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.


We like to group infrastructure under objects – we sometimes call this the “object method”. The trick here is to group the objects at a high enough level for overview, but with enough detail for them to be meaningful. ”Workshop” might be too high a level, but listing each individual tool might be too low level. We propose you aim for 12 main objects that can in turn be  each broken down into 12 if necessary. You will see later that there are good reasons for keeping it at high level and coming back to revisit it later.

Another trick at this stage when identifying objects is to see if they naturally fit against working groups. To take a simplified example, set of forestry tools like axes and saws, fits well against the working group forest management.


The objects form the heart of the workings of every community. It is objects that bring together the social capital in the form of ownership, with man-made capital  (machines and equipment) bringing human capital (capability to get work done) with natural capital (inputs and outputs) . These all create a unit of service which brings in money (financial capital).

Another way of seeing it is shown below where output in the form of service or goods comes from human work together with infrastructure which uses raw materials or inputs as in the diagram below

You might notice that some objects have alternatives (tractor or hand cart) and some are labour-saving ( industrial dishwasher). At this stage keep options open. You might want to list these things down as general solutions (i.e. transport, washing up)

As we introduce objects we also make a start on the Services break-down table. We will be using the table as the main high-level financial analysis for our initiative.

As this stage, just fill in the services you think the common can provide and the names of the infrastructure objects you need to create the services.

We will return to this object list as we complete the rest of the canvas, and you will probably be amending and complementing the list as you go along so use post-its, a white board or write in pencil!


Download the Objects template




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