Is a business model with no hierarchies possible? Enspiral is a bold experiment to create a collaborative network that helps people to do meaningful work. This networking ecosystem builds great companies, shares systems and tells stories. This organisation functions with a demonstrated non-hierarchical business model structure, accessible and replicable for those who are brave enough! Is this an example of what could be the future of businesses organisational structures, part of an ecological economic society and the start of a new way for social entrepreneurs to operate?
Enspiral started as a small freelance collective of software developers and is turned into a cluster of businesses and projects; a bunch of people working in stuff that matters with the final aim of maximising social impact. This collaborative funding business supports people who want to spend their lives changing the world. Best thing? They demonstrate that non-hierarchical business model structure is possible!
This organisation is definitely not an incubator or an accelerator. It’s more like a network with a decentralised organisational structure, where their ultimate key factor is how they organised: all hierarchy barriers are removed, to become a truly collaborative business model.
Since equality is a core cultural principle of Enspiral’s network, they constantly work together to take on startups and ventures aligned with social entrepreneurship, as well as building the collaborative tools and processes on which they operate as an organisation.
@enspiral is not an incubator or an accelerator. It’s more like a network with a decentralised organisational structure, where their ultimate key factor is how they organised: all hierarchy barriers are removed, to become a truly… Click To Tweet
“As a network, we are self-governing, self-owning, self-managing and operating with full control of our sovereignty and values. The ventures and projects operate as independent units with their own organisational structures and principles — but as a network, we do not have a formal management team or top-down strategy.” Joshua Vial Member Enspiral
By getting rid of any hierarchical structure possible a “high trust environment” becomes natural. This phenomenon might be complex to understand, especially because we are used to seeing highly structured business models as the only way of operating. How can we build trust in a network? Joshua Vial explains that it was as simple as the network philosophy of “You wish me well, with no intention of harming or destroying any individual nor the collective; because when you work on what matters for you, anything it’s about responsibilities”.
“Enspiral is the perfect place to meet your future co-founders” Joshua Vial
The benefits of non-hierarchical business models: maximising the collective benefit
Enspiral is at the cutting edge of experimentation in participatory organising, where the over forty business that is part of their vibrant community only take part in those projects that matter and they’re passionate about.
“Enspiral Foundation is not at the top of a hierarchy of ventures. The ventures stand as equals. This principle of equality ripples through every level of our key organising processes — right down to the human level. Ventures and projects use their own organisational, management structures to get things done, but within Enspiral’s network it is intended that no one voice weighs more than any other. The Foundation exists to create common resources, shared agreements and processes that support the common purpose of Enspiral.” Joshua Vial
Some of the benefits of their collaborative funding are the dissolution of authority, the empowerment of every single person in the project, the crowdsourcing of a smarter and truly transparent budget.
Removing any hierarchies allows a quicker transfer of the information, where no data gets lost on its way to higher spheres. On the other hand, when real networking exists you can take out a piece and the company still keeps running, as every single human being shapes the organisation.Some of the benefits of @Enspiral collaborative funding are the dissolution of authority, the empowerment of every single person in the project, the crowdsourcing of a smarter and truly transparent budget. #businessModel… Click To Tweet
An eco-system of businesses for impact-driven businesses
The tools they are using to maximise the efficiency in the core of their organisation, as well as level up the positive impact, are Co-Budget, Loomio, as well as the Enspiral’s handbook, which is the element that enables sharing the information, agreements and guidelines.
The handbook is available for anyone to read and a great reference of how Enspiral operates, a very practical resource sketched by the whole community of change-makers.
As previously mentioned, the other amazing technology the guys of Enspiral have developed are Co-Budget, a platform that helps to develop participatory budgets. Its methodology enables all members of an organisation to get involved in decision-making by proposing projects and allocating funds to the proposals they like.
Then Loomio, an app that helps people make decisions together, getting rid of the many emails and tedious meetings. Using Loomio saves time, gives clear outcomes, and keeps everything in one place. Here’s how Loomio works:
Other successful ventures that Enspiral has brought to life are DevAcademy a full immersion boot camp programme to become a web developer in 18 weeks.
Also Scoop a New Zealand based digital newspaper for independent news that aims to enhance the ability of a diverse range of citizens to interpret, understand and use this information to inform the robust debate, democratic choices, and meaningful participation in society and the economy.
Another big one is ActionStation.org a “People Powered Change” platform. Their statement? “We act together to create what we cannot achieve on our own: a society, economy and democracy that serves all of us – everyday people and Papatūānuku.”
I had the chance of attending a couple of workshops of Joshua Vial, in which he gave a final tip:
“Copy-Share-Connect”. For him, the best experiment has been copying an existing model and putting it in a different context, “For example, something that has worked in normal organisations we can make it digital and incredible things can happen”. Share what you learn, ”tales are great resources worth for innovation”. And connect, “where autonomy exists in collective action”.
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