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Chaitin School

Product development in collective decision making

Tue, 15 Feb 2022 19:00

This is a workshop on creating—all attendees together—a hypothetical software product that would help us make collective decisions.

There is a lot of prior art in this domain of collective/democratic decision making, yet we want to completely ignore it. If you have no idea about the prior art, please come tabula rasa and don't make any research.


Living in the same area implies some kind of coordination. This can start from agreeing that we will not build houses where roads are but also escalates to handling a situation of a neighbour having Covid and not being able to afford food.

In the West, we abstract this coordination away to the Council / Mayor / Government, yet lots of people not part of these institutions want (and do) help. Can software help them? This workshop is an investigation into how.


  • The goal is to design (not visually/graphically) a small software product that can facilitate decision making.
  • We’ll focus on designing a solution for a local London neighbourhood with a population between 100 and 1000.
  • We assume there will not be uniformity across our population. Eg, if we'd designed this for a company we could assume a certain common culture. This is not true in our case of a highly diverse neighbourhood of houses and shops.
  • Non goals:
    • We are not interesting in approaching this in a deeply technical manner. This means that we are not interested in algorithmic consensus or blockchain distributedness. We are interested in the UX of the software.
    • We don’t expect people who do this as part of their day job to attend and deliver a sophisticated proposal. This is an experiment for people interested in the ideas of solving local problems autonomously, whatever their expertise (if you do this as part of your job though, please do attend, we’d love your input!)
    • We are not necessarily interested in actually building the solution we’ll come up with. If it’s great, we (or someone else) might though!


  1. Introductory presentation on what we want to achieve (5 min)
  2. Questions and discussion on end result — opening the scope of what’s possible (10 min)
  3. Feature ideation and brainstorming — what could our functionality be (10 min)
  4. Defining an MVP — limiting the scope of our end result to a manageable size (20 min)
  5. Devising a strategy for extending our MVP (10 min)
  6. Epilogue — feedback — reflections

Note 1: In case more than 10 people show up, we might split up into two parallel teams doing the same thing.

Note 2: Please come even if you think you are or work in a field atypical for such an event!


We'll meet at Newspeak House in Shoreditch.


One can RSVP on the Meetup event.