dig more, search ''peer governance'' on http://p2pfoundation.net
Examples are: define ''membership'', frame ''initiative'' and describe how to make incremental decisions, describe how broad scope decisions are made (see consensus building and lazy democracy for instance), describe rules for accessing, modifying, and sharing content, describe representation rules, describe expulsion rules, etc.

Third, we need to put in place methodologies, which describe how new members are integrated, how meetings and other tasks are conducted, how to deal with documentation, how to allocate different types of resources, how to conduct research and development, how to do outreach, etc.

Last, but not the least, we need to put in place some infrastructure, which is a system of tools used in processes. These are internal communication and social media channels, content management system, resource planning system, project management tools, perhaps a reputation system and a value accounting system, etc.

It is important to note that the tools and methodologies used affect the culture of the group. For example, if the content management system is a public wiki and the methodology around documentation is designed around this tool, the group will most probably inherit a collaborative and open culture. That is because the tool and its associated processes are inherently open and collaborative. First, they act as filters, attracting predominantly individuals with the proper culture, which will form a critical mass and induce a change in the not so accustomed minority, which will tend to conform. Second, being exposed to these tools and processes allows one to experience and learn the open ways, and perhaps to even appreciate them.

We also need to mention that the culture, the governance, the methodologies and the infrastructure need to form a coherent system. If the group adopts an infrastructure with limited access for the majority of its members, for instance if the content management system allows only a few members to edit content, these privileged members will effectively have at their disposal a lever of power by controlling the content. This situation can spoil other processes, but it can be addressed by putting in place rules for content management, allowing the group to democratically elect those who hold the key to the content and to remove them from this position in case of abuse. Small groups that also have the proper culture can probably function even without these rules, but the situation can be unstable.

Even before we put all this in place to increase the resilience of an open and peer to peer endeavor, there is still a big hurdle to pass. I can say that this is probably the hardest one, even for someone with a lot of experience. If the forming group doesn't have the proper culture, it might become very difficult to create the proper conditions for the project. That is because those with little experience with the open and peer to peer are not very good at recognizing talent and skills, and at stepping aside to let those with experience set it up for them. Most probably, you will find at least one in the group who, for various reasons, will oppose or marginalize those who show initiative and fine skills, who could set the ground for a successful venture. Sometimes, the initiatives of the skilled individual are rejected because they are simply not understood, and since in the beginning there is no governance in place to frame initiative or even to make decisions, the chance to even put that in place is reduced. In these situations, most often than not, the skilled individuals get frustrated and quit.

In conclusion, open and peer to peer ventures can be very efficient and effective. If you want to experience their benefits you need to understand that in order to run this types of ventures successfully you need people with the proper technical skills, experience and culture, which can create the proper initial conditions. If you succeed in attracting some of these people, make sure you keep them close and happy.


By AllOfUs

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Crowdfunding capacity for peer production

Last updated on July 23 2015
Your feedback will help me improve it. Thank you for your time. 

They did it again!

In the spring of 2015, the SENSORICA network delivered another important proof of concept for commons-based peer production. We demonstrated that equipment for peer production can be endogenously crowdfunded.

Everyone today knows about crowdfunding. In case you are just returning from a trip to Mars, crowdfunding is a new way to raise funds which involves hundreds or even thousands of individuals, the crowd. If you need money for a venture, instead of going to the bank for a loan or getting venture capital you can now use websites like Goteo, IndiegogoKickstarter, etc. You present your project on one of these platforms and ask people from around the world to fund you. Crowdfunding is either a donation scheme, people help you to achieve something without expecting much in return for themselves, only a good feeling for having contributed to a good cause, or a pre-sale scheme, people give you money upfront for a service or a product that doesn't need to be finished before the crowdfunding, that you will deliver a few months later. There is also crowdfunding for equity, where people give you money in exchange of shares in your venture, but very few countries have permissive laws for it.

You can find a lot of stories about individuals or small groups who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for their product ideas. This shows that crowdfunding democratizes innovation.

It didn't take long before companies caught up with this trend, realizing that they could not only finance the productization phase (transforming a prototype into a manufacturable product at a competitive price) but also get immediate and valuable feedback from the market (if people finance you before you even have a finished product that means that you have a market, and they might even tell you how to improve your product).

So, before we see what SENSORICA did different, let's review a few important features of crowdfunding in general.

