A proposal for change we can afford

  1. Environment
    • a) The cooperative scene in Europe is atomized. New cooperativism is local... so it needs partners, markets, alliances, scope.
    • b) There is an excellent instrument for changing this: The european law of «European Cooperative Societies», the very first recognition of community-based transnational firms in the world.
    • c) According to this law two or more coops can dilute in a new European Coop as only a democratic body and paying their taxes in the country where they prefer to have their managing office.
  2. The problem ...the problem is, as usual, you need not only to have a law but to know other workers coops similar to yours, work for a time together, etc. in order to become transnational in Europe. If you are an Spanish speaking coop like us you probably work with some coops you could create a transnational coop together but they probably wil be... in LatinAmerica. Why national cooperative organizations dont do that? I dont know in other countries but, in Spain:
    • a) they are not interested as they are afraid of loosing influence and representation in an «europeization» on transnational bases.
    • b) they dont really have so intimous communication with small and medium workers coops (<500 persons)
  3. The solution Imagine a «match.com» of coops: organizing virtual meetings, arrangements, etc. a) Allowing coops to find complementary coops in other EU countries on request b) Allowing coops to find persons in order to open activities in other EU countries c) Running programs in order to transform experiences and matches in new European-wide coops

What do you think? Do you like it?

1 Like

I do like it, but…

Yes, dear @lasindias friends, I do like it. However, Edgeryders does not have a lot of credibility in this area, because we are not a coop. A person in Edgeryders that is investing in the coop movement is @Rhithink.

As Edgeryders, I would more interested in focusing on networked style of working (I know I should define this, but you of all people know what I mean!) rather than on cooperative legal status.


Hello Alberto,

I think Edgeryders LBG could probably be considered a co-operative (if it wanted to be)

As I understand things co-ops can have any kind of legal status, they just need to operate under the co-op principles -


Already looking in the direction, infrastructure, incentives

I think this is a really interesting proposal and have been trying to push in this direcion starting whith what you would think is the most obvious thing, online communities.

A few loose thoughts:

I am reminded of LLP, Limited Liability Partnerships that allows different organisations to work together more fluidly, but is administratively lightweight if Im not mistaken. I had it explained and made a rough sketch. Will trye to clean it up and post as a comment.

Another quick thought: What social, organisational, economic, digital and physical infrastructures that would remove the often invisible barriers to pooling resources and leveraging the benefits of scale? Perhaps an intermediate step would be to try buiding something needed together, identify and build around the obstacles we come across in the process. SC4SV is something I haven’t had time to pursue, but I think there is something there- we just need an exit model.

Nobody pinged me yet, Hah! Where are the connectors?

Hi David,

Yes , its a good model. Do you know RESCoop? They are working in this field with community cooperative energy projects. They just attended an event in Dublin and are a lovely bunch of people, some smashing lawyers too :wink: all very approachable, and I have contacts for all of them.

You said you might be taking the boat in september to come see us. Lets do a little work to make that happen prior to the time as I feel there is a great amount of work to be done. Do you know the UK company Microgenius? In Ireland I am working with a lovely portuguese couple and an Englishman based in Cork on a similar work, an equity crowd share-release tool. Stacco from P2PF may be able to help us translate it, we intend its use with the PP-L in a strategy to  channel value flows into the worker owned cooeprative sector. In parrallel (and not for long) our work at Get Local is growing to include collaboration with the Irish Centre for Cooperative Studies.

We will work toward looking into models as you mention, and are very interested in the type of model you are talking about here. We have around 20 people in our core now, spread across a few organizations and all working in the same direction. Lets get back to that email thread and discuss further.

