:palm_tree: Tech Worker Co-op Retreat Playbook :palm_tree:

Status: Finalized Nov 28, 2018
After finalization, all members can fork their own hackpad copy for using the playbook.

[TOC]

Background

A group of individuals–community organizers, researchers, technologists, designers, and dreamers–have indicated their desire to form a worker co-op. We’re holding a retreat to establish our collective vision, align on shared values, consider ways of working together, and plan future activities.

This Retreat Playbook is designed by a sub-committee of volunteers. It contains context, pre-read material, and solo exercises to be conducted before our retreat to accelerate the process of finding common ground during our retreat.

In addition to this playbook, we will be using Loomio for remote collaboration on certain decisions.

Expected Outcomes at the end of the Retreat

At the end of 2 (3 hour) sessions on 2 different dates (Dec 4th and 8th of 2018) we will establish:

  1. Consensus on our vision and mission
  2. Alignment on shared values
  3. A list of considerations on governance
  4. A road map of milestones

Pre-Retreat

Time Required: 3-6 hours

To ensure the sync time we have together is productive, we are asking all meeting attendees to do the following before the meeting:

Readings

Time Required: 1-4 hours
When to do: Before Day 1

During the retreat you’re encouraged to share a few thoughts from the following readings:

Suggested Starting Point

Required Reading on Co-op Principles

Additional Thematic Readings

Select at least one reading from our Retreat Planning Reading Pool.

Thoughts

_____________________________________
_____________________________________
_____________________________________

Solo Visioning Exercise

Time Required: 1 hour
When to do: Before Day 1

If you are unfamiliar with or would like a refresher on our use of the terms mission, vision, and values, review the reference material (if needed) in Appendix A. The solo activities that follow will help us establish the shared vision of this cooperative.

Organize your thoughts around the following questions to share during Day 1. You could write 2-3 sentences or a few bullet points for the following:

The answers to these questions will be used as starting material to co-draft the following template (often called a “positioning statement”) on Day 1:

For ____________________ (who we serve) 
who ____________________ (the needs we serve)
our co-operative
is a ____________ (classification or category)
that __________________ (compelling reason for us to work together)
unlike ____________________ (current state of affairs)
our organization _____________________ (primary point of difference)

We will use the above as a starting point to iterate from to develop finalized mission and vision statements.

Solo Values Prioritization Exercise

Time Required: 30 mins
When to do: Before Day 1

Reflect on your most important values with this exercise to share on Day 1.

Pick 5 values that are important to you and explain why. These could be values that you’ve sought to preserve in the past while making difficult decisions or they could be aspirational.

Value 1: _________ Why: _____________
Value 2: _________ Why: _____________
Value 3: _________ Why: _____________
Value 4: _________ Why: _____________
Value 5: _________ Why: _____________

If you need a starting point, Appendix B has some words from a creative toolkit to get you thinking.

Understanding Co-op Requirements for Incorporation, Development, and Compliance

Time Required: 30 mins
When to do: Before Day 1

Please review the following worker co-op facts and broad overview of steps required to start a worker co-op. This material came out of retreat research to understand the regulations in Ontario, see the “Summary of Legal Requirements”.

Worker Co-ops Facts

NB: For more information see Ontario Co-Operatives Association on Worker Co-operatives

Starting a Worker Co-op

This is a broad overview of the steps required to start a worker co-op that should be useful to inform the roadmapping activity. Some recommendations have also been included.

ACTIVITY RECOMMENDATIONS AND COMMENTS
PHASE I - DEVELOPING THE IDEA  
1. Assemble a Group of Interested People :heavy_check_mark:
2. Conduct a Pre-feasibility Study :heavy_check_mark: We have project ideas on the go
PHASE II - CO-ORDINATING PRE CO-OPERATIVE ACTIVITIES  
3. Hold an organizing meeting :palm_tree: Retreat meetings on Dec 4 & 8 :palm_tree:
4. Conduct a viability study Draft business plan and conduct feasibility study (including approach to Y1 financing)
PHASE III - ORGANIZING AND GETTING STARTED  
5. Organize the association
Set up adhoc committees such as:
- Planning
- Tools
- Drafting by-laws
Draft bylaws and recommendation to submit articles of incorporation
Early identified issues:
- Nature of Board (all, subset?)
- Nature of Membership (tiers, flat?)
- Nature of Capital (shares, buy-in?)
- Nature of Profit (how to manage surplus; see FSCO Guide)
6. Organize the enterprise
- Plan the operations
- Plan start up financing
- Recruit and train staff
- Ensure legal compliance
Consult a lawyer over by-laws
Prepare member handbook:
- Connecting by-laws and our working processes through our values
- Plain-language duties and checklists for required roles (president, secretary, finance person)
- What it means to be a good member
- Archive of agreements and minutes
- Guide to our ways of working
7. Hold the initial General Meeting By-laws must be adopted within 18 months

