[El informe McKinsey on Co-operatives cuestiona las limitaciones para el crecimiento e innovación que tradicionalmente se achacan al modelo cooperativista y plantea los puntos débiles que deben afrontar para resultar competitivas a la vez que generan un modelo más sostenible social y económicamente en el largo plazo]

… McKinsey & Company released its much-heralded report McKinsey on Co-operatives on Tuesday last week (9 October) at the international cooperative summit in Quebec where their global managing director Dominic Barton arrived to deliver the findings. “The time has come for the [cooperative] model to be put forward and celebrated,” he told his audience. He called for a shift generally in business from “shareholder value to stakeholder value” and strongly criticised the short-termism of conventional business, driven by the need to produce three-monthly financial accounts for investors. “Quarterly capitalism does not lead to good results. The short term pressure is toxic”

… study begins by challenging the widely held view that co-operatives grow more slowly than their plc competitors. The data published by the firm suggests that co-ops’ growth rates are comparable to those in other forms of business, although McKinsey says that the way growth is achieved is different, being primarily focused on their members’ current needs than on developing new markets: “Based on our analysis, we see two primary growth opportunities for co-operatives.

First, co-ops should play to their natural strengths and continue to pursue market-share gains by delivering a unique member and customer experience. The other big growth opportunity for co-ops, and probably the one with the most potential, is to more actively pursue opportunities in fast-growing adjacent markets,” the report claims.

… coops achieve success in employee mobilisation behind a ‘sense of higher purpose’, and it produces a set of data from north American co-operative banks which show higher levels of customer satisfaction compared with conventional banks … co-operatives in general suffer when it comes to ‘organisational agility’ – or in other words that they move more slowly when it comes to addressing problems or taking up new opportunities: “Part of this is attributable to less effective performance-management systems and part is – according to our interviews – due to the naturally slower pace of democratic decision-making processes” 

… El concepto de adhocracia fue creado en 1964 por los pensadores Warren G. Bennis y Philip E. Slater para intentar describir un nuevo modelo de organización flexible, intuitiva e innovadora. Incluso ya había existido durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial un prototipo de organización del futuro concepto de adhocracia: los equipos ad hoc (aquí y ahora) que los ejércitos montaban y disolvían después de terminar una misión específica y transitoria. Pero fue durante el poshippismo de los años setenta cuando el concepto de adhocracia maduró gracias a pensadores como Henry Mintzberg o Alvin Toffler. Ambos desconfiaban del mundo vertical. De las soluciones cuadradas. De los expertos endogámicos. Del farragoso aparato de las organizaciones grandes. De los gobiernos. De las burocracias. Y por eso se esforzaron en crear un imaginario de adhocracia, un cuerpo teórico de organización flexible, multidisciplinar y dinámica.

¿Qué conexión improbable necesita una organización para dejar de ser burocrática? ¿Encajan los nuevos modelos de organización surgidos en un mundo altamente digitalizado con las definiciones clásicas de adhocracia? ¿Qué organigrama tendría una adhocracia perfecta? Henry Jenkins, en su ya clásico libro Convergencia cultural (2006), calificaba la adhocracia de la siguiente manera: “Se caracteriza por la falta de jerarquía. Cada persona se enfrenta a un problema basado en sus propios conocimientos y habilidades, y el liderato cambia según va evolucionando el proyecto. Es una cultura que convierte el conocimiento en acción”. Lo estático, en palabras de Jenkins, pasa a ser una constante “tensión dinámica”…

… is a shift towards localism, allowing communities to shape their own future. It is about small scale activity as opposed to those on a national or global scale, on everything from food and energy production to politics. Again this trend is not specific to the UK but finds resonance in other parts of Europe and North America. Taken together, localism and regionalism form part of a powerful countercurrent to globalisation. In the UK however, the  debate about the government’s Localism Bill has been soured by the suspicion that, for all the proposals to devolve power to communities and local authorities, the bill is no more than a Trojan horse for a hidden agenda of economic growth at any cost, unfettered by planning regulations or community consultation.

It is these trends which combine to allow the emergence of new forms of civic activity using the internet as both an organising tool and a means by which skills, information and ideas are shared and spread rapidly. There are four examples that are worth looking at. Others can probably add to the list. 

[1] The first is the spread of what are called ‘hyperlocal websites’, citizen run websites where news, views and issues are aired and discussed. … three well established neighbourhood web sites Brockely CentralEast Dulwich Forum and Harringay Online. All of them, with their mix of news, blogs and discussion forums reflect the interests and concerns of local people. People are free to publish content on any subject unmediated by the filtering effects of commercial newspapers …

[2] The second example is the creation of online resources such as OpenlyLocal andMySociety which are driving forward more open, accountable government

[3] A third example is online sites which are repositories of spreadsheet data. These have grown exponentially as the result of the push for open data. Two of the best known ones are Guardian Data Blog and Google Public data and both hold a range of data on everything from child poverty to school league tables. This data has been pulled from sites such as data.gov.uk  or Eurostat and turned into simple powerful visualisations such as heat maps, bar charts or pie charts …

