The role of social enterprises in VRM

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VRM and social enterprise

Led by William Heath, Mydex.

If we had an institution which got our interest in VRM going what would it look like?

In the UK, we created a Community Interest Company called Mydex. I'll explain what it is in more detail in a minute, but basically it is a new form of legal entity in the UK which allows for the establishment of profit-making companies, whose core purpose is a community benefit, where most of the profits it generates are reinvested into the community 'cause'.

One of our tasks is educating people around the core issues of personal information empowerment. We have to say it over and over again.

Under the current status quo of organisations centralised gathering and management of customer data, they are ending up with bad – inaccurate, partial, out of date data - while losing customer trust. Customers meanwhile are having to dealing with many different silos, which they find frustrating and difficult. The VRM Mydex process puts you in control, you can choose who you do business with. It can invoke independent assertions. Work with added value services. When individuals are empowered to manage their own data in this way, companies benefit too because they are fed with accurate, timely quality data. So Mydex is creating an interface which individuals feel they can trust and which is under their control.

Mydex's formal statement of social purpose is that it “lets individuals realise the value of their personal data”. Key characteristics of a CIC are: it works in benefit of community has the advantages of commercial company – it can take risks, make a profiit but these profits have to reinvested into its purpose transparency of operation directors can be reasonably paid regulated dividend No tax advantages but relatively light touch regulation-

There are different types e.g. not for profit cooperative, vs limited by shares.

If a dedicated institution - what is its scope: what's in it and what's not? what characteristics –what does it need to do to earn its users' trust and love? global v local; what is its global dimension, what is its local dimension. If it is global, what organisational structure should it adopt. Amex or Visa?

Points from ensuing discussion

It needs to be sustainable.

Reliable

What Governance would people actually trust? It needs to be open.

Immutability so that it can't metamorphose in front of your eyes, to become something other. By regulation; charter.

Alignment to purpose

Leavability – right to delete me. Exit.

Transparency of governance, process, finance.

No cabals (or do cabals sometimes exist only in the mind of the critic?).

Community should be able to kick out directors/accountability.

Open standards.- in a 'global' or local context? . All contracts should be public; all specifications for data etc should be public

Portable data.

More on Global vs local: is it one single corporation; federated – a group of the willing. A coalition. Clearly some aspects have to be local. Probably some aspects that have to be global. e.g. language, local law. Use global to avoid reinventing the wheel – good ideas can be globally accessed. Use the crowd sourcing to your advantage.

It should be the people's Google, (whatever that means

instead of creating global entity, create an entity that defines the community, and let them define their own extensions, and define their own versions. That model should be chaoridc.

If global, what is our 'community'? Idea of a global definition/guidelines to make this work, is interesting. Technologies, resources, knowledge, influence, relationships.

Degree of proactivity. e.g can raise a war chest to tackle issues the community don't like. e.g to sue evil doers. Talking about compliance – need to protect interests. Different means of of proactivity – campaigning, dealing with issues once, for all.

Want to be able to innovate – leadership, structure, incentives, On the other hand, don't want politbureau style.

Design things so that everybody can do it: a mental model

scalable, extensible, interoperable;

agnostic about technology

What are the metrics for Mydex to measure its service to the community?.

Money flows: corporate fees value added services VPI fees member/supporter contributions membership subscription

The money flows must be aligned to the community interest. Is Mydex sharing its revenues with me, or is the individual sharing some of its revenues with Mydex.?

Auditability/track how my data is being used. Very like banking: storing personal information so that it earns interest, being loaned to vendors.

Non-discriminatory pricing and access models.

A personal data union.