Staff Trusteeship and other "essential building blocks" for #platformcoops

Hey @care_save: I’ve been looking through Nathan and Trebor’s book, Ours to Hack and to Own (which is really well done, btw, chock full of useful insights and good ideas) and came across this one piece in particular that I really resontated with and felt might address our ongoing discussion re: membership structure, staff, and BoD.

three-essential-building-blocks-coop_janelle-orsi.pdf (2.9 MB)

I’m especially interested in the concept of a staff trusteeship model of governance, which I think might adress the tension I feel around having a highly trusted group that is really caring for the whole co-op, while still serving a wider membership.

I imagine this could integrate some of the power and coherence of the Pentagram model, while including the interests of a much larger pool of contributors (i.e., creative members) who might have a less intensive committment to the co-op as a whole, but still have say (through direct feedback and electing board members).

It sound like Janelle might have some other good ideas for bylaws not discussed in the article. What do you think?

PS. See her thoughts, as well, on compensation strategies arising out of a “desire to ensure that everyone has enough.”

Marco, thanks for sharing! I actually have met Janelle at a conference 2-3 years ago and we had a yummy conversation. I think what she describes is spot on, and indeed, is in the direction of my own latest thinking, that we empower our co-op members into staff positions (with more trusted roles requiring more trust to be eligible for the job) and thus enable them to directly interface with member feedback (desires, complaints, ideas, etc.) on a daily basis, thus actually making the organization more innately participatory than if voting was the only way members exercised their power, and if they only did so in dull formal ways like voting for the BoD. I also like the idea of self-management via worker co-op accountability structures–HOWEVER, I’d want to ensure that the board provided a robust “check and balance” to worker initiative, charisma, tradition, and power. Because ultimately the board is supposed to steward the organization AND represent the voices of its users. The users are the ultimate members of a platform co-op, as Janelle reiterates… NOT the workers AS workers, but as members too. I think the model we’re exploring now, in which compensation is primarily facilitated through LitCoin, is the ideal for blending the worker/user dynamic in beneficial, productive ways for the individual, while also protecting from the focus becoming that this is an organization whose #1 purpose is to create employment–which is not the case… Employment from within is a tactic for realizing our mission of serving the economic betterment of our members.

1 Like