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Tomorrow the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University is hosting a summit in Washington, DC on next-generation governance models . Charles Armstrong will be speaking about One Click Orgs and participating a panel discussing virtual corporations and company law.

This Saturday I’m giving a presentation about One Click Orgs at OpenTech in London. My session is due to kick off around 12:40. This will be a particularly exciting day for the project as we’re hoping to give the very first public demo of the alpha release. There will be several of us at the event so do come and say hallo if you’re there.

Yesterday evening the BarCampLondon Planning Association (the organisation putting on BarCampLondon) became One Click Orgs’ first alpha customer. The association held its founding meeting at the Trampery and adopted a Themis constitution running on the prototype server. This is an important step forward for OCO, the first time an independent group has used the platform to help it manage a complex project. We’ll get a lot of valuable feedback from this that’ll help us refine the platform to meet users’ needs.

Meanwhile our presence at the BIL Conference was a great success. I was the second keynote in the main auditorium talking about the relationship between technology and organisational structure, the principles of emergent democracy and the One Click Organisations project. Then Emma had a main-auditorium session on the Sunday afternoon discussing the democratic open source development approach we’ve pioneered with OCO. Both sessions were well received and we met a lot of people who are interested in the project and/or have groups wanting to use it. The conference as a whole was overflowing ideas and projects. I’ll link to videos of our sessions as soon as they’re published.

We’re doing two sessions on one click orgs at this weekend’s BIL Conference in Long Beach, California. I’ll be presenting the concept and purpose of the project while Emma discusses the democratic open source methodology we’ve adopted for development.

BIL is the place to be for big new ideas and unconventional thinkers. i visited the first BIL last year and i’m excited to be there again this year. Come and see us if you’re there!

If you’d like to help guarantee us prime speaking slots please register on the BIL community site and mark our sessions as “favs”:

http://bil.nowgetsocial.com/talk/details/43
http://bil.nowgetsocial.com/talk/details/85

Meanwhile 2009 has got off to a great start for the project with new team members, new features and the 1.0 roadmap close to finalised.

The founding meeting for One Click Organisations was held on Monday 29 December at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, attended by Jef, Emma, Martin, Jan and myself. We went through the draft constitution clause by clause making sure everyone understood how it worked and considering any revisions. The founding vote was passed unanimously at 8:26pm, at which point One Click Organisations came into being as a legal entity (specifically an unincorporated association).

We were careful to observe established practice in convening and running the founding meeting, conscious that beyond this point we’d have few conventions on which to grasp. One of the nice things about unincorporated associations is that they are governed by the law of contract which means the members can collectively agree to adopt whatever rules they wish. So long as there is a clear paper trail leading up to the founding vote the courts will adjudicate that the constitution adopted at that point (with any subsequent modifications) is the legitimate basis on which the members have agreed to come together.

One of the most important characteristics of the Themis Constitutions is the complete absence of machinery for convening and running meetings. Therefore it was distinctly ironic to find ourselves going to such lengths in connection with the founding meeting. As the platform matures we’ll be able to streamline even this part of the process (though this first meeting will still be necessary) by providing a “wizard” which automates the production and circulation of the agenda, guides the convenor step by step through the workflow then circulates minutes at the end of the process.

From the moment of the founding vote One Click Organisations was irreversibly locked to the decision-making tools hosted on the system. Every decision registered there is binding on the organisation. As far as we can tell this is the first time anyone’s done anything like this. Whilst the system remains at such an early stage of development it’s slightly nerve-wracking. Day by day we’re thinking of more edge cases. What’s the legal situation if the server fails? Or if a bug leads to spurious decisions? Gradually we’ll add cover for cases like this in the constitution, but this definitely feels like terra incognita.

We’ve had a lot of offers of help and advice which have been gratefully received. 2009 promises to be an exciting year for One Click!

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