Our Exciting Journey from Inc. to an Employee-Owned Business

Our beginning as an Inc.

How can the tough necessities of succeeding in the rough and tumble world of business be combined with a passion to build a more equitable and more sustainable world? How to build a business that has common good embedded in its legal framework?

This was the challenge I faced when I embarked on a voyage to build a successful and progressive consulting business.

Like many women, I came into entrepreneurship late. In 2007 at the age of 40, I left my cushy government job, and started Percolab. My vision was to build a purpose-driven firm growing healthy and courageous collaborations for social innovation. Fortunately I wasn’t alone, I had a business partner. We were clear that our business would operate both locally in Canada and internationally. We were clear that we would live the business as a lab, experimenting with new ways of learning, working and governing. We were also clear that we would open source our methods and learnings. What we weren’t so clear about was the best legal structure for our business!

Our organization needed:

  1. Agilityto get up and running right away — we didn’t want to recruit other founders to join, we just wanted to get going.
  2. A huge creative sandbox to experiment and develop new approaches — we didn’t want to dampen our wild ideas or convince others.
  3. Protection of our personal assets — we were aware of the financial risks of a business.

In Canada, two people with a business idea and internet can incorporate in a matter of minutes. Incorporation is the go-to business structure to which almost everyone gravitates. We self-declared that our corporation was a social enterprise and we agreed to run it as such, even if it had no particular legal structure that spoke to that desire.

Awakening to collective entrepreneurship

Fast forward 10 years, where the words social enterprise, sharing economy, triple bottom line, B-Corps, employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) have become popular (and entangled). Ten years is the time it took for my company, Percolab, to make its way to coherence. A business working in collaboration and co-operation, dedicated to creating a more equitable, fair and thrivable world should logically have a conscious and coherent ownership model. This is the exciting, eventful story of our journey from an incorporated company to a fully employee owned business.

I fumbled into collective entrepreneurship the hard way. After 7 years of operation, our business hit a hurdle, a moment of financial hardship. We did what many owners do, we moved to protect the team from what was going on versus dealing with it collectively. Even though everyone was impacted, the situation was not shared thereby creating much frustration, anxiety and misinformation for the team and great stress for the owners. The strong relationships that we had developed began to fray. It was a few months later, when things had stabilized, that I began to see that the business was not functioning based on its core values — co-creation, community, openness. This incident served as a gift to help me realize that both co-management and shared ownership were non-negotiables for me. If we were going to be hit again by major hurdles in the future, it needed to be a collective experience, one that we would see coming together, live together, own together and resolve together.

With that, I brought some key proposals to my business partner, and then together, we took them to the team. Our bold plan proposed several big changes, including these:

  1. We formally transition to a self-managing company — the informal good intention to be non-hierarchical was not enough as we had learned.
  2. We shift to transparent financesand a self-determined salarymodel — as a way of us engaging everyone in the finances.
  3. We transition from an incorporated business to a co-operative— so we would all co-own the business.

Because I come from Quebec, a place in the world that values co-operatives as a popular and logical option for collective entrepreneurship, I chose the co-operative legal form. Co-operatives have seven internationally agreed principles from democratic member control to concern for the community.

There was energy and excitement around the three proposals and all were easily adopted. The first two proposals were to be effective within days, and we gave ourselves seven months to transition to a co-operative legal structure.

The first bump in the road

Initially things flowed. The shift to self-management was natural. Step by step, we moved forward developing a growing ease with roles that rotated, distributed authority, consent based decision-making.

Same thing for the shift to transparent finances. There was a moment of discomfort and then a relief. The self-determined compensation model had instant effect. We each had control over our own earnings, we were owning our value more clearly and we were engaging more directly with the company finances.

The shift to our co-operative form however, stalled. The deadline for this re-organization in our legal form sailed by and tasks were delayed. There came a feeling of uncertainty of who in the team would actually join the co-op. What was going on? A colleague called a collective dinner entitled “Are you in, or are you out?”

There was a cheekiness to the invitation, but it was what was needed to get beyond the rumblings and side conversations going on. After receiving the invitation, one member clarified that he would not be joining the co-op and announced his departure. I had serious questions if my business partner was going to join or not. It had been 17 years of professional life together. Perhaps understandably, I was avoiding the conversation with him.

