Hi I'm Rich! Was invited to Taiwan for last year's g0v Summit. Massively inspired by the g0v community: an open swarming approach to upgrading democracy.
We've just been in South Korea for the launch of WAGL, a new democracy lab there. Another amazing community.
And I'm from Enspiral in New Zealand. I think WAGL and g0v and Enspiral should be best friends so I wanted to tell you a bit about us, so you can decide if you agree :)
Enspiral is amazing, and confusing, so I try to explain.
"More people working on stuff that matters": important bit is we're working (i.e. this is my job) on something that matters (I get to choose what matters to me).
When I met the founder, Joshua Vial, he told me "most business is based on stealing: taking more value from society than you are producing. It's killing the planet. Enspiral is for businesses that produce more value for society than they consume".
Enspiral is a community of people and social enterprises that want to leave the world better than we found it.
We're a non-hierarchical network. If you are affected by a decision, you can participate in it. We are learning how to work together without bosses. We use our collaborative decision-making platform Loomio to do this (Ben will tell you more).
In the middle of the network is the Enspiral Foundation, where people voluntarily contribute time, money, skills, etc as shared resources. We share jobs and opportunities because we have more impact when we work together.
Everyone chooses how much of their income they want to share with the collective. High earners maybe share 20%, could be anywhere down to zero though, it is voluntary.
Then we all decide together how we want to spend the money, using Cobudget, which is like an internal crowdfunding system. E.g. we spent some collective money to send Silvia to a conference in the US. This week someone started a fund to pay for counselling for people that can't afford it. I have a fund for paying blog authors and illustrators.
It's an internal economy that makes our connections very deep.
People participate at different levels.
A contributor is the first level: you can come in and help with some stuff, and participate in the collective decision making.
The most committed people are members: they each are legal shareholders of the Enspiral Foundation (gives them voting rights but not financial stake). We have 43 members now - they look after the culture and values, and can invite new contributors in.
We believe in many strong connections as a strategy for most social impact. So we have lots of spaces for collaboration.
We build digital tools for online collaboration, e.g. Loomio, Cobudget, and my.enspiral (our homemade bank that handles the crazy accounting system). And we have offline spaces: a coworking space, the Developer Academy campus, and crucially, every 6 months we get together for a weekend away out of the city. This is where we build a collective identity of people that really care about each other deeply.
So Enspiral was a crazy idea 5 years ago.
Then a bunch of freelancers, mostly tech people like devs and designers, started sharing contracts and making informal teams.
Then some of those teams formed into companies, and they started to get more diverse.
Now we are open sourcing tools and processes for people that want to work collaboratively in service of a more sustainable and equitable world. We are meeting like-minded friends all over the world, so I'm hoping some of you might want to be friends with us too :)