Widening Spheres of Democracy

The 21st century has seen an explosion in Worker Cooperatives—particularly since capitalism’s 2008 crisis. In Part 1 of this 2-part series, UPSTREAM PODCAST explore how worker coops present a radically different kind of ownership and management structure—one that has the power to bring democracy into the workplace and into the economy as a whole. Upstream Podcast takes a deep dive into the cooperatively owned and run bike/skate shop Rich City Rides, exploring how they have created a community hub that puts racial & economic justice front and center. The podcast also takes a trip to the Basque Country to explore how the cooperative environment compares to that of the United States and the San Francisco Bay Area specifically.

Featuring

Richard Wolff Economics professor emeritus at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, founder of Democracy at Work, and host of the weekly radio show Economic Update

Gopal Dayaneni– Co-founder of Cooperation Richmond & Staff Member at Movement Generation

Doria Robinson– Founder of Urban Tilth and Co-Founder of Cooperation Richmond

Esteban Kelly – Executive Director of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives

Gorka Espiau – Senior Fellow at the Agirre Lehendakaria Center at the University of the Basque Country and Professor of Practice at McGill University

Najari Smith – Worker/member of Rich City Rides bike & skate shop

Roxanne Villaluz – Worker/member of a cooperative bakery & pizzeria

Sofa Gradin – Political Organizer and Lecturer in Politics at King’s College in London

Many thanks to Phil Wrigglesworth for the cover art.

 

This part 1 of a 2-part series.

Listen to Part 2:

Worker Cooperatives Pt. 2

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Shaping Neighborhoods

This April, the Quartier de l’Innovation and the McGill University Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal (CIRM) invite you to try new experiential meetings focused on innovative local initiatives aimed at improving urban life.

Shaping Neighborhoods: Experience and Innovation is a series of “conference experiments” designed to encourage Quartier de l’Innovation communities to reconnect with the Quartier’s urban planning projects and spur discussion on its community projects, academic research and municipal programs. They are an opportunity to reflect as well as to develop and build a resilient neighborhood that’s open to its residents’ ideas. At each meeting, participants will visit a prominent location in the neighborhood and talk with local organizations that are rethinking their living environment. Contributors and academic researchers will also join the discussion to connect the actions undertaken locally to research conducted on these projects.

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Why has place-making become necessary? Most places in most cities developed organically over time, as people and builders appropriated space, modelled it and gave it character. In this era where buildings and neighborhoods are built and torn down, rethinking architecture has become essential.

Date: April 17, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Meeting point: Wellington Control Tower (click here to see how to get there)

Academic Leader: Richard Shearmur, Director of the School of Urban Planning, McGill University

Program: Visit of the Wellington Control Tower, a research/action, dissemination and incubation venue with a café-bistro, which will serve as a meeting hub for all who are rethinking and building the city of today and tomorrow. The visit will be followed by a discussion in the Young Project transitory space created by Entremise.

Panelists:

  • Ms. Pauline Butiaux, vice-president and treasurer, Manoeuvres / Wellington Control Tower
  • Professor Gorka Espiau : professor pr practice, McConnell Foundation / CIRM 
  • Mr. Philémon Gravel, co-founder, director of de urban planning, Entremise
  • Mr. Jonathan Cha : urbanologist, landscape architect, heritage consultant, landscaping consultant for Jean-Drapeau Park, lecturer at UQAM and UdeM, co-founder of MTL\ville en mouvement, co-director at Le Virage MTL
  • Ms. Carla Rangel Garcia and Ms. Marie-Philip Roy-Lasselle : Mont Réel project and ConstructLab Berlin

Wayfinder Istanbul

In 2017, Social Innovation Exchange hosted the first Wayfinder in London at a time when social innovation globally was at a crossroads. In some ways, social innovation has achieved a huge amount over the last decade. However, compared to the scale of the social challenges facing the world, this success is marginal. The London Wayfinder explored how we can create large scale, deep and systemic change over the next 10 years.

One year on, some progress has been made, but many of these challenges remain — we need to continue focusing on getting truly multi-sector, prioritizing people and planet, and supporting leadership rich social innovation ecosystems globally. With the support of local, regional and international partners, the Wayfinder is heading to Istanbul, Turkey to dive deeper into these calls of action from the inaugural Wayfinder.