The day of the collective dinner arrived. My business partner worked at home that day. One hour prior to the dinner the email arrived. It was a long one, one that must have been painful to write. He wanted to dedicate himself more to his family and so our paths were to part. This added an extra layer in the process: I was becoming an employee/member/owner of a co-op that was buying the company that I half owned.

Working through the details

Ensued a period of information seeking and support. What form of a coop was a match for us? In Quebec we have three options, worker coop, producer coop and solidarity coop. How did our self-managing system map onto the legal obligations of a cooperative? We were delighted by coop regulation protecting the financial well-being of the company. We were surprised by hierarchical bias in some of the governance, making our self-managing system feel quite radical.

Then it was time to get on with the transfer. Our team expected to be involved in the process while the external professionals supporting us were more accustomed to a private process with only the company owners. Our non-hierarchical culture clashed with this process, but we made it work.

  1. Transfer plan

Normally a company transfer requires a plan to pass on the company management capacity to the team. We learned that in our case it would not be necessary; the team was already co-managing the business. In a self-managing organization everyone is already brought into the various aspects of the business and were capable of running it. Check.

  1. Valuation

The cooperative needed to purchase the inc. This is a regulated purchase at market value. An official evaluator determines the value of the business. Together, we interviewed potential evaluators with a focus to understanding the process and chose one together. The evaluation process itself was lengthy due to the non-conventional nature of our business. Check.

  1. Appropriate legal pathway

When the owners continue into the new business you can transfer the business. Since one owner was leaving, this was not an option for us. With a closure you shut down the business and start a new business under a new name, but with a 10 year reputation and client base, this was not an option for us. A fusion allows you to start the new business and have the old one function along side for a while, giving time to purchase it and close it down. Fusion it would be. Check.

And so we were ready for the final legal steps—start the coop and sell the Inc. The adventure however continued when we encountered a second bump in our route forward.

Second bump in the road

To start a coop in Quebec you need to complete a simple short form. We agreed that it was important that someone else then me, the founder of the Inc, complete the coop form. I went on a business trip for a few weeks and when I returned it wasn’t done. The initial excitement had back tracked to concerns and issues.

Thankfully our team retreat arrived. Two key moments at the retreat provided ground-shifting support for the shift in dynamics. A “Fun with metrics” activity, helped us all gather a fuller view and understanding of the company. It was an invaluable and timely reminder that we all ran this company together.

Then I asked everyone to stand on a spectrum based on our level of energy for starting the co-op. I went to the middle and shared my frustration that despite our commitment a full year had passed and the co-op was stuck again. Our agreement had not been honored. Maybe we weren’t ripe for becoming a co-op, I pondered out loud. Maybe the offer should be taken off the table? An honest conversation ensued in which misperceptions and fears were unravelled.

Within a week the co-operative creation form was sent and our regulations drafted. As easy as that, the co-op was formed and we held our founding assembly. Luckily, the legal process itself proved not to be especially complicated.

After that came the uncomfortable meeting with our business lawyer, during which I, as owner of the inc, negotiated a selling price to the buyers which included me! I was ready to move into shared ownership and at the same time I was happy that I was being financially compensated for all the founder’s work I had done.

Collective ownership reality check

Our long climb had certainly not been all roses. As an established entrepreneur, I naively underestimated the fundamental shift involved for others to step into co-owning a business. Joining a new organization as an employee is one thing, but becoming a co-owner of an already functioning company at the same time is something else. It can be a tough journey to shift identities, to challenge fears, to understand the implications. It takes time and it’s not for everyone.

Indeed, many people join the company for the interesting work we do; to collaborate with our amazing team; or, to experience our autonomy and shared leadership, but few join because they are driven to co-own, manage and grow a company with others. That’s the interesting bit though, where we learn to walk the talk of what the world might be and learn to be in business together consciously. It hasn’t been easy, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Honestly, I can’t think of a more aligned legal form for a company committed to a more equitable world than a co-operative model.

As we move forward building capacity for co-creative ways of working and horizontal ways of governing, it feels like a tiny extra step to tip over into the land of co-operatives. What if businesses began to see themselves as a lever for social change, a learning platform to help people strengthen their agency and become more engaged human beings? What if?

 

 

Cooperatives, provide jobs or work for 10% of the employed population of the world: for more information visit The International Cooperative Alliance.

Learn more about horizontal leadership in my book: Going Horizontal: Creating a Non-Hierarchical Organization, One Practice at a Time.

Listen to my TEDxGeneva lecture: The Future is in Business as Commons.

This article is an adaptation and update of an article originally published in the magazine Reimagining.