Most crowdfunding is used as a pre-sale scheme, Kickstarter being the most popular platform. Goteo is more for open source projects, or for projects that have a social impact. Crowdfunding for equity seems to be adequate for financing infrastructure or capacity development, but it is still in its infancy. 

Almost all the crowdfunding mechanisms are dissociated from the ventures that are using them. They are centralized platforms owned by a classical organization that acts as a mediator between project initiators and their support crowd. 
The crowdfunding model is fueled by three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea and/or project to be funded; individuals or groups who support the idea; and a moderating organization (the "platform") that brings the parties together to launch the idea.  [Wikipedia]
There are also a few examples of self-crowdfunding, where organizations run their campaign on their own platform. This practice is problematic though, because people see in it a conflict of interest. When a third-party that specializes in crowdfunding is used, people trust that the same rules will be applied to everyone and that the data displayed during the process reflects reality.

But things are changing very fast now. Within a year or so, crowdfunding will be implemented on p2p infrastructures based on block chain technology. This means that instead of doing crowdfunding on centralized platforms (the website lives on a proprietary server or cloud, Kickstarter for example) the process will become entirely p2p (the information will live in a bunch of interconnected machines, individually owned by everyone who uses the system). Simply put, the block chain technology (and who knows what will follow next) decentralizes funding even further. If traditional crowdfunding allows people to fund each other using a centralized proprietary platform, this new technology eliminates the need for a proprietary platform, the company in the middle, and  puts the same people in charge of the process. See more here.

Born in 2003, crowdfunding is already making a leap forward, leaving platforms like Kickstarter wondering about their own survival. The new p2p (or real) crowdfunding, based on block chain technology, can give much more flexibility to projects or ventures. The problem is that its time has not come yet. It is technologically possible, but the world around it hasn't advanced far enough for it to have a proper ground for implementation. This is where SENSORICA and its proof of concept comes in.  

SENSORICA is not a typical organization. It is an open value network. It is an open network that does peer production. It is a cluster of open enterprises. It is, in my opinion, the most audacious attempt to implement commons-based peer production of hardware, started in February 2011, one year and 3 months after Satoshi Nakamoto published his paper "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System". It is the furthest humanity has gone into hard core peer production, building peer-run physical labs, peer governance and normative systems, methodologies for open product development, as well as legal structures compatible with all that. SENSORICA is the proper environment for p2p (or real) crowdfunding.  

Recent technologies like Ethereum, which also builds on the block chain technology, have made possible new types of economic entities, the so-called DACs, for Distributed Autonomous Organizations. The first implementations of DACs are quite simple, service based, see for example Peertracks. But this technology will very soon mature to fulfill the needs of p2p hardware innovation and production, which is very complex. This will most probably become the infrastructure on which open value networks like SENSORICA will be built in the not so far future.

All that to say that in parallel with the continuous development of crowdfunding there is also a continuous development of organizations, following the same philosophy, based on the same logic, enabled by the same technology. The two movements are about to merge into a coherent economic system, operating on new principles. We are already passed half way into the transition and we can already see what's on the other side.

So what did SENSORICA demonstrated? Sorry for holding it, I am trying to save you the best for the end  : )

SENSORICA used its network resource planning and value accounting system (NRP-VAS), in a context of peer production, to endogenously crowdfund a piece of equipment for the first time in its history. In other words, this is the first time a p2p network that is focused on hardware innovation and production has used a crowdfunding mechanism part of its own infrastructure, not as a service from an external platform, centralized or not.

We used the NRP-VAS to co-finance a $4,000 3D printer. 11 SENSORICA affiliates have contributed to this purchase. The example might seem insignificant for the untrained eye, but there is a lot more behind it.

First, there is the issue of trust. Most of these participant affiliates have never seen each other. Two of them live in the US, the rest live in Canada. Some of them are so far away that they will not even be able to use the 3D printer. We passed the trust hurdle. Participation was a bit slow in the beginning, but after we reached a critical mass it got easier. This is trust in a system, trust generated by processes, trust generated through openness and transparency, not so much trust in each other. This is what makes a system scalable and reproducible.

Second, there is the complexity that comes with co-purchasing. Who owns it? What's the agreement between the co-owners? Who can use it and under what conditions? Who is going to pay for maintenance? How are we going to deal with community use, and commercial use, and other types of uses? It is not simple, but this is what technology is good for, reducing complexity or hiding it behind user interfaces.

