Welcome to the Stamp60 manual.

And be at ease.

We're breaking you into new ways of relating to each other, and defining and expressing core values. And recognising and celebrating breakthrough moments of learning and contribution.

Through the Stamp each member is reinforcing our love of certain values, that we want to align our work with. While stepping away from the need to build our own personal brand that must reconcile everything we do.


Chapter 1

The Stamps are the sails, not the ship. Document moments physically, and share them using your phone camera. Write out your design principles. Encourage and seek out Stamp moments. Free you work from personal identity. Why physical, in the age of digital? Why now? Are Stamps like hashtags? Hitting limits on measurement. Acknowledge the moments. Stamps create possibilities for inclusion.

Read on, below.

Chapter 2

We're now in the real 21st century. Not the 20th century hangover. 2017 to 2020 is packed full of artistic, expressive, creative talent that is going to explode, politically, socially and economically onto the scene. There aren't mechanisms in place to account for the contribution of these people, there isn't an intellectual property structure in place that helps them establish rights to their contributions, and there's no really scalable way for them to earn money.

Jump to Chapter 2 (also available as audio) >>.


Chapter 1


The Stamps are the sails, not the ship

A Stamp represents the characteristics of a particular part of your work, and its energy – how a set of principles applied in a certain way either by an individual or a small group can make a difference to organisations, places, movements. But don't make your Stamp the same as your organisation.

Stamps are something closer to a style – perhaps a mix of a kind of energy, a set of principles, a deep understanding, a way to ride, a way to hang, the way you walk, a method of acting or storytelling.

It's how the sails of your ship catch the wind, it's not your ship itself.


Document moments physically, and share them using your phone camera.

Can we sum that up in a single statement, or on a single piece of paper, or in a sketch?

Are we confident that input reflects that Stamp, or helps to project its values?

If so, sum it up, Stamp it and photograph it. And decide who to share it with.


Write out your design principles

Your Stamp design principles are going to be important roots for you.

Spend time talking them through and focusing them down. As a Stamp60 member, we'll help you with that.

But don't worry if you feel you want to change and refine them. That's okay too.


Encourage and seek out Stamp moments


Shift your awareness from outputs to inputs. This is Stamp magic. Many of us are so conditioned and determined to see our inputs converted into the output, that we all jostle to achieve that.

Whereas much better is to be continually seeking opportunities to understand and acknowledge inputs in a way that is recorded and shared. This is central to helping people start to acknowledge what they learn, as it happens. 

To encourage everyone to think before doing.


Free your work from your personal identity

A central point about the Stamp is that it frees you from being forced to project your personal identity, and your work, through internet databases such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, websites, blogs, you name it, the list goes on.

Instead you get to define certain principles, processes or qualities and associate them with a visual, physical stamp. This physical stamp plays a role in your day-to-day interactions with people.

A stamp might start out just relating to you, or be principles that you and others share together. Or your principles and your Stamp might later be adopted by others too, who start using that Stamp with you.

Why physical, in the age of digital?


The main reason is that it encourages a playful sociability.

On the face of it, Stamps are a prop that create a new dynamic. It's about getting us back to our ten-year old. Physical stamps introduce new artwork-based identities into processes that have a nostalgic and novel twist. 

They free us from the constraints of entering everything into social databases, which in case you haven't noticed, are designed by people who aren't very social.

The second reason Stamps are physical is to allow the application of a consistent identity label to physical documentation and materials, so that when they are photographed and shared through smartphones (handheld computers), the stamps can be verified and (coming in 2017) attributed in a distributed ledger.

When you work with the Stamp you're basically sharing photos that are documentation. Stamps are a visual record of creative processes and collaboration. Over time we think that will open up interesting possibilities for new kinds of contract creation and fulfilment. 


Why now?

One of the key computing developments of the past five years is ubiquitous very high quality smartphone cameras, which are now all connected to pretty much everybody via data networks. This is new.

It opens up completely novel possibilities for document creation, capture and sharing between a very large user base, who have hardly begun to explore the possibilities yet, in a work context. These processes can eventually shape new methods to define and fulfil contracts.

Stamps embrace these possibilities and free people from needing to process work through the kinds of data entry we have become wedded to over the past 30 years, often now compressed onto a tiny phone screen.

Stamps also journey via any kind of messaging platform or method that supports photo sharing, meaning there is a very low technological barrier to entry to sharing a Stamp.

At the same time, there is an overwhelming variety of ways people are encouraged or expected to use internet databases in management workflows. That's all got out of hand.

The Stamp is a break for the high ground, where the sun shines and you can hear the breeze and the birds sing.


Are Stamps like hashtags?

In some ways, yes.

Stamps build on some of the ways hashtags have entered work and popular culture in recent years. But they are intended to link more strongly to reputation and design principles that can eventually form the basis for the establishment of simple contracts.

That's an aspect we'll be exploring together in 2017, at our first Stamp residency. Which all members can be part of, either in person or from afar.

They're also not intended to be so open to being hijacked. And trust me, you don't want to ever click on #ASS on Twitter. It's not a nice place. 


Working together is a (real) social thing

The Stamp method encourages real social operating spaces, asserting that actual work happens in environments, surrounded by an ether.

It creates a kind of breathing space in the room where real work happens. Spaces where everyone is comfortable with, and mindful towards, contributions and learning that are marked and recognised through stamps. This becomes a key method for people to project their ideas, observations, understanding, talents.


Hitting limits on measurement.

Over time, processes to understand and measure what is happening have a tendency to fundamentally change what happens so that the magic bits no longer emerge.

Methods to record and account for creative processes have gone adrift in most organisations, usually applying tests focused on target outputs, timesheets and control of core resources through budget cycles.

The Stamp is like opening a nice big umbrella and protecting people from the measurement heat raining down on them. It allows new kinds of possibilities to develop, creating conditions for emergence of new things.

Acknowledge the moments


Through a process of acknowledgement, stamps are used to record key breakthrough moments along the way to processes and outcomes, including the development of outputs.

Through this method, processes and outputs become a series of ledger items that were noted by participants during their work together. This makes it much easier to later look back and explain how something came about, how a successful result was established, and to examine where the opportunities for more successful outcomes were somehow missed.


Stamps create possibilities for inclusion


Management processes have failed to keep up with possibilities to involve people in creative processes, because they do not have the mechanisms to manage their involvement. For example, there are few ways to establish contracts with people outside of a conventional scope, such as employment or agency contracts, or a volunteer or public consultation method. If people help out, their contributions are poorly documented outside of time and motion reports

Also, many people become typecast into certain roles. If you've ever known a musical composer you'll know they have amazing ways of thinking and seeing and expressing. Stamps help such people play other roles, project other principles. Because going around just composing is a tricky job to find. And not the only way that person might want to express their intentions and apply themselves. 

Similarly, someone who has experience of something – going blind perhaps – has a role to play in helping others understand all kinds of things that they can't possibly understand without enormous study, and even then will not be completely authentic. But maybe that person wants to contribute to things in a way that avoids them being typecast as the blind person. A Stamp or two can help them do that.

For most of us, making sense of, defining and projecting our identity is an uncomfortable experience that we should be entitled to take our time with. Stamps allow us to play with identities, maybe even to explore new ones, some of which might conflict. To help us get space to enjoy the adventure of our working life.


Bought the membership? Read the manual? Then let's get cracking. 
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