Much thanks to all those who supported me with this article, Cédric Jamet, Ria Baeck, Simon Grant, Stéphanie Bossé, Denis Côté, Olivia Horge, Brian Joseph and others. Special thanks to the Cooperative Network of Quebec for all its support.

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Pourquoi vous devriez (re)commencer à dessiner (1/3)

Partie 1 : renouer avec le dessin

 

“Je ne vais pas y arriver”, “Je voulais faire cela, mais je n’ai pas réussi”, “Je m’excuse, mon bonhomme est moche”… Ces énoncés vous rappellent quelque chose ?         

Depuis 3 ans que j’anime des ateliers sur la pensée visuelle et la facilitation graphique, ces critiques négatives auto-infligées jaillissent régulièrement. Agents de la fonction publique, salariés d’associations, coachs indépendants, coordinateurs de réseau, salariés d’entreprise, consultants, formateurs…. Tous ont tendance à dévaloriser leurs productions avant même que les autres aient pu y poser un regard. Et les blocages s’installent insidieusement.

Alors que l’envie est là ! Et qu’à la fin tous finissent par créer de puissantes et efficaces représentations visuelles, aussi bien à l’issue d’un atelier de 2 heures que d’une formation de 2 jours.

 

Tout le monde peut dessiner, vous compris

 

“Tout le monde peut dessiner !” est le mantra, qui ponctue d’ailleurs les séances. Plus qu’une croyance, c’est une évidence : un crayon, un tour de main, et le dessin est révélé, avec tout son potentiel pour avancer. Quel que soit son niveau, tout le monde peut dessiner et construire une représentation qui fait sens à partir de ce qu’il a créé. Alors pourquoi sommes-nous si durs avec nous-mêmes quand nous nous lançons dans cette pratique ? Et quelle démarche adopter pour bénéficier pleinement de la puissance du visuel ?

 

A l’origine, tous dessinateurs

Il fut un temps où nous étions hauts comme trois pommes et étions alors reines et rois de la gribouille, au détriment souvent des tapis, tables, murs et autres surfaces de notre maison. A ce moment, la prise en main du crayon se faisait naturellement et sans contrariété, dans un plaisir sans cesse renouvelé. Pourquoi alors aujourd’hui sommes-nous si intimidés et durs avec nous-mêmes quand il s’agit de nos dessins ? De ce que j’ai pu observer, voici mes quatre hypothèses.

1. Nous cherchons la perfection, du premier coup

Nous ne sommes plus habitués à nous laisser le droit à l’erreur, tenter une nouveauté sans  impératif de résultats et nous laisser le temps d’éprouver de manière sensitive une activité pour pouvoir ensuite nous l’approprier. Nous visons l’optimisation perpétuelle de nos tâches, même dans l’apprentissage.

 

 

“Dessiner demande de créer, donc de faire des essais”

Or, en pensée visuelle, c’est à partir du moment où le dessin est créé que la réflexion arrive.

Mais, pour pouvoir le créer, il faut bien accepter qu’il ne sera pas parfait, sinon il n’existera jamais ! Car notre cerveau “droit”, siège de notre créativité et de notre pensée visuelle s’accommode mal d’une rationalité exigeante. Il nous faut abandonner l’objectif d’arriver à un résultat et s’autoriser à puiser dans nos émotions, pour dessiner et laisser émerger une production utile.

 

 

 

2. Les compétences manuelles ne sont pas assez valorisées

 

Ce n’est un secret pour personne, à l’école, les compétences ne sont pas franchement considérés comme déterminante. Que nous perdions confiance en nos habiletés créatives n’est donc pas une surprise.

(Evolution : 1998 – 2018)

“Nos habiletés en dessin reviennent avec la pratique”

Nous ne sommes donc plus entraînés, voilà tout. Se remettre à penser avec le visuel, et à faire coïncider notre intention au geste de notre main demande un peu de pratique. C’est comme lorsque l’on souhaite se remettre au sport, on ne vise pas immédiatement le marathon, n’est-ce pas ? C’est en pensant avec le visuel que l’on devient penseur visuel. Le secret ? S’exercer, s’inspirer, pratiquer, encore et encore. Notre sensibilité, plutôt vue comme une faiblesse dans les anciens modes de management, est aujourd’hui un atout.

