Crowdfunding platform for collective benefit @ Barcelona, Spain

Internet has been changing constantly the way things get done in many aspects of our life, one of these areas is how projects get funded. „Crowdfunding“ has been a hot topic in the past years and a handful of platforms are currently being chosen by many enterpreneurs and creative minds who want their ideas become reality without needing to get a loan from the bank.

PrintBut there is one, that in our opinion, represents the philosophy behind the words „Openness“ and „Sharing“ the best: The main virtue of this platform for crowdfunding and distributed collaboration is that the collective return represents the principal output everytime a certain project gets succesfully funded, also promoting the commons, open code and/or free knowledge in the process. was very smartly conceived. Taking in consideration the input of the creative community it is meant to serve even before a single line of code for the platform was written, it features intelligent design decisions such as the two crowdfunding rounds of 40+40 days or the possibility for backers to contribute through services, material resources and/or insfrastructure instead of only with money. These and other aspects differentiates in great way to the others.

Launched in November 2011, after its first year the platform registered impresive statistics: 15K+ registered users, around 150 open projects collecting in total more than 430,000 Euros, with an average of almost 40 Euros per cofunder and a campaign success rate of over 60%. We recommend you to watch the following video of the presentation one of it’s co-founders Olivier Schulbaum did at TEDxMadrid in 2012.

Bildschirmfoto 2013-12-21 um 12.52.30In the list of sucessfully funded projects we discover very interesting initiatives: two models of Do-It-Yourself shoes, a citizen-run network to measure and share pollution data collected by sensors called Smart Citizen or even the production of a music album released under creative commons license. Just browse their site and you will get automatically inspired but lots of good ideas. If you like them, support them! And make them become true.

Another great thing about is that the code of the platform is Open Source, that means anyone can get it and adapt it to their own needs. That is what two regional communities in Spain have already done; first it was Euskadi and then Andalucia which created its own “local node”, supporting innovation and development among its creative citizens. Currently, another one is being prepared for France!

Do you have a great idea for a project with social, cultural, scientific, educational, technological, or ecological objectives? Your budget is limited and you need help from the community? You didn’t know about yet? If you answered with are yes yes no to these three questions, that means this article probably made your day!

Experiencing Knowledge Sharing @ Tom Karen’s Center, Ban Huai Sak, Thailand

After running our workshop in Chiang Mai, we decided to discover the countryside and headed North to the Chiang Rai district. A number of different hill-tribes originally from Burma, Laos or China have settled in this border region in the last two centuries, enriching it culturally with their own traditions and languages.

Feeling interested, we wanted to learn more about them and how they live nowadays. We met Tom almost by chance, a great man who belongs to the Karen tribe and who, after living in different parts of Thailand and abroad, decided to come back to his village and do something relevant for his people.

centerHis project is called the Tom Karen’s Center. Offering free education for the children of Ban Huisak and neighboring villages, it receives volunteers which contribute to the community teaching English while sharing time, passions and knowledge with the kids.

We had the opportunity to spend some days with Tom and his wonderful family, which warmly welcomed us in their beautiful house surrounded by mountains and rice fields. During our stay, we took part in the local community’s activities and showed the kids how they can create their own blog, work with photos and slide presentations on their computers. It was fun!


Since two years, Tom is working really hard to build his after-school center. It has already a classroom, toilets and lots of space for the children to learn and play. But many things are still in the works; a library, a second classroom are planned and thanks to donations the available equipment (computers, books, learning material) is getting better.

We fully respect and support Tom’s initiative and would like to recommend everyone to learn more about his project, volunteer at his center if you happen to spend some time in North Thailand and support him by making a donation: learning and construction materials besides financial support will help Tom providing better education to children in rural areas.

Introducing the Open Steps Directory of individuals and organisations

directoryThe Open Steps Directory is something we have been working on for the past weeks and we are happy to announce it now!

It contains the list of individuals and organisations we have met and/or collaborated with along our journey. It represents an attempt to gather information and contact details about the persons, groups and collectives that work actively with Open Knowledge and play an important role supporting the principles behind Open Cultures. You can check it here.

