Thinking Cooperatively

Co-ops, collaboratives, and other new-old alternative organizational models have been on my mind lately.

Without further ado, some favorite finds (really “receiveds”) from this week:

Liberating Structures: simple yet powerful ways to build conversations, meetings, and organizations that are inclusive and effective.

Liberating Structures are easy-to-learn microstructures that enhance relational coordination and trust. They quickly foster lively participation in groups of any size, making it possible to truly include and unleash everyone. Liberating Structures are a disruptive innovation that can replace more controlling or constraining approaches.

A Typology of Structures for Cooperative Association:” just what the title promises. Hint: most — but, interestingly, not all — are variations on a hub-and-spoke model.

Recently, we teamed up with CoLab Cooperative, a worker-owned digital agency building online infrastructure for the democratic economy (including!) for a research project to explore the many options for how cooperatives can grow and scale without letting go of key values around democratic participation and shared culture.


A prediction: if public ownership comes under more scrutiny for short-termism, private markets catch flak for distortion and/or inaccessibility, and more people find it both exciting and lonely to become their own bosses in coming years, co-ops and other collaborative ownership structures might get a lot more exposure.