 

3. Le visuel cristallise les critiques

 

L’histoire du graphiste qui devint fou

Peut-être connaissez-vous le destin tragique du graphiste qui doit réaliser une commande mais qui face aux critiques de ses multiples interlocuteurs, recommence inlassablement son ouvrage…

Une explication à cette situation : nous sommes très exigeants avec le visuel. Tout peut s’y trouver : le sens, les goûts des uns et des autres, la portée symbolique, voire politique… Il est donc important de retrouver des priorités.

Astuce, voici des questions à se poser, selon le design thinking :

  • Qu’est-ce qui est important dans le travail que je fais aujourd’hui ?
  • Qu’est-ce que je cherche à créer : quelque chose de “joli”, quelque chose que l’on comprenne, quelque chose qui sort du cadre ? Attention, une seule réponse possible !

Ensuite, lorsque je souhaite recueillir des retours, quelles questions vais-je poser et quels types de réponses vais-je garder ?

Si je me concentre sur ce qui compte pour moi, la pression retombe. De plus, travailler en direct et au marqueur / feutre signifie que la première fois est forcément la bonne ! Bienvenue dans le monde du lâcher-prise invité.

 

4. Nous oublions que dessiner et s’amuser font partie de l’humain

Lors des formations, l’aspect enfantin du dessin est rarement un blocage, mais interroge : “Moi ça va, mais je ne sais pas si mes collègues vont bien vouloir se prêter au jeu”, “Je ne me vois pas faire dessiner mes supérieurs !”. Associé au monde de l’enfance, au “non sérieux”, au jeu, le dessin est discrédité d’un point de vue professionnel. De plus, lorsque nous dessinons, nous nous mettons à nu et laissons pointer nos émotions.

“Dessiner c’est créer, c’est se montrer soi, en 2D”

 

Nous ne pouvons plus nous cacher derrière les mots et l’imperfection des traits peut dissoner avec notre attitude, notre apparence et notre langage. Mais il y a le plaisir ! Ce plaisir joyeux où l’on ne voit pas le temps passer ! Et si vous prenez plaisir à dessiner, ce sera partagé. Oui, le dessin peut faire peur, mais surtout le dessin peut faire du bien. Lançons-nous, et nous verrons ce qu’il en sort. Si vous vous sentez limités par vos capacités en dessin, dites-vous que c’est tant mieux, car cela vous amènera à dessiner uniquement ce qui est essentiel pour vous.

Ainsi, partons du principe : “Je peux le faire !”. Ce que vous faites a de la valeur, vous pouvez construire dessus, car vous en êtes l’auteur.

 

 

 

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There is more than one way to price a workshop: experiments in shared economy

For those of us who work in participatory design, what does it look like to extend engagement to questions of money as well?

So you’ve got a small budget set aside for professional development. You find a training that looks good on paper, costs say $100 to attend and you register by paying the fee and submitting your name. At the end of a long day of powerpoints, you leave with a few notes in hand and your receipt/attendance confirmation for the human resources department, never having given much thought to the cost or value of the workshop.

At Percolab events that doesn’t happen.   

For many years now, we has been experimenting with different ways to engage with with cost and value of trainings. Percolab has taken inspiration from practices in the Art of Hosting community, from The Commons, and in particular, a practice that our colleague Ria in Brussels introduced us to: the shared economy.


With each of the open workshops that I was a part of hosting in 2017, we experimented with different ways to present this useful practice. Most of us are not comfortable talking about money. We have very little practice being open and transparent about how much we would like to earn, how much we can afford to pay, and the value we receive from a training. With inspiration from my colleagues around the world, this is what I have learned so far about how to present the shared economy in a way that is inviting, clear, reassuring and effective.

Experiment #1

At the self-management workshop we hosted back in May, we gave participants two options.

1) Register and pay the listed price on Eventbrite ahead of time

OR

2) Engage with the shared economy by paying a small registration fee (so that we know you’re actually coming) and then paying the remaining amount, of your choice, at the end of the event.

It sounds like a pay-what-you-can model, or a sliding scale, but that’s not the idea behind it. While we do want our workshops to be accessible to anyone regardless of their financial situation, what we were aiming for was a shared economy practice. It’s an opportunity to take into account the budget of the event, and then choose what to pay based on the information available, including the number of participants. i.e. “sharing” the cost.

What’s unique about this model, is that it’s an engagement. You are agreeing to share the responsibility, and cover the minimum cost for the event to run successfully.