Open Data is one of the main topics we are working with and therefore we are also releasing this information in the following formats for you to download, use and redistribute:

– List of organisations: JSON CSV XLSX
– List of individuals: JSON CSV XLSX

Meeting & Workshop @ Opendream, Chiang Mai, Thailand

DSCF1923Our first workshop in Asia took place in the modern and creative city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. We were welcomed by the Opendream team in their wonderful office where the young developers are busy implementing technological solutions mainly for social enterprises. Although this company was founded only 5 years ago, it counts already with an interesting portfolio of social oriented projects like an educational mobile game which informs about how to react in case of floods, a data-collection portal used by village citizens after the floods of 2011 or the Digital Library Network of Thailand, an online knowledge search tool. We could experience that Opendream collaborates with like-minded organisations such as ChangeFusion in Thailand, OpenDevelopmentCambodia which we will meet next month in Phnom Penh, and the fellows from TacticalTech we already visited in Bangalore. This fact proves that Open Cultures activists are connected even across borders and that makes us happy every time we experience about it! Opendream is certainly one of the most active organisations in Thailand regarding Open Data and Open Source. In 2011, they organised an Open Data Hackathon in Bangkok where programmers experimented scraping and cleaning data from governmental websites. The team participated in another hackathon hosted in Cambodia and its present in several events across the globe as the latest DDD conference in San Francisco.

DSCF1936After running our workshop in front a small group, mostly composed by the Opendream staff, we had a very enriching discussion around the status and controversial history of Open Data in Thailand. Why the national Open Data platform created in 2009 was closed some months later and is still inactive nowadays? One of the participants, the info-activist Arthit Suriyawongkul, could answer this question. Arthit belongs to the team which adapted the creative commons generic license to the Thai jurisdiction and initiated the Thai Netizen Network, a small group of individuals working with advocates defending the citizens’ rights for privacy and freedom of expression on the net, providing expertise and trainings in these topics.

Apparently, the first platform, developed by Opendream, was created out of the personal initiative of the former primer minister and disappeared from the internet once the political power changed hands later on. It hosted around 1000 datasets mostly on agriculture, transport and health and was conceived as a prototype which remained almost unknown for the civil society. So, technical know-how is already available, but as we experienced from the audience, what is missing is the legislative stability to guarantee the existence of such a platform. However, two new websites, and, have been recently announced by the actual ICT minister for 2014. Also, the limited awareness of the thai society regarding the potential of Open Data and Open Government seems to slow down the development of these areas. While browsing the web, we could only find a few active references of community engagement apart from an old and outdated google group. We hope, the new initiatives from the government mentioned above boost the interest of developers and users.

That’s why only few Open Data apps and projects made in Thailand could be exposed at the final discussion, compared to previous workshops. However, we could find out about some interesting projects in Asia and other continents like the portal for transparency regarding public expenditures in Timor-Leste, the UNESCO founded data portal for education OpenEMIS or helpful open source platforms for social change made in UK.

After this stop, we feel very curious about the situation in other asiatic countries and are looking forward to visiting Thailand’s neighbour countries.

Slides of the presentation
Slides of the presentation

Next steps in Asia

Leaving India, we are closing an important phase of our project. It’s is already being over five months on the road documenting and discovering Open Knowledge / Open Data related projects. Now we are busy preparing our schedule for Asia, where following dates have been planned so far:

Meeting & Workshop @ Opendream, Chiang Mai, Thailand – 16th December 2013

opendream1Opendream is a social enterprise with expertise in Internet solution development and information design. With years of experiences in open collaborative projects and open source communities, Opendream brings best-of-the-breed technologies and practices to work with our client-friends making impacts in their landscape, no matter does it is in public or private sector.

Meeting @ Open Development Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia – 8th January 2014

Open Development Cambodia (ODC) is an “Open Data” website, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. The “Open Data” movement is based on the simple premise that data collected for public interest should be publicly available – without restrictions. Information or “data” in the public domain should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish. Open Development Cambodia (ODC) does not promote any particular perspective, agenda or bias other than to provide objective information about Cambodia and its development.


Workshop @ GIZ / Civil Peace Service, Phnom Penh, Cambodia – 10th January 2014


To strengthen the reconciliation and the peace-building process, the Civil Peace Service (CPS) ensures that Cambodian citizens and Khmer Rouge survivors are thoroughly informed about Tribunal processes to foster public opinions about the outcomes. It is hoped that understanding, and a feeling of citizen ownership of the legal process will result in a genuine sense of justice.

Meeting & Workshop @ Transparency International Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia – 13h January 2014

Transparency International Cambodia

One global movement sharing one vision: a world in which government, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption. In 1993, a few individuals decided to take a stance against corruption and created Transparency International. Now present in more than 100 countries, the movement works relentlessly to stir the world’s collective conscience and bring about change.

Meeting @ Mekong River Commission Data Portal, Vientiane, Laos – Beginning February 2014


MRC collects and manages a range of data and information with its Member Countries and other regional stakeholders. The MRC Data and Information Services Portal provides a summary of MRC’s services and enables direct access, including to realtime information and downloadable data.



Meeting & Workshop @ Open Data HK , Hong Kong, China – Mid February 2014


The OpenDataHK is an open, participative, volunteer-run group of Hong Kong citizens who support Open Data, founded in March 2013. Anyone is welcome to join, take part and lead.