- Design a new economic framework
- Develop a website for Coism and launch to recruit partners
- Research regenerative business design
- Create logo and redesign website for Regenerative Dynamics
- Integrate into communities in Boulder
I came to Coism through my quest to define a Regenerative Enterprise. I want to help people start socially just and sustainable businesses, so I need to know what makes a business socially just and sustainable. At first, I had just a few tools that I wanted to implement; Holacracy, Nonviolent Communication, Cooperative Ownership, and Benefit Corporation status. At a business incubator that I attended two summers ago I figured out that I needed to broaden my scope and look at underlying principles that can be fulfilled in a number of ways. I have been doing a lot of research trying to nail down a set of principles that will guide the way. I came up with Regenerative Dynamics, a combination of Integral Theory and Sustainable Design intended to be used by businesses to develop regenerative practices.
Shortly after I moved to Boulder I met Brian Tsuchiya, an influential member of the startup community, who is working on an entire economic system to replace Capitalism that he is calling Coism. Together we came up with a set of four core economic tenets and twelve supporting principles that create a just and regenerative economy. With this overarching framework, Regenerative Enterprises are simply businesses that implement some or all of the principles of Coism.
Part of the Coist Business System we are working on is a system of collective ownership that mimics the Mondragon Cooperative in Spain. This presents an opportunity to grow the movement much faster than I previously thought possible. Since most people who want to start a co-op don't have much start-up capital, a collective of cooperatives could raise money to support new ventures.
I decided to work on the theory of Coism before I work more on the incubator. I can use this theory, the collective ownership structure, and Brian's social network to recruit experts in the community. The big picture design of Coism makes Regenerative Enterprises make more sense. It gives me firm ground to stand on both theoretically and structurally.
Coism is a new way to be in the world, it's a new way to relate to money, it's a new way to work, and it's a new way to structure systems. It harnesses human potential to create a just and regenerative economy. It's inspired by nature and humanely designed. Its principles are based in love, compassion, and trust. Coism truly brings the promise of life, liberty, and justice for all.
What is Coism
Coism is an evolutionary economic system designed to create a more just and sustainable society. It is intended to peacefully replace Capitalism and Socialism as the dominant economic ideology. As a complete economic system, it defines the system of production, exchange of goods and services, and the allocation of resources in society. There are four core tenets that mirror the core concepts of Capitalism and Socialism. There are also twelve supporting principles that explain the other key philosophical, social, and structural components that create a thriving Coist economy.
How to Implement Coism
There are four organizations that need to be developed in order to implement Coism. First is an organization to finalize the official doctrine of Coism and spawn a movement, which we are currently calling the Coism Stream Team. The second is the Coism Institute, which is a non-profit that Brian Tsuchiya incorporated on Earth Day, 2015. This will serve as a think-tank to do research, publish articles, and recommend policy. Third is the Coism Lab, a cooperative of teachers and consultants who will put together courses and programs to teach and implement Coism and related topics. Fourth is a Coist Collective. This is a Mondragon-style cooperative of cooperatives which will be the implementation of Coism in the real world. There will eventually be multiple Coist Collectives, but our first will be based in Boulder, Colorado. My Regenerative Enterprise Incubator may be the home where the first Coist Collective is born.
Stream Team Meeting Notes
Coism Stream Team
Brian and I have been defining and re-defining Coism for the last 6 months. We don't believe that we are entirely done, that Coism will continue to evolve as more people give input and more information is integrated. We are growing our team to bring in more minds to create the official doctrine of Coism .
So far we have written and published the following as first drafts:
- Definitions of Coism
- Declaration of a New Economy, which I wrote based on something that Brian had written a year prior
- Coism Manifesto, written by Brian
- Economic Bill of Rights, written by Brian, adapted from a speech by FDR
We plan to finalize these documents by January 1st, 2016. We will publish these on Coism.org. Once these are finalized, we will begin promoting Coism, encouraging people to sign the Declaration of a New Economy and join the movement. After that point we will create some kind of forum for people who are leading organizations that promote Coism to communicate and share their efforts. This may become a non-profit at some point, but right now it is just a loose team which consists of myself, Brian Tsuchiya, Jason Knoll, and Frank O'Neil.
We are forming a team to run a non-profit which will serve as a think-tank to publish research to support our stance, engage with other institutes and schools, and suggest policy to governments that support Coist Enterprises. It will publish articles, white papers, and books on topics that include:
- Describing the effects of existing economic systems, particularly their impact on human quality of life and the living systems upon which they depend.
- Describing the effects of Coist practices on the economy.
- Describing the workings of natural and human systems.
- Recommending government and social policy that support Coist Enterprise.
The Coism Lab is a worker-owned cooperative training and consulting company. Their purpose is to grow a unified movement of Coism practitioners. They will educate people about Coism, build community, and set standards of what is Coist. Coism Lab is a core set of experts who will work with the larger community to develop evolving practices and standards. There is no cookie-cutter way to practice Coism. Consultants will work with individuals and companies to find the Coist solutions that are right for their particular context. Below is a list of the functions this organization will perform.
