What is Community Hardware and Software?

  • Created by a community organisation for its own use
  • Created by a community organisation for reuse by others
  • Created by a community organisation as infrastructure to support a broader community of practice

What are the risks?

Technology orthodoxy would say that an ecosystem with many distinct tools and products that cannot interoperate and which might duplicate effort is a problem. However, we believe there are clear cultural advantages for community businesses to create, manage and own their own technology. Moreover, the Community Tech ecosystem does not just provide a useful set of services for community organisations, but a vital counterbalance to the monopoly characteristics of big tech.

Community Data and AI

Lastly, the existence of disaggregated Community Data Sets poses an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, the lack of aggregation is a useful counterbalance to the growing surveillance and convenience economy; on the other, there is a risk that Community Data could be excluded from inclusion in important data sets that drive national policies and decisions.

What Next?

Developing a community of practice to support community organisations that are already developing community tech will help bolster the great work that is already taking place. This community could share skills and resources and develop shared values and standards to lay the foundations for greater technology reuse across the sector.

White background, blue text: Power to change on the left, a dividing line, and then “backing community business” on the other side

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Rachel Coldicutt

Rachel Coldicutt

Exploring careful innovation, community tech and networked care. Day job: @carefultrouble .