Mutual and cooperative models in the digital economy

A report from the workshop held on 1 November 2012 - to coincide with the Cooperatives United week of events in Manchester - which looked at the important role mutual and cooperative models play in the digital economy and the opportunies in the future.

While most of the world struggles with recession, the digital economy is growing apace. Digital businesses challenge conventional practice with their flat structures and their use of social media, crowd sourcing and crowd funding - notions that emphasise co-operation. But the use of co-operative and mutual principles in the digital economy runs much deeper than this. The Internet itself would cease to function without the existence of peering points many of which are run as mutuals. New optical fibre networks in Europe and the US are using co-operative models, while organisations like INCA and Manchester City Council are exploring shared ownership of digital infrastructure by the businesses that use it. Now co-operative models are being proposed to solve new problems thrown up by the Internet like the best structures to support innovation, or new ways to finance content production.

This seminar brings together practitioners from the digital world with co-operative thinkers to understand and debate the opportunity.