We created a co-owner agreement and we implemented new functionality within our NRP-VAS to handle the printer's use logging and to perform calculations to account for the material used in the printing process, usage time, technical assistance, etc. For example, is someone makes commercial use of the 3D printer the cost is split into:

  • cost of the material used, 
  • some % will go into a maintenance budget account for the 3D printer, 
  • some % will go to a general infrastructure maintenance and development account,
  • some % will go to pay back the co-owners (the agreement stipulates that once they are paid back plus 20% to cover their risk, the 3D printer becomes part of the pool of shareables), 
  • some money will go to pay a technician, if needed.    

All that complexity is absorbed by the technology that we are developing.

NOTESENSORICA's NRP-VAS is not decentralized, it is not using block chain technology, because this new p2p infrastructure is not ready yet to handle all the complexity that the open value network is dealing with. This will probably come in two years from now. Moreover, when SENSORICA was created the block chain technology was still in its embryonic state. Therefore, it is probably difficult for the untrained eye to understand how this new SENSORICA proof of concept fits with new pure p2p processes. Think of SENSORICA as p2p at the socio-economic level, but not entirely at the infrastructure level. This is still a work in progress.

This crowdfunding endogenous to an open value network was implemented using the Custodian's financial tools, a Paypal account (open the webpage where the contributions where gathered). See definition of a Custodian. All the contributions were recorded into a virtual account on SENSORICA's NRP-VAS, specifically opened for the purchase of the 3D printer. Once the printer was purchased this account balance went back to 0$.

The lesson here is that an open value network is able to not only crowdsource and crowdfund innovation and production, but also infrastructure development. The tools used by SENSORICA, a p2p organization at the socio-economic level, are not entirely p2p, but we are building understanding and valuable experience, and we are anxiously waiting for the block chain technology to mature.

By Tiberius Brastaviceanu
By AllOfUs

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The stateless economy, local economies, and the state

NOTE: This is the second draft. This post was motivated and informed by THIS discussion on Facebook. 

The Multitude movement enters a new era, where its processes can be supported by truly p2p infrastructures. Bitcoin is now a well-known symbol of a new breed of value exchange systems, called cryptocurrencies, money without the bank, stateless money, a new currency that looks and feels like your ATM card, but it is entirely decentralized, under the control of those who use it.

Peer-to-peer is a new pattern that emerges in almost all the spheres of human activity, from culture, to governance, to the creation and the distribution of goods and services. It is the underlying pattern of the current leap in the emancipation of the multitude (see the multitude manifesto). Bitcoin is the poster child of p2p exchange systems, but the same technology is now expanding and promising much more:
From Ethereum project: Satoshi Nakamoto's development of Bitcoin in 2009 has often been hailed as a radical development in money and currency, being the first example of a digital asset which simultaneously has no backing or "intrinsic value" and no centralized issuer or controller. However, another, arguably more important, part of the Bitcoin experiment is the underlying blockchain technology as a tool of distributed consensus, and attention is rapidly starting to shift to this other aspect of Bitcoin. Commonly cited alternative applications of blockchain technology include using on-blockchain digital assets to represent custom currencies and financial instruments ("colored coins"), the ownership of an underlying physical device ("smart property"), non-fungible assets such as domain names ("Namecoin"), as well as more complex applications involving having digital assets being directly controlled by a piece of code implementing arbitrary rules ("smart contracts") or even blockchain-based "decentralized autonomous organizations" (DAOs). What Ethereum intends to provide is a blockchain with a built-in fully fledged Turing-complete programming language that can be used to create "contracts" that can be used to encode arbitrary state transition functions, allowing users to create any of the systems described above, as well as many others that we have not yet imagined, simply by writing up the logic in a few lines of code. (See the source). 
For those who think that all this technology is nothing if it doesn't live on its own support, on a p2p Internet, take a look at the MaidSafe project, FNF and many others like them. MaidSafe is special because it comes with its own economy, it's own ways to incentivize the development and maintenance of its physical infrastructure, and has a cleaver launch and growth model which takes advantage of the existing infrastructure.  

We are creating new economic processes with their own exchange systems that know no borders, no political boundaries, and no central authority (which doesn't mean no rules or chaos). We are creating a stateless economy. How states respond to it? How does it relate to local economies?

