Working Together for Positive Change
Enspiral is a network of professionals and companies aiming to empower and support social entrepreneurship. It was initiated in 2008 by Joshua Vial, a freelance computer programmer, who had some ideas that would help people do more ‘meaningful work’, in terms of fulfilling a social purpose. As a result, he formed a group along with other professionals, who shared the same interest, to experiment with some form of freelancer collective organisation. The idea was that if each one of them worked part time as a freelancer and contributed a part of their income to the group,the aggregated resources would allow them to commit the rest of their time on socially- oriented projects.
Collaboration, autonomy, transparency, diversity, entrepreneurialism, non-hierarchy are values at the heart of Enspiral, an inspiring example of working in a human economy. It is organized around the production of commons, such as Loomio and Co-Budget, with very strong internal community dynamics. It is an entrepreneurial coalition of mostly mission-driven entities. Its infrastructure is managed by a cooperative Foundation, and it has a strong open source ethos in the documentation of its practices, along with a participatory design orientation to its structures which is regularly updated through ‘refractor’ processes. Enspiral specifically calls itself an ‘open cooperative’ because of its commitment to both the production of commons, and an orientation towards the common good. It also has an integrative approach using strong subjective and intersubjective dynamics, which combine working around joint ethical charters, personal and community development. In terms of what we called ‘transvestment’ practices, Enspiral has successfully pioneered a funding process based on capped returns, in which capital is separated from decision-making, and the resulting resources can be donated to the commons after the agreed payments of the returns.