Co-Incentive Contribution Model and Tokenizing Public Agricultural Infrastructure Pt. 1

Imagine a world of abundance. Imagine having the freedom to both support urban growing in a sustainable manner and also co-funding and co-creating innovative business models. Imagine then being able to earn money and rewards as new agriculture businesses emerge while collectively changing the food system for the better by being on the Harvester platform and investing your time or money in new innovations.

Harvester is a taking a triple-bottomline approach, a concept familiar to many, but nonetheless one which must be highlighted in order to digitalize urban growing and create a crowd sharing app.

The 3 P’s and Unleashing Urban Growing Potential

Urban Growing follows the rule of 3 P’s:

  1. ) It can be healthier for people
  2. ) It can be healthier for the planet
  3. ) It can make a profit

People

People identify with the spaces in which they live. Much of the things we see people do around us and what we are surrounded by shapes the way we behave and think. In seeking identity in an environment, often times people tend to the community around them. In fact, the healthiest neighborhoods are proven to be ones with the healthiest sense of community. Additionally, most of the world is focused on how “we shape our tools”, including how to make and use the vast cornucopia of tools across all facets of life, business, government, society, etc. Meanwhile, our behaviors, attitudes, society and culture are unconsciously shaped by the tools/technologies we use. Digital technology represents an overabundance of rapidly shaping and changing tools. Now, even tools are shaping other tools. Urban growing both enhances and encourages community, while also allowing people to identify with and imagine a new physical space around them within an urban ecosystem. As well, it provides them with new technological tools for growth. It is both refreshing and an act of tending to the land with which it is our civic responsibility to care for.

Planet

By 2030, two-thirds of all people living on planet earth will live in cities. We live in a world where we have to produce more crops with a limited availability of space and resources. We have to do more with less and at the end of the day the only way we can do this is with technology. “Much like the banking industry, the public infrastructure and city-planning projects and initiatives that would help to spur innovative new products and best-practices, ones that would improve conditions for the average consumer, are stagnant.” Sustainability needs to be at the forefront of anyone’s mind when planning to develop a city and especially in creating an agricultural system within and around one. At Harvester we think the public good of changing the food supply chain will be in service generating returns for years to come. When approaching a potential project of this scale, its important to remember that humans interacting with a system like agricultural infrastructure in the context of cities will never be flawless, however, we can at least begin to address pain points for consumers and businesses, common problems, and areas of interest, and then start to implement ecosystem-wide improvements via sustainable solutions.

Profit

The business environment is a marketing term and refers to factors and forces that affect a firm’s ability to build and maintain successful customer relationships. The levels of the environment are:

  1. Micro (internal) environment — small forces within the company that affect its ability to serve its customers.
  2. Macro (external) environment — larger societal forces that affect the microenvironment

We at Harvester are not just introducing an application, we are introducing a philosophy of a nature and life in a technological world. We like to think that the basic architecture of system sharing can create network effects that will increase the value of our platform exponentially. The technological environment is perhaps the fastest changing factor in the macro-environment. Our revenue model will come from combining physical and digital assets. To do this, we will include environmental scanning into the sharing of information within our platform. Environmental scanning is one of the essential components of the global environmental analysis. Environmental monitoring, environmental forecasting and environmental assessmentcomplete the global environmental analysis. The global environment refers to the macro environment which comprises industries, markets, companies, clients and competitors. Consequently, there exist corresponding analyses on the micro-level. Suppliers, customers and competitors representing the micro environment of a company are analyzed within the industry analysis. Their are many forces within agriculture companies that affect their ability to serve customers.

Tying It All Together

You might be thinking, “Ok, this all makes sense, but how does this relate to co-incentives and tokenizing public agricultural infrastructure at Harvester?”

Let’s dive into network effects. Allow me to also clarify that by infrastructure I am referring to any ‘plant’ that can be grown for public use or publicly for private use. Additionally, infrastructure related to agriculture can take form of the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, water, light, power supplies, or electricity) needed for the operation of a sustainable society or agricultural enterprise.

Uber, PayPal, Twitter, Salesforce, PayPal. These are some of the most impactful and significant companies in the world. Each one is rather different in a many ways, but there’s a single correlation between each one that defines them all and lies behind their success. That property is network effects.

