UnFound Update: Spring 2021

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written by

Adam Rich

Mar 1, 2021

As another project comes to fruition, I want to share with you these fruits of our labour - graphics!

Here at Stir to Action, we’ve been working on UnFound for a few years with our partners at Co-operatives UK. If you don’t know by now, UnFound is our programme for tech founders and startups looking for a better way to create and run digital platform businesses. Unsurprisingly, the answer is: run it as a co-op!

Over the years the project has adapted and responded to the needs of the platform co-op sector in the UK. In its first year, 2018, we hosted an eight-week accelerator for a cohort of platform co-operatives in Manchester and London, offering masterclasses, mentoring, and a live fundraising event. The following year we created the UnFound roadshow in partnership with Dot Project. It was a nationwide event programme in technology and innovation hubs across the UK to raise awareness of the platform co-operative model and the available support.

Last year, like so many others, we responded to global affairs and focused on our digital offering, supporting Co-ops UK with their online resources.

I’m the graphic designer at Stir to Action, so I’ve been getting stuck right in with producing several key graphics. As a visual thinker, it is a real passion of mine to get complex issues and distil them down into comprehensible graphics.

The first piece is ‘A Platform Co-op Primer’. Following from the good reception of our New Economy Programme Cheat Sheets, we got together with Co-ops UK and hashed out what exactly a platform co-op is, and equally importantly, what it isn’t. This way, anyone starting their tech platform journey can know if it is right for them. I took inspiration from Guillermo Ortego’s original artwork which we commissioned in year one, but focused in on the elements of his circuit board - all the interconnections which come together to form the whole form.


The next piece we worked on was the ‘A Platform Co-op Founder Journey’, which took the experience of UnFound working with founders, and puts it in a neat line with simple stops on the way. Of course, everyone’s journey will vary a little, or a lot, from this, but seeing it all laid out really shows how achievable it is, and will help if anyone gets a little lost along the way. I continued to use the circuitry elements while bringing in the familiar lines and dots of a railway map, with different shapes showing the similar stops in each section of the journey, growing in size as your platform does.

Hopefully, you will find these graphics useful on your journey to found a platform co-op! We can always do with more. And if you are not founding a platform co-op, then perhaps you’ll have just found them interesting or inspiring. Visit the UnFound section of the Co-ops UK website to find out more.