Together, we will explore: how do we get to transformational change, such as achieving the SDGs? What more can be done to tackle systemic barriers to systemic change over the next ten years? Istanbul Wayfinder will build on two calls to action from London:

  • Getting truly multi-sector in social innovation — with an emphasis on integrating corporate, government and philanthropic social innovation;
  • Creating enabling platforms to enrich social innovation ecosystems — learning from around the world about the key conditions and overcoming barriers.

I am really honored to have been invited as a member of this selected group of 150 innovators, experts, and entrepreneurs from around the world and across Turkey, who have played, and will continue to play, a critical role in building the social innovation field.icon.png

As we embark on a shared global learning experience for two days, we will specifically be listening and learning to help inform a regional social innovation hub Istanbul — a unique historical crossroads of trade, information, culture and business flows between east and west.

Istanbul Wayfinder is convened by Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), hosted by Zorlu Holding, powered by imece, in knowledge partnership with ATÖLYE and S360, ‎and supported by UNDP Regional Hub Istanbul and Brookings Doha Centre.

Global Festival of Action

Organised by the UN SDG Action Campaign with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Federal Foreign Office, the Global Festival of Action brings together the global community taking action to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality. It will recognize and celebrate the innovators, conveners and breakthrough actors who are transforming lives and generating practical solutions to some of the world’s most intractable problems.

Taking place in Bonn each year, the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development provides a dynamic and interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG implementation and connect organizations and individuals from different sectors and regions to exchange, build partnerships, and make the impact of their solutions scale.

I am really honored to take part in the panel that will present the Work4Progress initiative powered by La Caixa Foundation.

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Putting Innovation in a Box

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The Centre for Intellectual Property Policy (CIPP) is organizing, with multiple partners, a week of conferences, workshops and roundtables focused on public policy supporting innovation and intellectual property in Montreal.

Innovation week schedule > Programme de la semaine

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RSVP/information (les places sont limitées):  cipp1.law@mcgill.ca.

Mon > Lun 19 The End of Innovation as We Know It with Richard Gold (CIPP/CPPI, McGill)

12h-13h30, McGill Law (3644 Peel, room 316), $20 for lawyers seeking CLE credit

Tue > Mar 20 From Big Data and Open Data to Community Actions and Impacts with Gorka Espiau (CIRM/CRIEM, McGill), Stéphane Guidoin, Charles-Antoine Julien, Jean-Noé Landry, Pierre Luc Bacon, Geneviève Boisjoly

13h30-15h30, CEIM (20 Queen Street)

Wed > Mer 21 Law and the Blockchain: A Crash Course with Allison Christians (McGill), Max Jarvie, Kendra Rossi, Marc Richardson Arnoud

12h-14hMcGill Law (3644 Peel, room 316), $30 for lawyers seeking CLE credit

Thu > Jeu 22 Putting Innovation in a Box: Tax and IP Policy, Society, and the State with Allison Christians and Pierre-Emmanuel Moyse (McGill), Nicolas Binctin, Alessandra Flamini, Irma Mosquera, Lyne Latulippe, Alain Strowel, Edoardo Traversa, Jean-Pierre Vidal, Laurens van Apeldoorn

13h30-17h30, CEIM (20 Queen Street),  $50 for lawyers seeking CLE credit

Fri > Ven 23 Innovating at the International Level – CETA, BREXIT, NAFTA with Armand de Mestral (McGill), Marc Bungenberg, Charles-Emmanuel Côté, Henri Culot, Graeme Dinwoodie, Alain Strowel, Edoardo Traversa, Lukas Vanhonnaeker

9h00-15h00, Faculty Club (3450 McTavish), $50 for lawyers seeking CLE credit

For more details about the events, click here.

 

Forging empowering civic narratives

At the beginning of 2017, the McConnell Foundation embarked on a project to share learning about how social change happens. Rather than share the perspectives of their own team, they went outside McConnell, wanting to amplify the incredible efforts of individuals working on transforming systems in diverse fields. That project became “Countless Rebellions,” an interview series dedicated to exploring social innovation and systems change. This is a summary of the interview I have recorded for this series:

 

“When you think back to when you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I studied journalism so I guess that was what I wanted to be.  I’m from Bilbao and there was at the time a lot of violence and a deep social and economic crisis. It was a perfect storm at the end of the Spanish dictatorship. That has conditioned the way I see things and why I’m doing what I’m trying to do.

