The Digital Opportunity for Collective Futures

IT for Change and the Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council (K-DISC), held a half-day expert roundtable on 9 September 2023 in Thiruvananthapuram, India, bringing together 30 stakeholders (the list of participants is attached in Annexure 1).

The aim was to gather perspectives on how to move towards an enabling environment for enterprises, producer organizations, cooperatives, and startups to harness the digital opportunity. Specifically, the roundtable focused on exploring the following issues:
a) Challenges that traditional cooperatives in the agricultural, service, and manufacturing sectors face in the digitizing economy.
b) Reforms in legal, financial, institutional, and technological policy realms through which cooperatives seek to effectively benefit from digital technologies and their promise.
c) Successes and challenges of new platform initiatives — 'digital native' firms (coops and others) — and lessons for policy from such models.
d) Synergies with local government programs for encouraging innovation.

The roundtable was part of feeder activities towards an international conference on the theme of platform cooperativism to be hosted in Kerala between 30 November-2 December 2023, in collaboration with the Platform Cooperativism Consortium, New School, New York.

This report offers a synthesis of the main highlights from the discussions at the roundtable and a set of recommendations for future policy directions. Participants reflected on why the economic development roadmap for Kerala must engage with the platform economy, the barriers that impede cooperatives, startups, and collective enterprises from effectively seizing this opportunity, and recommendations to encourage platform collectivism.

Read the full report here.

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