At the end of the workshop, we share our budget with you (including how much we would like to receive as hosts/facilitators/trainers). We then divide the total cost by the number of participants and everyone makes a choice based on that proposed average cost.

The result?

For that particular event, about half the participants paid the listed event price ahead of time, and half engaged with the shared economy. Our budget included the cost of the room, catered lunch, printed materials, and the time and expertise of the facilitators.

In the end, it turned out that this two-option, shared economy acted like a sliding scale. If you had a company paying your training bill, you paid the full listed price. If you were an independent, or coming from a non-profit organization, you participated in shared economy. Some paid a bit more than average, some paid a bit less. Everyone has a fairly good idea of where they fit on a scale of income, so they know for themselves if they can contribute a bit more than the average, or not. We covered all of our costs, and paid ourselves. And we learned something about the demonstrated need for accommodating different budgets.

But there was more to be experimented with.

There is also the question of perceived value. Are you engaging with the budget and making a choice that is not just a matter of what you can afford, but the value that you have received? Are you consciously participating in the financial reality of your learning experience?

For those of us whose profession it is to increase participation and engagement in events and organizations, this is an important question. For the trainings that are based on, and designed for engagement, it seems pertinent that we extend that engagement to the question of money as well.

Our good friend Frederic Laloux asked similar questions of his readers when he published the online version of his book (which was a foundational building block of our self-management workshop) Reinventing Organizations.

The idea is, “I cannot know what the book is worth to you, so I’m not sure a fixed price makes much sense.” It’s an experiment in abundance where I trust that when I give, I will also receive.”

When our colleague Nil was in town, co-hosting The Money Game with Cedric, they took inspiration from the gifting economy and asked participants: “What would be a contribution you could offer that would give you joy?”

This consciousness around our relationship to money is important to us. We are shifting our budgeting and allocations for project work internally away from a time-based model (how many hours did it take you to do this?) to one that factors in complexity, expertise, and value. Some very human qualities of the work.

Experiment #2

At our most recent evening workshop, on the topic of generative decision making, we decided to combine a few of these ideas, and encourage an engagement with the value of the event.

As we closed the session, we asked participants to write down on one side of a paper what they learned, or are taking away from the workshop.

On the other side, thinking about the value this event has had for you, write 3 numbers:

1) A contribution that would feel unjust or too low,

2) An amount that would feel like too much for this evening of learning,

3) A number that you would feel good about contributing to this event, based on what you have learned and what you can afford.

The first step was about reflecting on value and money on your own.

The second step was to share the budget of the event.

We listed the cost of the room, the snacks we provided (essential for an event at the end of the workday) and what we hoped to receive as hosts of the event. For the line item relating to the honorarium for the facilitators (our pay), we set a range for what we would each be willing to receive, on the low and the high end, for this evening of work. We had a similar range for the percentage that we would put back into the Percolab pot for overhead as we do with every project.

We counted the number of people in the room and did the math together for the average amount each person would need to contribute to cover the cost. We were left with a range depending on whether the facilitators were to receive their low-mid or high honorarium amount.

With that, we told participants which methods of payment were available, and left the rest up to them.

The result?

The added step of having each participant reflect on their own about their relationship to the value of the event was important. It changed the nature of the conversation and the participants were more engaged with the budget we presented.

For ourselves, it felt more honest to list a range for the pay we would each receive (and to be clear whether it would be split 50/50 between us and why). As organizers of an event, it is not easy to declare how much you would like to make. Mostly because we don’t practice it very often. And then to discuss with a co-host whether we are splitting the profits evenly or not, for whatever reason. It’s a step that I push until the last minute every time. But being able to include it in the presentation of the budget makes it that much more transparent and that much more clear.

Things to experiment with next time:
How could we include the collective aspect of shared economy? Until now participants have been making the decision on their own, with or without time to reflect on value first. What if we had a discussion about it and shared the responsibility openly as a group?
This is something that was factored in when the Shared Economy was first piloted at a learning village that our colleague Ria was a part of. To read more about the origins of this idea: https://slovenialearningvillage.wordpress.com/how-much/

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Learning conversations for entrepreneurship

How can we as organisations learn from each other?

Entrepreneur to entrepreneur, business to business,  talking and sharing openly and freely can become a way of working. Ville Kernan, co-founder of Monkey Business based in Jyväskylä, Finland and percolab co-founders Samantha Slade and Yves Otis, based in Montreal, Canada have been practicing “learning conversations” together. In this article we share our thoughts on how this practice has supported our learning and work.