What did you end up becoming?

I don’t know. I have three kids. They keep asking me what I do and it’s really difficult to explain. Sometimes I respond that I am a journalist, just to avoid the complexity of explaining. But if we look at it from the social innovation perspective, I think I’ve become a movement builder around social innovation initiatives, connecting grassroots initiatives with public and private institutions in order to make them scale … But, it’s a very difficult definition.

Can you describe the scale of the problem(s) that you work on?

It depends on the place. For example, in Montreal, we are working on how to generate a movement of transformation in the city. We are talking about a very large scale. How do we connect the key institutions of the city — public and private — with ordinary citizens, in order to create a movement of transformation? These are very big worlds and it’s a very ambitious vision. But, at the same time, this has implications for how you tackle, for example, security or transportation in a particular street in Montreal. We are operating at the macro and the micro level all the time.

We’ve been asking all of the key protagonists. They never say “We made this decision, or we made the right investment.” They always refer to the values.

I’m trying to bring new actors into the discussion that have the capacity to operate on a larger scale. For example, I’m working very closely with the Mondragon corporative. It’s the largest industrial corporative in the world. They created their own social innovation ecosystem out of nothing. They created their own schools, their own companies, their own banks, their own universities — everything — out of nothing, during really difficult times.

What are you learning about right now?

We are finalizing this work with Mondragon cooperative, so I’m learning about the logic of the private sector, but also about the connection between the private sector and social transformations. I’m also learning a lot about the cultural dimension of innovation and of transformation processes.

What does the cultural dimension of social innovation look like?

I’ve been involved in analyzing the transformation of the Basque area. It was a really difficult situation only a few years ago. Now we have a social-economic model that incorporates equality at the heart of the system.  We’ve been asking the key people that were involved in the transformation about why did they made certain decisions. For example, the decision of building the Guggenheim Museum by Frank Gehry in Bilbao. That idea is celebrated internationally. At the time it was a mad idea. To think, at the time, that the Guggenheim would come to Bilbao was totally irrational because there were no conditions for such a thing to happen.

Positive transformation is generated when everybody feels they are allowed to generate innovation.

We’ve been asking all of the key protagonists. They never say “We made this decision, or we made the right investment.” They always refer to the values. They always say, “we did this because we were serving a set of values about how to transform this society, and those values helped us to create a history of ourselves that was aspirational, connected with reality, and then the decisions were made based on those narratives and values.”

This is what we have documented, and this is consistent with a lot of research about long-term aesthetic decisions that are normally made based on values. There is evidence about how we make decisions. It is always a combination of rational, and value-based thinking. But we haven’t really explored what the soft cultural space is. Through an ethnographic process, we have identified in the case of Mondragon five core values that that are still present in that company today. If we can demonstrate that successful projects were actually implemented on a common value system, then we can understand a lot about how successful transformations in the social sphere — territorial but also thematic — incorporate this cultural dimension. By culture, we mean the set of values, the narratives, the beliefs and the aesthetic decisions that are made by a group, by a city, by a particular society in a particular period of time.

Is there anything you’ve noticed that people get wrong about social innovation?

For me, the most important thing is how innovation takes place at the community level. I think we have it totally wrong, applying the myth of the solo entrepreneur, the myth of Silicon Valley, which is all about the individual. This is false, it doesn’t exist, and when it happens, it has a negative social impact.

Positive transformation is generated when everybody feels they are allowed to generate innovation. We have seen this in the Mondragon experience, but we have also seen that in our work in Leeds, in the UK, and this is what we are documenting in Montreal at the moment.”

« Value systems, equality, and inequality in different socio-economic contexts: elite London and the Mondragon Valley ». Une conférence de Luna Glucksberg (LSE)

Gorka Espiau, professeur praticien de la Fondation McConnell au CRIEM, vous invite à rencontrer Mme Luna Glucksberg, chercheuse et anthropologue urbaine à l’Institut international des inégalités de la London School of Economics and Political Science, le mardi 23 janvier prochain, de 15h00 à 16h30.