One of the most interesting observations in relation with this new pattern that deploys globally on p2p infrastructures is the emergence of a global multitude. It is a very diverse multitude. This diversity is rooted in values and principles rather than in local customs. We speak about it as different cultures of online communities. These new social structures transcend the state, which has no effective means to control them. We are witnessing the emergence of new social structures, that come with their own support mechanisms.  

Will states turn against these trends as a reaction of self-preservation? Yes, see for example a list of states that ban bitcoins. I predict that this opposition will grow stronger in the near future, but no state can bury an idea whose time has come. No state can oppose something that provides value to virtually all its citizens, especially when the current economic model is evidently unsustainable, morally bankrupt, openly criticized, in decline. What should governments tell their youth looking for a job? The answers can be read in the daily news in Greece, Spain, Italy, France, USA, ... and the list is growing longer every year. 

There is antagonism between the state and this new Multitude outburst, with its p2p practices. Do we see a solution out of this standoff? Institutions are not eternal. They have a life cycle as any other thing. Nation-states were created in the 19th century. The state is an instrument for local communities. People are above the state. The proof is that we, the people, have outlived all the social structures that have existed throughout our history. In the future we will form new social structures and will find new ways to sustain our local communities. How are local communities adapting today?  

The stateless economy is not in contradiction with the local economy

I am drawing my conclusions from my work on the Open Value Network (OVN) model within the SENSORICA community, a pilot project for long tail peer production

Forces and mechanisms behind the emergence of local economies

The impact of human activity on our planet is now visible, measurable, which makes us realize that our way of living is outgrowing the Earth's capacity. Pollution and degradation of natural ecosystems, the energy crisis, and an unstable geopolitical situation are aligning to favor the development of diversified local economies. New technologies for renewable energy, for new materials, automation, robotics, and 3D printing, make local production for local consumption economically viable.  

The relevance of proximity and its role in the self-organization of local economies 

The Internet allows coordination and collaboration at the global scale. Design and simulation activities have been virtualized. Engineers can now collaborate online on designs that can be virtually tested and simulated. Innovation has gone virtual, it has been delocalized. This allows the existence of new modes of innovation supported by a new socio-economic structure, the open source community. But making stuff (manufacturing hardware for example) requires local physical resources (materials, tools and equipment, space,...), uses local processes (digital fabrication, assembling, ...), relying on local know how (which cannot be formalized, externalized, and easily passed to others through a medium like the Internet). The Internet doesn't obliterate the need for locality and proximity when it comes to production and distribution of material goods. Locality anchors processes to a specific location, the need for proximity ties different processes into a local economy.  

From global commons to local economies.
This is how the new economy is shaping. It builds on another new reality: 
Knowledge is abundant, know how and capacity of production are scarce and require proximity.
Knowledge is abundant because one idea becomes available to the entire planet as soon as it is shared on the Internet. That single idea can be shared with everyone on the planet at once. There is no limited quantity or debit, it can be accessed anytime and people don't need to take turns to access it. Everyone can have it, together with other ideas produced by other people. That's abundance. Thus, the Internet is a growing repository of ideas that people use to generate new knowledge, which is itself shared, and so on. Sharing is part of the process because it makes the whole system more efficient. Sharing is also imposed by a minority of individuals who have a natural propensity for it. Since ideas usually pop up in different locations at small intervals of time, someone will eventually share something, which obliterates someone else's wish to keep it a secret. This global swarm of ideas and knowledge building is actually a new mode of innovation, open source innovation, supported by a new social-economic structure, the open source community

Open source communities, which are virtual and stateless, are now the most innovative organizations. 3D printing has been democratized by open hardware communities, which continue to lead in 3D printing innovation, despite a few corporate successes. The same can be said for automation and control systems, with Arduino being the most popular example. DIY Drones is where the innovation in UAV technology happens. The dominant mode of innovation is now global, decentralized, stateless, increasingly using it's own physical infrastructure (a network of fablabs, makerspaces, co-working spaces), increasingly using its own funding mechanisms (crowdfunding and peer lending)

The abundance of knowledge goes hand in hand with the creation of a global knowledge commonsThis global knowledge commons gets materialized into local economies, using local know how and local capacity of production. This materialization requires a special type of infrastructure and new economic models. Let's illustrate this potential with two examples: 

