What do you need to know next?

At its best, this workshop is about change.

  • Change the culture.
  • Change your organization.
  • Change the people you work with.
  • Change yourself.

And beyond that, in the face of all this change, growing as a leader is about a posture of dealing with change.

What you don’t know is now up to you.

A note on priority: Our most respected leaders and elders don’t know everything. They can’t. If you have a burning need to know what the required reading is, you might be asking the wrong question. Given that it’s impossible to know everything, the challenges are: what do you need to know next, and where will you choose to go deeper?

Here is an excerpt from our resources list:

  1. Fifty by Fifty pulls together a great collection of employee ownership news, blog posts, publishes its own (Democracy Collaborative) reports (like “Ownership Design for a sustainable economy”and “Impact Investing & Employee Ownership”) and has a helpful resource list — all with the broader aim to “catalyze a movement with the knowledge, resources, and skills to grow the number of employee owners in the U.S. to 50 million Americans by 2050”.
  2. We’ve found Peter Molk’s The Puzzling Lack of Cooperatives as one of the most helpful academic articles on the sector. It identifies key barriers to co-op formation like the entrepreneurs’ public goods problem and broker difficulties. The article also offers a rich review of where cooperatives matter as a portion of the overall market sector. For example on page 25 his chart shows credit unions as holding 10% of household savings, co-ops accounting for 25% of multiunit housing, 27% of the farm supplies and marketing sector as comprised of co-ops, 33% of passenger auto premiums.
  3. The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) (20+ person team) has a delightful set of cartoons (open for you to use); an extraordinary set of resources from Bite Size Law Guides (on worker self-directed non-profits to filing taxes as a subchapter T co-op; the advantages of converting to shared ownership legal structures) to their collaborative legal resource libraries; and truly helpful set of resources, including template legal documents.
  4. US Federation of Worker Cooperatives is the leading association and along with their partner “think and do tank”, the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), they have a large collection of publications and resources from State of the Sector Reports (that in 2019 showed we had about 25 worker co-op start-ups each year) to their Becoming Employee Owned website including many stories, their transition toolkit and much more.
  5. Raise Capital on Your Own Terms: How to Fund Your Business Without Selling your Soul  the Angels of Main Street “Align your money with your values” network; Crowdfund Main Street platform; “Financial Projections Made Easy worksheet” and more helpful resources from Jenny Kassan (a co-op friendly attorney), who’s very aligned with our work. 
  6. Community Wealth-Building is a framework that brings together many parts of the ecosystem from anchor institutions to local governments to CDFIs to asset building, land trusts. It’s a project of the Democracy Collaborative often known for their “Cleveland Model” co-founded by Gar Alperowitz who wrote several books including America Beyond Capitalism and What Then Must We Do? and helped start an exciting research collaborative called The Next System Project.
  7. Platform Cooperativism Consortium: “a hub that helps you start, grow, or convert to platform co-ops.”  While it make take a second to figure out how to apply the right filters for the topics you’re looking for, our tech friends built a helpful search tool where you can explore platform cooperativism, shared ownership more broadly, intersections with labor, open source movements, and much more, since the global network extends the reach. Skimming this set of results may help you appreciate the network. Trebor Scholz has been at the center of the efforts and co-edited (with Nathan Schneider) Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, A New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet.  
  8. Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing pulls together some of the larger (moneyed) interests, but organizes some meaningful conversations through events like their 2019 Beyster Symposium agenda (includes speaker list) and makes their presentations available so you can get a sense of where they see the leading edge of the field. Some presentations offer helpful visuals like how >70% of Americans want to work for a company owned by employees. Their 2018 Beyster Fellow recognizes 
  9. Marjorie Kelly from the Democracy Collaborative (recognized as a Beyster Fellow from Rutgers) for her pioneering work both in The Making of a Democratic Economy and perhaps even more helpful… her earlier work: Owning our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution that Nathan Schnedier (among many others) continues to hold in very high regard.
  10. Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice by Jessica Gordon Nembhard. Summary. Interview.
  11. Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming our Communities by J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, and Stephen Healy.   A helpful summary of why their iceberg image can be so useful for reframing how we see ourselves and our role in the economy. 
  12. Doughnut Economics, by Kate Rayworth. Groundbreaking new way to think about and critique economics. The visual is starting to make waves. 
  13. Move at the speed of trust. Small is beautiful. Trust what emerges. Embrace Emergent Strategy principles from adrienne maree brown. 
  14. Sex & Startups takes a refreshing and provocative view on silicon valley start-up and VC funding that has galvanized the Zebras Unite movement of more than 6,000 members over the past 3 years. Follow-up pieces like Zebras Fix what Unicorns Break, New Stripes for Zebras Unite can be found here by  Jennifer Brandel, Mara Zepeda, Astrid Scholz, and Aniyia Williams
  15. How do you move away from hierarchy in your organization? The field of self-management is growing. How do you actualize more shared leadership in the organizations you’re part of today. Frederick Laleux in his book  Reinventing organizations, describes evolutionary frameworks for consciousness in how we organize ourselves. He argues that we’re evolving towards Teal. Most helpful are the examples of organizations embodying self management today, and the concrete practices for decision-making, conflict resolution, how to do HR in a non-hierarchical way. So many helpful resources and quick short articles that I highly recommend to help us develop fluency in what shared alternatives might look like: Reinventing Organizations Wiki. Also helpful are the tools, methods, and field of sociocracy — a consent based management approach. One of the leading training institutes for this kind of transformative team work and more joy-filled collaborative action is Round Sky Solutions

Published by Felipe Witchger

Felipe actualizes organizer-entrepreneurs for new economic praxis. He facilitates collaboration between community institutions for more equitable community wealth building. By developing leaders and allies, Felipe believes marginalized communities can build the power they need to change institutions, systems, and our culture. Felipe also loves building sandcastles.

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