NB: Based on Industry Canada’s The Seven Steps in Forming a Co-operative
NB: Details on FSCO Legal Requirements
NB: For more details on resources see dcwalk’s hackpad “Summary of Legal Requirements”

Day 1 - Visioning

Length: 3 hours
Format: Video call

Time Length Description
00:00 - 00:15 15mins Introductions
00:15 - 01:00 45mins 5-minute sharebacks of solo visioning and readings
01:00 - 01:15 15mins Break!
01:15 - 02:30 75mins Co-drafting vision & mission template
02:30 - 03:00 30mins Finding value alignment

Introductions

Facilitator: Dawn
Scribe: Ben (ensure how we work is documented)

5-minute sharebacks

Facilitator/Scribe: Ben (ensure vision/values comments are captured)
Timekeeper: Dawn

Co-drafting vision & mission

Facilitator/Scribe: Udit (filled out positioning template)
Timekeeper: Ben

Finding value alignment

Facilitator/Scribe: Dawn
Timekeeper: Udit

Retreat Async Work

Time Required: No more than 2 hours
Format: Loomio

Day 2 - Roadmapping

Length: 3 hours
Format: Video call

Time Length Description
00:00 - 00:30 30 mins Recap and consensing on vision and mission from async work
00:30 - 01:30 60 mins Roadmapping (capacity and milestones)
02:15 - 02:30 15 mins Break!
01:45 - 02:30 45 mins Roadmapping (prioritizing and working groups)
02:30 - 03:00 30 mins Governance needs and future plans

Consense on vision and mission

Facilitator/Scribe: Udit
Timekeeper: Ben

Roadmapping

Facilitator/Scribe: Ben
Timekeeper: Udit

Roadmapping priorities

Facilitator/Scribe: Dawn
Timekeeper: Ben

Governance and future plans

Facilitator/Scribe: Dawn
Timekeeper: Udit

Appendix A: Reference Material on Mission, Vision, Values

Why are we creating a shared vision?

A shared vision and mission is important for any organization because:

  1. It tells us why we’re committing our time to work together
  2. It tells others what we as an organization want to achieve
  3. It inspires action and generates enthusiasm
  4. While we may have conflicting viewpoints, interests, and perspectives, we can use our vision to establish shared understanding
  5. It provides focus and direction for future strategic planning
  6. It clarfies our objectives and provides a framework for measuring success

Definitions of vision, mission, and values

Although some organizations use the words vision and mission interchangeably, we’re using the following definitions of these words:

Vision A vision must encapsulate our hopes and dreams; what has brought us together; and inspire our cooperative vision for our society, our ecosystem, and ourselves.

Mission A mission clarifies answers to questions like who we serve, what we serve, and how we serve.

Values Values are ideas or guiding principles that we hold very dear to our hearts – something we strive to preserve in any work we do.

Examples

The following are examples of how some organizations have converged on their mission, vision, and values. They are intended to help understand the purpose of visioning in guiding strategic direction.

Patagonia (Clothing retailer) Mission: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

Vision: A love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them, and to help reverse the steep decline in the overall environmental health of our planet.

Oregon Woodland Co-op Mission: We serve the Oregon woodland community by providing services and assistance through the power of cooperative actions of our members

Values:

Root Systems (Tech-worker Coop)

Root system has synthesized their mission, vision, and values in to the following:

Facebook Facebook has recently changed its mission from:

Making the world more open and ++connected++.

to:

Give people the power to build ++community++ and bring the world ++closer together++.

This shift in mission demonstrates that Facebook acknowledges its role in what is said on the platform and (for better or worse) will work towards bringing communities closer together.

Appendix B: Reference List of Values

Accountability
Achievement
Advancement
Aesthetics
Authority
Balance
Belonging
Celebrity
Challenge
Community
Co-operation
Creativity
Credibility
Curiosity
Determination
Discipline
Dynamism
Effectiveness
Excitement
Excellence
Fame
Financial security
Financial gain
Freedom
Grace
Growth
Harmony
Helping others
Helping society
Honesty
Humour
Independence
Influencing others
Integrity
Intellectual status
Innovation
Joy
Justice
Knowledge
Leadership
Loyalty
Meaningful work
Monetary gain
Openness
Originality
Peace
Power
Public service
Quality
Recognition
Reputation
Resilience
Respect
Responsibility
Self-respect
Spontaneity
Stability
Status
Sustainability
Teamwork
Tolerance
Time freedom
Tranquility
Trust
Variety
Vision
Wisdom
Work/Life balance
Working alone

Word list adapted from Nesta’s Creative Enterpise Toolkit (CC-BY-SA 4.0)