- Develop the Coist Business System, a framework and best practices for Coist Companies
- Create and administer a Coist Business Assessment, to gauge how well a company practices Coism
- Create and administer a Coist Company Certification, a Coist Collective Certification, and a Coism Trainer Certification
- Create and administer a Coist Business Association
- Create and teach courses on the Theory of Coism, the Coist Business System, and specific best practices
- Train trainers in Coism
- Protect the brand of Coism
- Hold Conferences and Events
- Build an international network of Coism practitioners
Coist Collectives are Cooperatives that serve as holding companies for Coist Companies. They provide capital and services for the companies such as financial advising, collective marketing, legal services, insurance, and technical support. In return the companies will pay a part of their profits to the collective. Each Collective will have a slightly different structure, but they must follow the principles of Coism. The Coism Lab will set standards for Coist Collectives.
There is cross-ownership between Coist Collectives and Coist Companies. The Collective will be owned by members of the Companies, as well as outside investors, and the Collective will own part of the Companies. The Collective is mainly a financial institution, investing in companies and facilitating resource sharing between the companies. Each business owned by the collective will retain their own autonomy. The Collective will have little to no say in the operations of the Companies.
Each Coist Company will be set up differently. Some may be worker-owned co-ops, some may be producer-owned co-ops, some may be LLCs with a few partners who share power, some may be individual proprietors. The Collectives may require that a certain percentage of the companies be owned by the collective or that all preferred stock be owned by the collective. This is a deterrent to cooperatives selling off to non-Coist Corporations because most of the proceeds would go to the Collective, not the individual members.
I would like to create a crowd-funding type software that the collectives can use to give their members some say in how their money is invested. Companies who are owned by the Collective or members of the collective who want to start a new company can make a request for stock or loans and members can choose which requests are fulfilled. This gives investors a close tie with the companies because they are involved in decision making. It also gets around the cumbersome SEC laws because cooperatives in many states are allowed to solicit their own members for investments.
The money all comes out of the Collective pool, however, and the profits off those investments are distributed evenly to all shares. This reduces risk because members are investing in many ventures, some of which will succeed and some will fail. Mondragon has had a huge success rate and I suspect the same will happen with this supportive structure.
Incubators and Accelerators
Each Coist Collective may run it's own Coist Company Incubator or Accelerator program. The Accelerator is an intensive program that lasts several months where I envision the collectives actually hiring entrepreneurs to create new Coist Companies to be a part of their collective. The first Accelerator will be a Coist Collective Accelerator and we will develop the collective itself while creating several Coist Companies to be a part of it. An Incubator is more of a community co-working space for people interested in starting Coist Companies. People could participate part-time and just learn about Coism and get support from their peers.
Regenerative Enterprise Incubator
So, how do Regenerative Enterprises fit into this Coism thing? A Regenerative Enterprise is a company that is on a path toward becoming a Coist Company but isn't quite there, yet. Perhaps some will never become Coist Companies, and that is OK. I still want to be able to work with people who have the right intention and want to implement any of the structures that I want to teach.
Until we have a solid foundation for Coist Company Incubators, I will experiment with the incubator structure that I have been developing and call it a Regenerative Enterprise Incubator. Different branding, same concept. I still have several clients I am working with and perhaps we can get a business or two off the ground that can become part of the first Coist Collective. I am figuring out how to structure these companies so that the integration could happen eventually.
Currently I am not having regular incubator meetings. I want to start hosting events that will draw people in. I have an idea to give free lectures that draw people into a full-day workshop on Regenerative Enterprise Design, and then recruit people from those workshops to be a part of an ongoing community. I plan to begin something like this by the end of the summer.
Me leading Business Model Generation in the Incubator
I spent a lot of time and effort on my branding and website for Regenerative Dynamics the first few months after my last Output Packet. I got a beautiful logo and used a flower of life design to make my website, business cards, and fliers look professional. I set up Buddypress and some other collaboration tools thinking that I would use it as a communication hub for the incubator community and other consultants that I would partner with.
However, after working with Brian Tsuchiya, and more recently Lotus Sattva and Jay Ma, I have decided not to make it the cooperative consulting company I envision and just use Regenerative Dynamics as the name of my own consulting service. I could still use the forums in the future for participants in my programs. I think Regenerative Dynamics will simply be one sole proprietorship that partners with other sole proprietorships to form a collective, since most people already have their own brand and don't want to give that up. Regenerative Dynamics is mine, and I like it.
For this output packet I have advanced my skills in Dynamic Governance through attending the Reinventing Organizations Book Club, reading Holacracy, becoming employed by The Integral Center, which is using Holacracy, and facilitating my first Holacracy Governance Meeting with Startup Meetup.
I have advanced my skills in Web Design by redesigning the Regenerative Dynamics website, creating the Coism Institute website, and writing and sharing blog posts on social media for the Financial Permaculture Institute.
I have advanced my skills in Scrum through using it for my own task management and by using Trello to coordinate with the Startup Meetup team and Touch of Choice. I need to do more sprint planning and reviews with a team to really get good at Scrum.
I have advanced my skills in Communication by attending Circling Lab, The Field of Awakening, the Co-creator's Lab, and Boulder Enacting Anarchy, attending networking events, and building relationships with people I want to work with.
I have advanced my skills in Facilitation through facilitating several of the meetings of the Reinventing Organizations book club, a conversation at Thrive House about Dynamic Governance, and facilitating a Holacracy Governance Meeting with the Startup Meetup Steering Committee.
I have advanced my skills in Business Design by working on business plans for my clients, reading six books on various design topics, and working on the design of my own business ventures.
- Start hosting regular business events at The Integral Center
- Recruit more people to help with Coism
- Implement Holacracy in my own organizations
- Making a living pursuing my passion
- Take the Holacracy Practitioner Course
- Bring together a movement of Regenerative Educators and Entrepreneurs