Explaining platform co-ops and platform cooperativism


Platform Co-ops and Platform Cooperativism are complex and wide-ranging subjects.

Platform Co-ops have been defined in many places, on Shareable, Co-operative News twice and on The Open Co-op blog

But it still takes a while for anyone who is new to the subject to get their head around all the intricacies and overlapping objectives of the movement as a whole. So, in an attempt to try and summarise, distill and explain both the ‘top down’ and ‘bottom’ up aspects of the platform co-ops movement I created the attached. It’s far from perfect. The colours suck, and the three “strategies” / “perspectives” I have used in an attempt to categorise the objectives are also a bit clunky / possibly inappropriate… but hopefully you will get the idea.

The attached is V1 - a straw man to be picked at, pulled apart and generally burnt in favour of v2, so don’t be shy… what do you think?

  • Does my diagram help at all?
  • What’s wrong with it?
  • What could be better?
  • How would you categories the “strategies” / “perspectives”?

I’m really hoping the wisdom of the crowd can help here 'cause I’m not making much progress on my own! :cry:

platform-coops-diagram-v1.pdf (64.5 KB)


Hi @olisb

As someone new to platform coops I think I need an even more basic explanation to start me off! The diagram seems to be highlighting what is needed to drive forward the growth of platform coops as an alternative business model?

What would be useful for me would be to see is a simple explanation of what a platform coop actually is. Some examples of the best known would be helpful, as would (perhaps) two lists of Old Vs New characteristics comparing old fashioned online businesses to platform cooperatives. This would help me get my head around the idea, before I start thinking about the barriers to adoption.

Perhaps these resources already exist? Can anyone point me in the right direction? Perhaps we could start a resources thread on here?..