Ville: Throughout all my life as an entrepreneur, I have been (inter)dependent to people who are doing similar things or things in a similar way than me. One could call them mentors, co-learners or something like that. Since their visit to Monkey’s Yellow Office back in February 2011, percolab’s Samantha and Yves have been one of those. Currently we host each other on a more or less monthly call over Google Hangout.

Samantha: Colearners, cohosting each other. This is what I aspire to all around. What is it that allows you to go from a one time encounter to this rich space of thinking out loud and exploring ideas together with someone you barely know? Perhaps it was the sauna in Monkey Business’ office that just helped soften us all up. There is something to be said for the finnish sauna tradition.

Yves: One question I brought back with me from our visit to Monkey Business in Finland, was how to maintain this complicity that we were feeling? How to talk about our practice, our work our questionning? And how to do that without tripping up on our cultural or linguistic differences? or the time difference?

Ville: These calls are very interesting and important to me. Many times I have felt tired before the call after a long day at the office (due to time difference between Finland and Canada we talk at 4pm), but in the end I have left the call energised and with more clarity than before it.

Samantha: These calls offer a space outside of our regular contexts, with another human across the planet who is sharing similar experimentations, opportunities, ideas. To have flowing conversation in this space helps to gather clarity and strength to act.

Ville: One could call us sister or twin companies. I see or take the analogy from Twin or Sister cities. E.g. City of Jyväskylä is a sisters with the City of Debrezen. However, I believe our connection is more informal and relaxed I suppose. Like friends.

Samantha: There is a term, «impersonal fellowship » that comes to mind where you have deep connection, conversation and trust with someone with whom you don’t necessarily hang out with. This is a concept that fascinates me. We are fellow learners.

Ville: Over the calls we start with a check in, just sharing what’s up and what’s going on in each others’ (mostly professional) lives. What kind of projects are on right now, troubles, challenges or worries, visions, dreams or questions etc. Many things are shared. We share also what we have learnt or read about lately. Our talks are dialogue.

Samantha: And dialogue is the path of learning and sense-making. It is so crucial to have this kind of dialogue when you are working in a domain of innovation – that’s to say that your ways of working, thinking, being are not necessarily shared by those around you.

Yves: No agenda. No program. We run on questions that lead to conversations. What one person says immediately gets bounced around with perspectives and angles that we wouldn’t have imagined.

Ville: We both, Monkey and percolab, share the same way towards our work. Our work is about co-creation of the desired future, where people get along and can be themselves, and thus be more creative, feel better and also be more productive. We both work with various types of clients, and dialogue and doing is at the core of what we do. Thanks to this shared field of work, there are many connections and many things where other company’s experiences help one another.

Samantha: Yes, Ville says it so well. By talking together we reveal to ourselves what we are doing. We get greater consciousness.

Yves: And each conversation leads to its own rosary of little pearls that we put to use right away.

Ville: We have planned concepts together, such as “properly funky entrepreneurship training program”, or an “informal network of companies working in this weird way”.

Samantha: Yes, this free flowing dialogue with trusting open exploration between different cultures and languages lends itself naturally to creative emergence. It’s surprising and not.

Yves: With the desire to continue this conversation, to see what will emerge from it, without any obligation other than a little bit of learning.

Our conversations have always been pertinent and we hope others will experiment with this practice. For those who are also exploring better ways of learning and working together we would love to hear your story.

 

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Une vision partagée en mode créatif

L’Union Régionale des sociétés coopératives du Languedoc-Roussillon, c’est deux équipes qui ont fusionné il y a peu de temps. Deux façons de travailler différentes, deux cultures qui doivent se retrouver pour répondre aux missions de cette structure : soutenir le réseau des 128 coopératives sur le territoire, accompagner des entreprises désireuses de se constituer en coopératives et participer à des partenariats phare avec des collectivités conscientes que les entreprises coopératives, présentes dans tous les secteurs d’activités, consolident leur tissu économique et font vivre l’économie locale.

Bâtir ensemble une vision partagée servira à améliorer la cohésion de l’équipe existante et à mieux accueillir de nouvelles personnes. La volonté était de faire en mode créatif avec une limite de temps de trois heures. Une vision partagée, pour une équipe œuvrant sur le long terme, se formalise dans un document qui se travaille dans la durée, progressivement. Le défi, c’est de démarrer.

