An experimental foresight project aimed at understanding and mapping out the space of value exchange through alternative currencies. Experientia created a web-based forum for debate and discussion.
Four main contributors (Régine Debatty, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein and Bruce Sterling) from Experientia’s contacts network fuelled the discussion, while over fifty secondary participants shared articles, comments, photos, and thoughts.
The project generated a series of articles on the concepts of future value exchange and digital currency, as well as a number of scenarios based around possible future economy systems.
KashKlash started with the provisional name of the Digital Currency project. It was a forum for discussion about value generation, accumulation and distribution in a possible future era (2015 and beyond), considering modern economic systems, and the emergence of new forms of digital currency.
The project aims were “drafting principles and parameters with which to allow the establishment of value in digital currency, with the web as a best-practice example.”
The platform for the discussion was a publicly available blog, to which the wider web community was invited to contribute ideas, comments and scenarios. This included written contributions, video, photos, and twitter streams: one of the key points of the project was its open, collaborative nature.
Heather Moore, from Vodafone UECD worked closely with the Experientia team to set up the project. Four core contributors (Régine Debatty, Nicolas Nova, Joshua Klein and Bruce Sterling) were selected to fuel the debate, and 35 secondary contributors were invited to take part.
The core contributors created future scenarios to get people thinking about money, the ways we use it, and the ways we will exchange and value things in the future.
Secondary contributors gave their responses: Will we judge value by reputation, Google hits, World of Warcraft wealth? Will future economies be local, informal, fungible? Will our children know money as a physical concept at all?
A questionnaire invited responses from a wider audience, with a range of multiple choice and open questions.
After just four weeks the KashKlash website had 8,500 views, 43 posts and 123 comments. At this point, the project was presented to Vodafone in both booklet and presentation form.
Online the debate kept rolling on, and thought-provoking contributions kept coming in.
At the LIFT09 conference, Experientia and Vodafone presented KashKlash in a workshop with about 35 participants, featuring the KashKlash game, designed by Bruce Sterling. Continuing the exploration of alternative methods of exchange, the game challenged four teams with different resource levels to produce a 3D model of a future “utopia”. The aim was to pit four different economic models against each other, to see who would have the advantage as teams bid and bargained for resources to build their model. The workshop was a great success, quickly filling to maximum capacity and generating ongoing conversation on the blog.
The experimental nature of the project culminated in two separate results:
Added value for Vodafone came from involving a wider collaborative network of influential people who might not otherwise have been involved in a closed corporate project. This also has benefits for the Vodafone image and brand that carry beyond the business community.
Furthermore, it has allowed Vodafone to test and explore with a small but bold project the viability of a new generation of business models and organisation practices. If new practices are already proven to be successful, then they have a greater chance of being accepted and absorbed by a big organisation, cementing Vodafone as a curious and dynamic innovator.