NFX Guild (a seed and series A venture firm that is a transforming how true innovators are funded) goes into detail by stating, “As we’ve said, nfx are the #1 way to create defensibility in the digital world. Companies with the strongest types of nfx built into their core business model tend to win, and win big. Our three-year study, which we released recently, shows that nfx are responsible for 70% of the value created by tech companies since the Internet became a thing in 1994. Even though they are only a minority of companies, companies with nfx end up creating the lion’s share of the value.” Watch the following video to get an overview of nfx.

 

Again. How does this relate to Harvester, you might ask? Let me just give you a few examples regarding how people, the planet, and profitable marketplaces will add network effects to Harvester:

  1. ) From the perspective of a regular person (app user).

In light of our sticking to the rule of 3 P’s, Harvester will be a platform that will allow users to create personal and personal utility networks. The way we envision this taking form is via profiles in which people involved in the space can share their knowledge, experience, and content.

 

‍‍Personal Networks involve personal identity and reputation, connecting the persona of each user with other user personas. Each additional node represents both an additional potential audience member as well as an additional content producer for all the other nodes.

We want to do this because agriculture is the least digitized industry and we hope to enhance a network of professionals that already exists offline. The Personal Network Effect arises from the interpersonal, tribal impulse to build connections with others. It’s this impulse that compels people to join and stick with a network (e.g. a Facebook group, LinkedIn, or a school) because their friends/co-workers/neighbors are also part of that network. A user’s “social graph” in a personal network are usually closely mapped to their in-the-flesh relationships. Opening data related to real-life physical meetings and actions is the first stage in generating network effects for growing agriculture. This can change the food supply system directly by incentivizing people to take action via going to businesses that positively impact the environment, by having meetings at restaurants that promote local sourcing, in turn helping these businesses succeed, and indirectly by changing food quality standards through incentivizing crowd behavior, creating more transparency and visibility, and also by putting the power of data sharing, such as one’s location when purchasing locally produced food, back into the hands of the individual. One individual sharing their location at an ethical restaurant could theninform their friends where such food can be found.

 

‍In the diagram above, the nodes are represented by the chat bubbles of people (nodes) connected by personal utility services (links). The nodes of a personal utility network are tied to the real-life identity of the people using it, and the network is especially dense because it has many local sub-groupings. This brings Reed’s Law into effect, so the value of Personal Utility Networks could increase at a rate of up to 2N.

Personal Utility Networks are typically used for things that need to get done.There is a substantial amount of practical utility to the user. People use Personal Utility Networks to communicate and interact with their own personal networks, so not being online or being part of the network has a steep downside. Second, Personal Utility Networks are typically more for private communication, rather than public communication. Personal Networks are less vital. Opting out would become a significant impediment in daily life and could greatly harm people’s important personal or work relationships. Personal utility related to urban growing supply chains can include purchasing goods, agriculture job search & postings, opting in to rewards clubs, or using reward payment methods, research & development, agreeing to share purchase data for rewards or special offers in the future, joining interest group discussions, booking food related meet-ups or events, sharing food, tracking food deliveries, booking tables at restaurants, opting in to receive a weekly supply of farm goods, writing food reviews, etc. By making a personal utility network, which will additionally provide SaaS workflows, Harvester allows for communication between users at zero-marginal-cost, meaning that it will cost them almost nothing to distribute information to additional recipients.

To Be Continued

As shown in the video above, the first stage in growing network effects for the agriculture industry will involve physical actions and the second will take the form of protocols. As mentioned in my last article, “Opening the Value of Agricultural Data” the first protocol will be relevant to putting the individual back at the center of their personal data related ecosystem. This data can include behavioral data like content or app engagement data, data related to urban growing from sensors or drones etc., financial history data, and demographic data like age, location, etc. This will allow individuals the ability to share information without putting their identity at risk and to provide new mechanisms for reliable data sharing in ways similar to what they are currently doing for replication and reliability, but with very different reason behind. It can be as simple as opting in or out and then being rewarded for your contribution. Protocols can also include verifying location for different functions occurring on the Harvester platform, a protocol which rewards users for contributions, a protocol which rewards sponsors of advertisements, a protocol for establishing information relevance in search, and a protocol for value exchange. Analyzing and testing the value add of multiple blockchain protocols can then inform us how to best tokenize our platform. All of these ideas will be explored further internally at Harvester.

