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Kiwi Web App Paves the Way For Everyday Democracy

(business and technology)
For immediate release, 9 August 2013

Kiwi Web App Paves the Way For Everyday Democracy

Loomio, a much anticipated online collaborative decision-making platform built by a Wellington-based social enterprise startup, is launching internationally today.

Through its 18 months of development, Loomio has fielded wide international interest. The platform is already being used by more than a thousand organisations worldwide, ranging from software projects to grocery stores to political parties. Following public launch, the doors will be open to any group that wants to sign up.

The idea behind the user-friendly decision-making tool was sparked by the experience of some of the Loomio team in the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011.

Team member Jon Lemmon says, “For me, the Occupy movement was essentially saying that everyone should have a say in decisions that affect them. So we set out to use the Internet to make collaborative decision-making easy and accessible for all kinds of groups.”

Based at Enspiral, Wellington’s tech innovation hub, people from diverse professional backgrounds have come together to build a cooperative social enterprise around Loomio - the Loomio Cooperative is a business with a social mission that is collectively owned by its staff.

Former CEO of CCS Disability Services Vivien Maidaborn is a Director of Loomio Cooperative Ltd.

Maidaborn says that the time for community decision-making has arrived. “It has never been more important to talk locally, in our families, communities and workplaces, and at the same time to connect globally.”  

The tool has already had on-the-ground impact, internationally as well as locally. Loomio is currently being used to organise an international conference in India, to manage a community-run bookstore in San Francisco, as well as being used for city-wide public consultation by Wellington City Council earlier this year.

Best-selling author and NYU media theorist Douglas Rushkoff is an international advisor to the Loomio project. Rushkoff says, “I’m excited about Loomio because it finally unleashes the Internet’s potential to bring people towards consensus greater than the sum of its parts, rather than debate and polarised discussion that reduces public discourse to the lowest common denominator.”


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