L’activité a commencé comme bien d’autres, avec la question : Quels sont les mots qui vous viennent à l’esprit sur le concept de vision partagée? Échangés en grand groupe, ces mots nous ont servi à faire apparaître les convergences et les divergences et quelques grandes catégories.

La suite était non-habituelle : nous avons dessiné ces mots, en quelques secondes. Ça s’est fait dans le jeu et le rire. Cette technique, issue de la facilitation graphique, crée un climat détendu, sans jugement où toutes les expressions d’un même concept ont le droit d’être et qui montre la richesse d’idées présente dans un collectif.

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Ensuite un cercle de dialogue pour que l’architecture de la vision émerge collectivement des participants. Quels sont les grands chapitres de cette structure forcément provisoire, amenée à évoluer ensuite? Le groupe arrive à quatre axes : valeurs, objectifs, chemin et règles du jeu.

De là nous avons opté pour un  « micro-sprint d’écriture », issu de la technique du « book sprint ». En quatre équipes de deux ou trois, les participants co-écrivaient 10 minutes en direct dans un pad affiché sur grand écran, chaque groupe sur un chapitre différent. Puis ils tournaient en formant de nouveaux groupes! Lire et reprendre ce qui a été produit par deux autres collègues, voir son propre bout de texte supprimé ou reconstruit est un exercice excellent pour co-créer une vision partagée. Il n’est pas facile d’accepter que ce que je viens de produire ne m’appartient pas, mais appartient à l’ensemble qui peut le transformer…

En trois périodes de co-écriture de 10 minutes, c’est tout un document qui a émergé, fruit de la collaboration et des échanges de ces neuf personnes.

Les trente minutes suivantes ont servi à dessiner en musique une grande fresque collective. Debout, les uns à côté des autres, chacun apportant une idée, un bout de dessin repris, colorié, transformé par un autre, ils ont illustré à la fois ce qu’ils venaient de vivre en co-écrivant et ce qu’ils venaient de mettre en mots pour leur vision partagée.

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Nous avons eu juste le temps de clore l’après-midi par une question sur l’engagement de chacun à faire vivre concrètement cette vision partagée dans le quotidien.

Trois heures semble vraiment très peu pour un tel travail. Pourtant, j’ai eu la sensation d’avoir tout le temps nécessaire. Je dirais que c’est la combinaison d’activités simples et rapides mais donnant toutes, une expérience authentique de co-création qui a fourni le cadre propice à la réalisation.

 

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Intégrer la cocréation dans mon environnement


percolab a été invité à donner « une conférence » au Congrès annuel de l’Association des directeurs généraux des services de santé et des services sociaux du Québec sur le thématique De collaborateur à co-créateurSujet chaud! Nous avons proposé en lieu et place d’une présentation classique – unidirectionnelle – un atelier intitulé « Intégrer la co-création dans mon environnement ». En voici le résumé :

Devenir une organisation co-créatrice demande le développement d’une attitude partagée qui conjugue l’écoute, l’ouverture à l’autre, l’exploration, le jeu, l’initiative, la réflexivité. L’organisation doit aussi trouver les espaces et les moments qui permettent l’expression de l’intelligence collective et l’émergence de propositions innovantes. Quelles sont les conditions qui favorisent la co-création dans nos organisations? Nous allons tenter de répondre collectivement à cette question.

percolab croit que la co-création aide à naviguer les situations complexes qui nécessitent de nouvelles façons de faire. Les ingrédients clés. d’une approche co-créative sont la collaboration++, la créativité et la mise en place d’un cadre qui canalisent les énergies.

Et puis rien de mieux pour explorer le sujet qu’un saut dans le vif du sujet. Nous avons proposé aux 180 participants de vivre un petit moment de co-création, sous la forme d’un mini  « World Café ». Nous l’avons structuré autour des trois questions suivantes :

  • Quelle situation complexe dans votre réseau pourrait bénéficier d’une démarche de co-création?
  • Qui pourrait ou devrait être autour de la table pour travailler avec vous à ces problèmes complexes?
  • Quels sont les défis personnels que vous aurez à relever pour être un leader co-créatif?

Les personnes présentes se sont prêtés volontiers au jeu et ont échangé de manière très dynamique sur leurs expériences et sur les défis de la co-création dans leur réalité fort complexe. Les doutes sur la possibilité de mener une activité de co-création avec un grand nombre de personnes – qui ont été exprimés par certains participants – ont été passablement dissipés au terme de notre très modeste atelier.

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