We will next get into how Harvester is a two sided online network for members of the urban agriculture community. Organized by user profiles, Harvester will allow business and individuals the ability to connect and collaborate on different functions within the supply chain. We have covered how People (individuals) on the one side will create network effects. In the next article we will dive into how businesses will make up the other side of our platform, and also how the creation of tokenized assets for cities, countries, has many benefits with businesses in this context as a key players in changing out Planet.

Opening the Value of Agricultural Data

Today the data economy is basically a b2b business. Companies collect and share personal data without our knowledge of what is being done with it and without creating an open network for value exchange. The biggest value collected by companies on their servers is data. Every day, millions of records about people, things, and places are gathered. Current database systems come with built-in authorization and security methods, limiting access to this data only to those who can prove they should have access to it.

What if we lived in a world where the innovations that could be created with this data weren’t limited solely to the platforms gathering it? Companies rarely perceive themselves as social agents of change, even though the connection between social progress and business success is increasingly clear. Moreover, consumers consider themselves to be concerned about environmental quality especially human impact on the natural environment, yet don’t know how to get more involved with groups, projects or businesses that promote sustainability!

At Harevester we beg the question: What if we change the business model of these companies and create a sharing economy around agricultural data? We will be working with companies whose business models encourage data sharing. If you are a part of such an organization, whether it’s a smart agriculture data collection company, an urban farm, media source providing industry coverage, an organization focused on policy making, or an accelerator in the space, let us know.

Why Now?

Currently, the entire world is undergoing what is known as a data revolution.We are seeing an unprecedented increase in the volume and types of data created — and the subsequent demand for it — due to the ongoing proliferation of new technologies including but not limited to data sensors, drones, robotics and automation, synthetic biology and genetics, satellite and image recognition, mobile computing, and blockchain.

Technology, data, and business innovation will allow cities to become the service organizations that citizens need. This data revolution is allowing governments, companies, and researchers to monitor progress and collectively drive social action, often with real-time, dynamic, disaggregated data. At Harvester we think that much work will need to be done in order to ensure that the data revolution is used to solve pressing issues regarding sustainable development and eventually in developing countries facing challenges. It is important to think of the revolution as a multistep process, beginning with building basic knowledge and awareness of the value of data. This is followed by a more specific focus on public-private partnerships, opportunities, and constraints regarding collection and utilization of data for evidence-based policy decisions.

Relevant, Real-Time Data:

By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. What if city planners had a smart way to alter smart agriculture to reduce carbon emissions, or actively redirect traffic to curb exhaust? Citizens have started to ask these types of questions. They want to use technology to receive better services, from easy and smooth meal delivery to protection from plants grown with potentially hazardous chemicals. This is changing the way cities collect, use and analyze data; Citizens want useful information in real-time, new models for interaction, and ways to become stakeholders. Cities need to deliver.

This is why we believe in powering an on-demand economy at Harvester. By facilitating smart housing and growing agriculture initiatives, smart location and distribution, and smart selling and consumption, we aim to be the first on demand aggregator of food tracking data, food services and information, and ordering. We enable content producers, food suppliers, food system designers, investors, key industry players, and food economy participants equal access to knowledge and resources, making the platform easily scalable. Harvester helps you build better products and make better decisions with location data combined with historical data, and gives user new ways to share. Open data layers can be used to create application architectures which can be pictured like this:

 

https://blog.userfeeds.io/open-data-layers-6674b7047a7b

Listening to citizens needs can make cities more livable and healthier, lead to enhanced insights, save businesses money, increase the efficiency of the food chain supply system, and even potentially save lives. Take the story of the creation of the MEANS database for example. MEANS (Matching Excess and Needs for Stability) was created by a 20 year old, Maria Rose, who had experience working at her local food pantry. She noticed something frustrating: that the same people who who came to eat meals at the food bank when she was 14, and 18, we’re still there when she came home for breaks at 19. These individuals didn’t have the tools they needed to move forward and make progress against their poverty, putting all of their efforts into just staying afloat. Simultaneously, while the line of people to serve food to was frequently out the door, Maria noticed people were throwing away massive amounts of food from over-sized, now-expired donations. After having to fill an entire dumpster one afternoon with mac and cheese past its date, she had the stereotypical entrepreneur’s thought: “there has to be a better way to do this.” There is, and MEANS was born. MEANS is an online platform for food pantries and the donors who want to supply them. It’s an online database system for creating good in struggling communities.

