CheFare: draft a business plan for the unMonastery

The unMonastery Matera prototype has been submitted for the CheFare Italian competition, and last week it became one of the 40 projects shortlisted for the next phase of the competition!! More info about this phase here.

To increase our chances of winning, aside from collecting votes, we need to be able to show how the unMonastery can reach sustainability, and therefore outline a business plan which would answer key questions such as:

  1. What activities, services, projects can we propose for the unMonastery in order to justify its existence beyond a funded prototype? Can those be ways to generate revenue?
  2. What kind of resources do we need money for? What kind of resources we don't need money for but can budget in creatively (e.g. barters, gift economy etc)? 
  3. How can resources be obtained ?
  4. What is the social asset return? Can we build support by creating things that are useful for communities beyond the unMonastery project itself?

Any insights from the community are valuable and highly appreciated, as this has been a collective effort from the beginning, so thanks for taking the time and leading the way :-)

Oh, and if you like the unMonastery just as much as we do, don’t forget to SHOW SOME LOVE AND VOTE FOR IT on the CheFare website!

Posts, ok?

Hey [Noemi], question: how do we do this? Is creating posts good enough for now?

Posts are great!

Yes, sure!

Or you can choose to work on shared files and link to them in a comment to this task, so we have a birds eye view in a single thread.

A good place to start…

… is this thread. Read not only @ilariadauria’s initial post, but the comments.

The Development of Projects

We were thinking about a process that would nurture the development of select projects. These projects could potentially be a source of revenue or standalone service.This process would have two components:

  1. A panel of coaches from public/private sector who would help select and develop projects into revenue generating or sustainable services for continuity

  2. A platform similar to this example (the site is possibly only in Portuguese and developed by, that could facilitate inputs from different audiences around the projects

Happy to hear comments on this thought.

a thought

Having no experience with business plans, and very new to Edgeryders and unMonastery, still a thought keeps occurring to me - the unMonastery is “scalable” or “sustainable” only inasmuch as it keeps changing, adjusting to its host location. So maybe it is better to think about it this way for cheFare: the needs of Matera (the challenges) are to be formulated into a business plan for the city, and present the unMonastery projects as the alternative under-structure that will make all that possible, in a new way.  unMonastery can be presented like providing a kind of meta-BP. A paradigm-changing principle, rather than a traditional business model. This way you can demonstrate the strength of unMonastery, that it shapes itself to the needs of each location, growing global knowledge of local community-based development by the archives, long-term-future oriented, ecological, etc etc.

Do I get you right?

What you are saying is: the BP is for the city, and the projects are actually the way to satisfy the needs of the city in a cost-effective way? However, this doesn’t solve the matter that the Che Fare exercise is asking for a BP for the unMon itself. How do we get the material for the projects? How to we secure water uses ecc. We can’t demonstrate that the unMon is the most cost-effective way to answer issues until we actually know how much the unMon costs: also, this wold be a way to integrate some other indicators (not only €). It’s a bit like we’re inserting new measures in the BP because we think that cost-effective isn’t only a matter of low budget but also a matter of method, of approach.

Thing is, time is ticking and I am starting to doubt we’re actually going to make it unless we adopt a top-down approach - which I am not familiar with :slight_smile:

It’s not about top-down approaches, it’s about do-ocracy

Ilia, I think what you are facing is not about top-down approaches, it’s about do-ocracy… See Do-ocracy – Wikipedia for more.


Thanks [davidbourguignon]. You are of course right. :slight_smile:

Shift to what we use the money for

Following our discussion in the Hangout – but you, @ilariadauria could not attend it to the end, as I recall, so you might have missed this – the idea was to use the award money for:

  1. evaluatiing the impact of the first (independently funded) residency iteration (maybe 30K)?
  2. writing and spreading instructables and how-tos. Scalability would therefore work like for Benedictine monasteries: give people tools, propagation will happen by adoption rather than by us going to found other unmonasteries. Includes traveling and spreading the unWord (55-60K). Might include some extra residency as needed.
  3. developing a model for accessing real estate (like Camelot's, but benevolent). 10-15K

So the grant could be used 100% for sustainability and scalability. 2 contains Edgeryders LBG infrastructure (platform, social media, etc.)

Does this work? If so, I can do a first draft.

I did miss the shift!

Okay, this makes it clear. However, this does mean that engagement of the community will be on a free basis: personally, I feel more at ease than asking people to do things on a speculative basis. the power of this community is the desire to get involved because there of the purposeful activities, peer learning and process hacking. So if it is contained in 2, I think I can also readjust the social media campaign in something much more oriented on the narrative of the unMonastery, on storytelling and linking it to local community. Things will be clearer tomorrow once I speak with Raffaella and get a better view of how much support we can get from the Committee and in what form.

  • When you say "evaluating the impact of the first residency iteration" do you mean building a new form of Sustainability Plan? 
  • Writing and spreading instructables: traveling is important, although I would also take into account building something like this for the unMonastery, and have that web radio. So if an unMonasterian is tackling an issue linked to solar panels, he can go through the research process not only alone in front of the computer, but actually organizing an online meeting with mentors spread around the world. 
  • In the model for assessing Camelot I would also map initiatives, communities and organizations which are working on the problem of empty properties. 

I am ready to back you up on the business plan!