Ouishare started in 2012 around a Utopia: the idea of a ‘Collaborative Society’, made up of communities of peers that work and live together.
Over the last 8 years, we built an international network of committed members. We discussed and revealed divergent opinions about the collaborative economy and its potential to transform society. We gathered researchers, activists, innovators and decision-makers from around the world at one-of-a-kind events such as Ouishare Fest in Europe and Colaboramerica in South America. We explored social challenges beyond myths and clichés by doing research on the ground, about the impact of the collaborative economy in rural areas, and how people living in underprivileged areas use digital technology. We ran speculative design processes with citizens to explore scenarios for the future of the work world.
We are proud of everything we have done, and we feel that now is the time to take one step further, because we feel uncomfortable. We feel uncomfortable with the way the changing labour market is pushing people into precariousness and how we have developed new language that legitimizes this transformation. We feel uncomfortable with political systems that put the responsibility for the degradation of our living environment and social fabric on us as individuals. We feel uncomfortable with the increasing levels of inequality in societies today, and the continuous marginalisation of people that we do not want to see, hear, talk or listen to.
Above all, we feel uncomfortable with solutionism and its underlying mandate: measure, innovate, accelerate. Addressing the pains of our times is no longer a question of tech, data or AI. We are convinced that digital technology is neither the problem, nor the solution- more than anything, it distracts us from asking the important questions.
In a society saturated with “progressivism” we seek to find better questions and nourish our critical thinking. We question the status quo and depict alternatives.
We play an intermediary role by connecting people, ideas and movements that otherwise rarely meet or interact.
We are leaders in developing models for collaboration based on trust and long term thinking.
We do this by connecting our knowledge, skills and experiences. We trust our intuition, listen to what is around us and build bridges where it was previously considered impossible to do so. We are humans who see ourselves as members of a collective above being “experts”, “facilitators”, “designers” or “researchers”.
We make space for people and organizations who don’t have a voice, even in important decisions that affect them. We facilitate cooperation between them and other stakeholders under the radar, to change the balance of power.
We don’t believe in standard recipes, because every collaboration needs to be approached based on its context. We are committed to permanent experimentation with the people and organizations we work with.
Our work starts with applying these principles to ourselves. We have five values that guide our actions: collaboration, openness, care, do-ocracy and permanent beta. Since 2012, our organization has had a dynamic and minimal hierarchy, no directors or bosses. We have focused on transparency, dialogue and welcoming friction when it appears. Questioning our own organizing model will always be part of who we are, as we continuously seek to distribute power and responsibility. We will not succumb to the dogma of optimization and efficiency as an end.
More than ever, we believe that collaboration and care for the commons will help us reclaim a world that is slipping through our fingers.
Slowing down, deepening and remembering instead of accelerating, skimming the surface and reinventing.
Rather than chasing a vision, we walk with conviction.
Intrigued ? Want to know more ? Don't hesitate to read the special newsletters we released about our manifesto (french only) : (1) ce pourquoi nous avons écrit un manifeste ; (2) la précarisation du travail et la novlangue ; (3) l’individualisation des responsabilités et la dégradation des solidarités ; (4) l’augmentation des inégalités et de l'indifférence ; (5) le solutionnisme et le numérique
...or directly contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org !