MEANS firmly believes in connecting data to local food networks because one of the biggest perils of a food recovery network can be the potential for them not to communicate with each other. Real-time contextual information isn’t just used to save lives. Always-available, mobile-first tools provide citzens with a new way to directly engage with their cities, and at the same time provide cities with the data they need to create new services.

Transforming the Personal Data Ecosystem

We think that there are two key steps to efficiently meeting food related challenges and respecting the interests of individuals to the greatest possible extent.

One of the most important steps toward the goal of greater citizen engagement is that the citizens themselves are able to become involved in their cities. Citizens want to particpate in the process of developing these platforms in order to help guide the city on how to best suit their needs. Depending on the project, citizens can crowdsource information, collect data, help with project design or even physically help build applicaton programs or farms. Including citizens in these processes not only creates inclusivity and greater access, but also removes guess work that might otherwise be involved in the wide-scale projects collecting data.

First, we have to move the individual into the center of the personal data related ecosystem and give them back control over who is collecting and using data about them, how it is used and for what purpose. Market players have to give the individual their fair share of the monetization of their data. Personal data with the individual’s consent to use it for defined purposes represents a new asset class.

Secondly, we have to create standards with which market players will be able to collect, enrich, share and monetize the new asset class in an efficient and controlled way, always respecting the agreement with the individual and protecting their data. We see as well that in the future a vast amount of personal data will move to personal storage management systems where the individual has complete ownership and control over their data and the data is accessed by other parties only via permitted individual queries. However, a certain amount of personal data will remain in the storage systems of private and public organizations.

Because Harvester is an European project (with global ambitions down the road), it will be compliant from the start with a new regulative in EU that protects individuals — the General Data Protection Regulative (GDPR). We are embracing GDPR as it is one of the globally strictest privacy protections which enables individuals to reclaim their data. The individual is in the center. One controls access to their personal data with two essential instruments. The first is through the legally regulated consent to an organization to use ones personal data for a specific purpose. The second one goes a step further by using secure personal storage for data. In this case, an individual’s personal data is no longer held by others, but it is rather the individual himself who technically fully owns and controls the storage. The latter will be an important evolution in the period to come. In both cases, the individual will need important tools, such as data wallets or personal data collection and analysis tools.

Agrifood is the least digitized industry and a top 5 investment priority. Merchants such as accelerators, incubators, service apps, coworking spaces, media companies, and other agrifoodtech industry players are the key data users. They need data to understand what we as consumers and businesses want and, consequently, to use better information to inform us of their offerings. The data also enables them to design their products and services more effectively.

There will be multiple data markets created via the platform; We envision that they will typically evolve around specific regions and verticals. Our goal is to help urban agriculture to thrive and prosper by creating a network supplied with digital tools and that allows urban farmers the ability to improve brand awareness & knowledge to support the growth of the industry as a whole. Data markets will have the function to connect data owners, data users, and service providers with specific information of value and exchange and monetize data in a controlled and efficient way. With open data layers we need peer-to-peer solutions that would allow everyone to setup nodes to share data without altering it and with built in processing capabilites.

 

https://blog.userfeeds.io/open-data-layers-6674b7047a7b

We at Harvester are not just introducing an application, we are introducing a philosophy of a nature and life in a technological world. We like to think that the basic architecture of system sharing its internal data could look like the diagram above, not far of from how the roots of a plant look. Where system nodes are internal to the data operator (they are the ones controlling/creating the data) and are allowed to alter the data, gateway nodes are designed to pass data from system nodes to external readonly nodes. Readonly nodes would then have capability to replicate from other readonly nodes or from gateways allowing for better load balancing. This will allow individuals the ability to share information without putting their identity at risk and to provide new mechanisms for reliable data sharing in ways similar to what they are currently doing for replication and reliability, but with very different reason behind.