UPDATED: Shareable lawn mowers, pink slime and hidden markets… Oh my…

I recently sat down with Mike Lawson of CU Broadcast fame over Skype to discuss my recent presentation in Austin on cooperatives.

Here’s part one of our interview and here’s part two.

Part One:

Part Two:

Enjoy! And please let me know what you think…

PS: Here’s my CU Water Cooler talk on coops that Mike and I discussed.

My talk on coops.

Last month I gave a talk on cooperatives in Austin at the amazing Credit Union Water Cooler Symposium. It was called Sawdust, Empty Bottles & Moustaches.

Now the video is live, check it out…

Sawdust, Empty Bottles and Moustaches: A Retelling of the Co-operative Story from Tim McAlpine on Vimeo.

Lenticular images: two views of Credit Unions.

I wrote a new piece for the CU Water Cooler looking at what is all too often a dual nature within credit unions: focused on community on one hand, insular and risk-averse on the other.

If you have an opinion, please weigh in!

Bats in Austin

Photo credit: Christopher Morris.

And, just for fun, here’s a video I made on a recent trip to Austin of the bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge.

Illuminating the network.

For several years at Vancity, from the time I was accountable for digital services and started working on initiatives to engage and strengthen community, I’ve been talking about illuminating the network. The more I learned about co-operatives, the more this idea grew. Localty

As a financial co-operative, Vancity has a great opportunity to continue to connect our members with each other, with our business members (businesses and organizations who rely on Vancity for their financial services and advice) and business members with each other. Lots of opportunity.

Recently, a project I’ve been working on for the past few months with some brilliant and capable colleagues launched as a test and learn pilot in Victoria, BC. Localty MapThe project is called Localty, because what else are you gonna name a loyalty program focused on local purchasing?

Localty is a mobile web platform connecting our members and the public to discover Vancity business members, and encourage them to promote these local businesses via social media and to shop locally. We want to encourage more people to steer some of their purchases away from multi-national chains and big box stores to small, local businesses.

Studies show that when people shop locally, there is a multiplier effect for that community, where more of their money stays local and stimulates local job growth and has positive outcomes for the environment and local infrastructure.

Localty BadgeI am excited about Localty because it is a pilot that could create significant local investments by our members into their local economies.

I am also encouraged by the way we created the program. The small team worked on it for three months, and are piloting something that shows potential but is by no means fully baked. The version we launched isn’t a full app, but a mobile website, so we could get something delivered quickly to start learning what works and where we misjudged our assumptions.

We added gamification elements, where people unlock badges and earn entries into winning coupons to spend at any participating local businesses. This way, we will quickly learn what it will take to shift people’s behaviours to spend more of their money at local stores and services. Eventually what we learn could influence other loyalty and rewards programs we currently have or are considering.

If we’re successful, what better way is there to bring our values-based banking model to life and show off our co-operative network, while adding real value to our business members, the general community and back to Vancity. I see this as an amazing win-win-win.

What do you think?

This is my 1,000th blog post.

Neat.

1,000

Photo credit: mightyboybrian on Flickr.