We can also continue here, there is at least one connector present now :wink:  :P

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If we understand correctly…

If we understood correctly, the only problem, according to @Alberto would be that Edgeryders has no record in cooperative related projects. But @Nadia and @Eimhin points that:

  • there is need not only for cooperative matching but also for social investment, etc
  • not only coops but other different kind of social entreprises could feel this need
  • there are some possible partners interested in this kind of project arround Europe membered by edgeryders or almost in touch with the edgeryders network

So, if we have understood well:

  1. We could
    1. focus the project in «transnational social economy cooperation», making matches and networks of social entreprises or
    2. starting with cooperatives and then wide the focus multiplying the experience
  2. Edgeryders would aggregate to the project the «transeuropean network expertise» and «Get Local» and «las Indias» the cooperative experience in the two main sectors of the cooperativism (agroproduction and consumption, and services and industry) from two places with special cooperative tradition and symbolism (Ireland countryside and Basque Country)

Are we in the right path for understanding this conversation?

Possibility soon

@Alberto @Nadia and @Eimhin please have a look to this European call, compare it with the idea we are discussing, and share your thoughts  :slight_smile:

Main goal

  • to wide the scope of European Cooperative sector focusing in increasing the number of European Cooperative Societies founded acoording to the directive 2003/72/CE


  •  To create a virtual consulting and networking plattform for European cooperatives in order to:
  • allowing them to find complementary project partners in other EU members
  • helping them to fussion their local cooperatives in one transEuropean structure under the «European Cooperative Society» directive 2003/72/CE

The platform will provide:

  • Volunteer professionals and network experts dedicated to dynamize the network, and to promote the plattform between more and more cooperatives
  • Atomated algorithms for matching cooperatives according their demands and declared needs
  • Legal consulting on ECS (European Cooperative Society) legislation
  • Business Intelligence for cooperatives on markets, business models and regulatory issues.

Ok will do tonight

on my way into a presentation, will look at this after. Thanks for sharing and pinging me!

@Nadia  (I’m Natalia)

According to the European Comission,  the failure of «Societas Cooperativa Europaea»  is  the necessary «closeness face-to-face» between the partners/workers of a coop company.  Probably it is true for industrial cooperatives but in the framework of knowledge economy, there are many firms looking for new forms of internal organization or freelance groups too. Edgeryder is an example of a new kind of «company»!

So, I think we can focus the project in facilitating collaborative work as starting point for an increased constitution of european cooperatives.

I see a way in

@lasindias, what if we do a project on documentation culture? We could make the following argument.

  • Online collaboration is a cyborg system: part bits and wire (the tech), part meat (the humans). A fancier way to say it is that it exists in agent-artifact space.
  • However, almost all designers of online collaboration focus on the tech/artifact part. Since they are not looking at the (far messier) human part, their success rate is unsurprisingly very low. 
  • Edgeryders has a very significant experience of online collaboration. Not only (not even mainly) around software development, but around business projects, organizing conferences (LOTE), socializing the submission of applications (FormStorm), near-real time coordinating in social media communication (Twitterstorm) etc. The reason why we can do this stuff is that we are a diverse community with a significant hacker component, and the hackers' culture of documentation has been spreading.
  • Documentation is the vector of sharing. It means: every time you do something you take time to document what you do with guidelines, instructions, tutorials etc., so that others can pick it up where you left off. This is very counterintuitive to do, because documentation is time-consuming for those who do the documenting; but it is superefficient, because information can be duplicated costlessly. A whole tribe of documenters moves at the speed of light: everybody spends some extra time when documenting what he or she does, but then saves ten times that time by virtue of easy access to the knowledge others have created. So, documenting is non-Nash, Pareto superior.
  • Historically, hackers have solved this by creating a culture of documentation. This means acknowledging the hard work of people doing it well, rewarding them with attention and kudos etc. Preliminary experience in Edgeryders shows that this can be done also outside the hacker world. For example, the latest Living On The Edge conference generated a lot of documentation, most of it pretty high quality. This both taught people to work together online (on wikis, comments and posts) and made the online space more attractive as its content grew in quality and coverage. 
  • So, we will not tackle this by building another platform. We will teach people to teach each other how to make tutorial, how to write an effective post, how to build and manage online communities (@Noemi and others keep a wiki for this in the context of Edgeryders – QED, I guess). Prototype it on some coops. And see.
  • You guys can do the coop organizing and reachout and communication; we can take the lead on collaboration practices.