Your local community needs adapted means of transportation? You can open a Local motors shop and grow a community around it to produce and distribute cars, locally. You continue to be plugged into the global Local motors community in order to benefit from the stream of open innovation that comes out of it. You can also join other similar communities like Wikispeed and the OScar in order to incorporate even more potential. There is no intellectual property around these car designs, they are open source and everything you build on top of these designs becomes open source by default, goes back into this global commons. Manufacturing a car, its distribution, and services around it forms a local economic activity. In order to make that happen, a tight and synergistic relation must be established between the global open innovation process for designs and the local production processes. This relation insures that the feedback (for product improvement, diversification) that comes from the consumer, in direct relation with the local manufacturer and service provider, is translated into technical problems and passed on to the global open source community of designers. The relation is established and maintained by channels of value between the local and the global/virtual layers. An example is a system of revenue sharing from the local to the global/virtual layer of innovation. This is what the Open Value Network (OVN) model is trying to achieve, with its value accounting system.  

You need to improve food production in your region? Join Farmhack, which provides open source solutions. Open source ecology offers tools not only for agriculture, but also for the construction of your farm and even for the construction of an entire village (see also Appropedia). There are similar online communities for indoor growing, automated greenhouses, hydroponics and aquaponics (see HAPI)... Name it, you'll find it. These sources for knowledge and designs are complemented by other tools and services for resource sharing and management, like landshare and shareearth (for land), neighborgoods (for tools and equipment), plantcatching (for plants and seeds), as well as more complex tools for mapping and economic modeling (localfoodsystems), etc. This new ecosystem needs to come tightly together into an open value network which allows value flows between different nodes. Local food systems are reorganizing along a different logic. 

New types of organizations are needed in order to orchestrate and incentivize the development of the global commons and to funnel it into sustainable local economies. I bet on the Open Value Network (OVN) model and on organizations like SENSORICA, because in my opinion they take into consideration how innovation, production, and distribution are restructuring. 

Within OVNs a need (local or not) is translated into a problem, which comes with its own incentive system (monetary or others), to be solved by a global, stateless community of developers, into open source solutions. The solution is materialized into a product or a service at the point of origin of the problem, and distributed to those in need, in exchange of some form of benefit/revenue. The revenue gets redistributed to ALL the participants in proportion to their contributions, using a value accounting system (records contributions) and a value equation (turns contributions into fluid equity). Since the solution is open source, others can also distribute it as is, or as a modified/improved/remixed version, also giving back to the original contributors in order to buy their loyalty and to sustain the open innovation channel, in order to sustain the link between the local economy organized around production, distribution and servicing, and the global and virtual layer of open innovation.

New infrastructures are required to support these organizations and their processes. OVNs are supported by a network resource planning and value accounting system (NRP-VAS). These tools will move on truly p2p infrastructures like Ethereum. It is important to realize that these new economic systems would be dysfunctional if they were obliged to use classical means of value exchange, or even Paypal. Imagine a project with thousands of participants and a long tail contribution distribution. The redistribution of revenue to all the contributors for every market exchange (every sale), as prescribed by the OVN model, would require thousands of micro-payments across the globe. Also, imagine thousands of individuals crowdfunding a new equipment used in a project. This would also require thousands of cash transfers from all the contributors into a unique bank account, from which the purchase is made. Bitcoin and other currencies built on the block chain technology improve the ability of OVNs to incentivize open innovation and to source its processes. 

Open source innovation has been proven to be the most effective mode of innovation. It is supported by open source communities, which are by nature open and decentralized, global and stateless. Innovation drives our modern economy, therefore open source innovation is here to stay, and the rest organizes around it. In order to close the cycle from idea to the market, new types of organizations have been created, based on the OVN model or others hybrid models (for more on these hybrid models see Open Source Hardware meets the p2p economy). New infrastructures have been created to tie everything together into self-sufficient value systems, into open value networks. These infrastructures are designed to support the p2p pattern, reducing the role of the state. Local communities have new alternatives for thriving, which require a radical redefinition of the state.  

Some states have banned cryptocurrencies, which reduces the ability of open value networks (tying global/virtual open source innovation systems to the local economy) to form and develop, which in turn takes away viable alternatives for local communities. 

Without embracing stateless p2p practices we don't actualize the full potential of the new digital technology in making our economy more effective, efficient, and sustainable. Without embracing stateless p2p practices we will see the collapse of our local communities, as the state gradually collapses. States that are fighting stateless p2p processes are essentially denying their local communities access to the p2p economy, an alternative that already shows clear signs to be effective.