De passage à Montréal pour participer au séminaire de notre professeur praticien offert aux étudiants McGillois, Mme Glucksberg s’arrêtera également au CRIEM pour présenter ses plus récents travaux au public lors d’une conférence intitulée « Value systems, equality and inequality in different socio-economic contexts: elite London and the Mondragon Valley ».  La rencontre se déroulera dans nos locaux (3438, rue McTavish, salle 100).

Deep listening applied to job creation in India

In less than ten years from now, by 2027, India will expand to become a $6 trillion economy. This impressive growth trajectory has however, not translated into a corresponding increase in jobs. Our belief is that micro entrepreneurship forms the center-piece for building future of work especially for those being left behind in the race for jobs.

“La Caixa” Banking Foundation and Development Alternatives recognize people’s need to navigate through the complex challenges surrounding entrepreneurship. Work 4 Progress (W4P) was born out of the need by the foundation for a multi-faceted and innovative approach to creating systemic solutions that unleash entrepreneurship – not only creating enterprises by the millions but more importantly enabling them to create ‘decent and ‘attractive’ jobs – jobs ‘we’ want.

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In order to do so the program aims to 1. Uncover ‘jobless growth’ through ground up narratives 2. Liberate the entrepreneurial energies communities 3. Empower youth and women to become job creators 

Development Alternatives has, through deep listening and interactive processes, built an understanding of the entrepreneurship landscape in hundreds of villages of Uttar Pradesh.  Resources have been pooled to introduce innovative, systemic solutions in over40 villages. One such example is the use of community radio to launch a competitive “reality show” for entrepreneurs called Kaun Banega Business Leader in which 800 participants are at different stages of co-creating business models and enterprise solutions to tap into new economy opportunities.

 

Experimentation by Design

 

This is the program of the “Experimentation by Design” symposium organized by the Danish Design Center on 7 December 2017 in Copenhagen. I will present the Basque experience of socio-economic transformation at scale. This is the rationale and content of the event:

“As the pace of technological and global change continues to increase, business and government organisations are challenged to become more nimble and experimental both strategically, organisationally and operationally. Businesses are entering new emergent forms of value-creation such as digital platforms, sharing and circular business models, while governments embrace impact investment, shared value and co-production. However, under conditions of complexity, such new models cannot merely be ”implemented” in existing organisations. Rather, they mush be discovered through processes of experimentation. So what does that take?

The Danish Design Centre and the Danish Business Authority invites decision makers across leading private and public organisations to explore how to design, run and gain value from systematic experiments.

For business leaders, we will explore the rise of X Labs – dedicated environments for co-creating innovative products, services and business models.

For policy makers at international, national, regional and local level we will explore how to make innovation and business policy more coherent, business-centred and experimental.

Together we will broaden our view on new forms of value-creation and experimentation as we head towards the third decade of the twenty-first century.

Experimentation by Design is organised as a highly interactive symposium where you will learn as much from the other participants as from the formal speakers and workshop leaders. The event will include keynotes by leading figures in business and policy innovation, and separate tracks focusing on themes such as design as experimental strategy, foresight, organisation and X labs, value and impact measurement. Participants will be challenged to suggest how they would design the ultimate experimental organisation – from vantage points of business, policymaking and research.

The programme will be updated continually.

Download the preliminiary programme: Experimentation by Design

Confirmed speakers:

  • Noah Raford, Chief Operating Officer (COO) & Futurist-in-Chief, Dubai Future Foundation
  • Lucy Kimbell, Director, Innovation Insights Hub & Professor of Contemporary Design Practices, University of the Arts London
  • Simon Haldrup, Global Head of Business Development, Wealth Management, Danske Bank
  • Jesper Grønbæk, Vice President & Head of Growth, TDC, Copenhagen
  • Torsten Andersen, Vice Director, Danish Business Authority
  • Rainer Kattel, Professor of Innovation and Public Governance, Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, University College London
  • Gorka Espiau, Professor of Practice CRIEM/CIRM at McGill University
  • Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen, Knowledge Lead, Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum
  • Torben Klitgaard, Director, BLOXHUB
  • Hanne Harmsen, Vice Director, head of InnoBooster, Innovation Fund Denmark
  • Tommy Andersen, Managing Partner, byFounders
  • Christian Bason, CEO, Danish Design Centre

Please note: The conference is reserved for policy makers and managers, and ´by invitation only´.”