For the Record: Conversations for Social and Economic Change

Some of the most profound social change has come about through bringing unlikely allies together for a common goal. I’ve ‘borrowed’ an image from a local changemaking event last year, Art for Social Change. I had the honour and pleasure to meet Judith Marcuse, a inspiring local leader for arts empowerment through social change - she is one of many leading lights in the Vancouver changemaking scene.


I’d like to extend a broad invitation: ‘In the room, for the record’. Rather than presenting solutions, this project invites social change activists and community members to have conversations that unpack specific challenges and present solutions by talking it through together, sharing their ideas, and testing them — for the record.

Many people are working in isolation on solutions which are incredibly important for the common good. The hope is to encourage thought leaders, visionaries and citizens to come together to identify, design and develop tools and processes that can help us to think together.

No one person has ‘The Answer’. The hope is that through an invitation to collaborate in a way that is transparent, accountable and openly engaging, we can host a tapestry of voices in an ongoing conversation about the change we need to be in the world.

Our ideas, voices and perspectives are of value. I’d like to test a theory: can we have conversations ‘for the record’, that help us to design and promote changemaking ideas together? Can we reflect on those conversations and see what makes sense to do moving forward? Can we ask some good questions, and follow the path of an open inquiry into what is possible?

I’m a different kind of thinker. I’ve been thinking about how we can leverage our collective assets as citizens, and I’ve landed on a reframing of the power of the voice as an important piece of the social change spectrum.

I’ve put together some proposed agreements that citizens and thought leaders can use as a framework for collaboration. These are specifically for managing media content that is created by collaborators as they explore ideas through conversation, but could be used in a number of other instances. I invite your thoughts and feedback!


The following language is offered as a draft proposal for opt in agreements for user generated content. The purpose is to respectfully handle the sharing of intellectual property in a collaborative environment in plain language.

Key elements to proposed ‘opt in’ content collaboration agreements:

  • I retain the rights to media produced under this agreement that represent my ideas, my voice or my image (content).
  • I share my ideas, voice and image to (specific people) or (the commons) as a contribution to a shared and growing narrative — the ‘new story’.
  • I choose to collaborate with others so we can share, create value, and distribute content that is representative of our perspectives, knowledge, and ideas.
  • I will make transparent the costs that are associated with doing the work, so the method, protocols and processes are understood and replicable.

This languaging is offered as proposed agreements for the commons as a contribution in aid of a ‘people centered economy’. The value of the agreements shall be set at an agreed upon rate based on the usefulness of the work as it develops through time.

Any person who contributes or participates shall be recognized as a contributor, and equal shares shall be given to any person, whether collaborator, or one who adopts the agreement(s). The value of the share increases as value is derived from the benefits of the agreements, through metrics of value. Collaborators shall be rewarded for their contributions as decided by the community of users and collaborators as it develops through time.

The purpose of the agreements are to set parameters of participation, engagement, ownership, sharing rights and the basis for the valuation of intellectual property as it relates to the development and use of agreements, in plain language, between collaborators, thought leaders, participants, and citizens (or users).

The metrics of value include, but are not limited to:

  • the clarity of the agreement(s);
  • the simplicity of the languaging;
  • the effect of the intention of the agreement(s) as it relates to participation and engagement;
  • the spread of use of agreements of similar intent in other applications;
  • the utility of framing collaborative processes through ownership and sharing agreements;
  • a recognition of the inherent value of intellectual property offerings, in an effort to shift the current protectionist framing of copyright and intellectual property protocols towards agreements that can serve the needs of a people based or knowledge based economy

These thoughts and proposed protocols are a starting point for respectfully handling user generated content, framing ownership and sharing protocols for intellectual property, and fostering relationship management protocols between collaborators.

This is a work in progress. Comments, suggestions and wordsmithing are invited.

The author and collaborators reserve the right to use this intellectual property in any way they see fit within the parameters of their own projects, and to share this intellectual property with others.

Contributor rights, use rights and sharing rights are granted to any contributor, to adopt, modify or evolve the agreements as they see fit, and share their adopted or modified agreements with others, with attribution to the originator and contributors.

Use rights and sharing rights are for everyone.

This is a work in progress. If you want to support this work, and explorations into awesome, inspiring, and next level social and economic change projects, you can contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, and share it with your friends. ;)