As you go through the canvas it is good to review your progress and test your ideas.

After each block.

  • Use the check-list we provide  for each block of the canvas.
  • Park anything you are unsure of on a separate questions sheet or whiteboard.

After the first round.

When you have completed all eleven panes you might want to use Elinor Oströms principles to check your design. Check that what you have come up with aligns to her principles.

8 Principles for Managing a Commons

1. Define clear group boundaries.
2. Match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions.
3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules.
4. Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities.
5. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior.
6. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators.
7. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution.
8. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.


When we start to work with the infrastructure block we should have already identified the main assets that the commons shares and the main services that commons members will benefit from.

Note: this is a first working draft. Do use the comments below with any suggestions for improvement or if anything is unclear


The next step is to identify the infrastructure  (buildings, equipment, software, tools etc.) needed to provide these services. Quantity and not quality is OK at this stage, so brainstorm and create a rough list of what you think will be needed. Don’t worry either about whether you should purchase the equipment or if someone else should use it. Continue reading “Infrastructure”

Designing the operational model of your commons initiative

A Financial Permaculture approach

What is the difference between a company and a community?

A community is a group of people who work together around a common intention and shared assets to create services for themselves, often in a resilient way. In contrast, a company is a group of people who put money into the organisation in order to get money out. Continue reading “Designing the operational model of your commons initiative”

Introducing the Commons Finance Canvas

How can we create alternatives to the current system that:

1. Protect collective resources, both material and immaterial, that require a lot of knowledge and know-how?
2. Develop social processes that foster and deepen thriving relationships?
3. Produces in, as Commoning expert Silke Helfrich calls it, a Commons-Creating Peer Economy, or Commons-Oriented Economy?

Commoning is less a noun than a verb because it is primarily about the social practices of commoning—acts of mutual support, conflict, negotiation, communication and experimentation that are needed to create systems to manage shared resources. This process blends production (self provisioning), governance, culture, and personal interests into one integrated system. Continue reading “Introducing the Commons Finance Canvas”