[4] Finally there are the peer learning networks and training organisations to which community activists can turn for help and resources. Our Society is an online peer learning network where you can set up a profile to say a bit about yourself and join working groups that usually focused around a particular theme such as community organising, localism or sustainability.   But for many community activists unfamiliar with the interne, there is now a growing range of hands-on support and training  offered by organisations such as  Networked NeighbourhoodsTalk About LocalPodnosh and Social Reporter to name but a few …

While representative democracy remains central to our state institutions it needs to be complimented by more open government at the local level which allows people a direct say in both the decisions that shape their lives - and the means by which they are carried out. It is this prospect offered by the internet and social media tools in particular - and the contours of this new landscape are already evident.  

Nor is there any let up in momentum. These technologies are barely ten years old and are accompanied by the spread of cheap broadband and free wifi. The digital divide still means that significant numbers of people in our most deprived communities don’t have access to a computer at home; but  smart-phone technology is beginning to fill the gaps. Technological advancement and the open data movement combined with the localism agenda, have created too great a momentum to be knocked off course by the heated contention about the present government’s approach. These are paradigm shifts that are bigger than any political party and will outlast this government and the next …

… Hay que situar la emancipación desde una perspectiva espacial que implica pensar “desde abajo” y desde una perspectiva temporal que pone en primer plano la tendencia que aspira a que todo aquello común, que hoy sólo compartimos a un nivel virtual y técnico, se convierta en algo actual y político. Y para esto hay que pensar, como experimento, las figuras actuales de la subjetividad.

La primera es la del hombre endeudado, aquel trabajador precario que queda preso del crédito casi de por vida, reducido a una suerte de servidumbre por deudas. A esto corresponde la “renta” del capitalismo actual y la resistencia es decir “no pago”, como una forma multitudinaria del rechazo y, a la vez, de apropiación de la riqueza común. Luego, el hombre mediatizado, que reemplaza a la vieja noción de alienación para dar cuenta del sometimiento a los dispositivos de comunicación, que esconden la inteligencia humana, la verdad común de la comunicación, bajo formas nuevas de control. En tercer lugar, el hombre asegurado es aquel obsesionado por la seguridad de su propiedad, por el riesgo de su vida, por el miedo a la pobreza. Finalmente, el hombre representado, que podemos decir que es el núcleo del problema de la emancipación.

OCCUPY WALL STREET is not only a mass protest movement intended to draw attention to economic injustice and political corruption. It seeks to embody and thereby to demonstrate the feasibility of certain ideals of participatory democracy. This is, to my mind, what makes OWS so interesting, and so unlike a tea-party protest. OWS is not simply a group of like-minded people gathered together to make a point with a show of collective force, though it is that. The difference is that it has developed into an ongoing micro-society with a micro-government that directly exemplifies a principled alternative to the prevailing American order. The complaint that OWS has failed to produce a coherent list of demands seems to me to miss much of the point of the encampment in Zuccotti Park. The demand is a society more like the little one OWS protestors have mocked up in the park. The mode of governance is the message …

There is a great deal wrong with American governance, and not only within government. I think that the concentrated management and diffuse ownership of public corporations has left a relatively small numbers of corporate managers with insufficiently checked control over trillions of other people’s property. And I think that the relatively unchecked power of government to make or break fortunes has made it more or less inevitable that corporations would in time end up writing their own regulations to their own advantage. Occupy Wall Street is a great boon to the extent that it helps draw attention and build effective opposition to the unjust mechanisms of upward redistribution and to the many flaws in our political economy responsible for the disproportionate influence of the wealthy and powerful over the rules that profoundly affect us all. However, insofar as OWS is meant to persuade Americans to adopt a wholly different and better way to live with one another, it is bound to fail. Even if consensus-based, leaderless participatory democracy could work on a grand scale, Americans aren’t interested. And face it: sooner or later, Brookfield Properties is going to get it’s park back. So for those deeply committed to realising a lasting community governed by the ideals of OWS, let me recommend a seastead.

Álvaro Vicente Ramírez-Alujas. Sobre la aplicación y desarrollo del concepto de innovación en el sector público: Estado del arte, alcances y perspectivas. Circunstancia. Año IX - Nº 26 - Septiembre 2011 (Fundación Ortega-Marañón)

Resumen. Una frecuente y peligrosa confusión respecto a la innovación es la creencia de que se trata de una nueva moda propiciada por los expertos del management. Ello definitivamente no es así. La innovación es un principio fundamental y universal de supervivencia de cualquier sistema. La innovación no es más que el proceso a través del cual los sistemas –ya sean biológicos, productivos, sociales, políticos u otros- mantienen la congruencia con el entorno que los hace posibles (Vignolo, Ramírez y Vergara, 2010). Lo anterior, en la práctica, se ve reflejado de distintas formas y adquiere modalidades diversas en las organizaciones: mejoras incrementales en la prestación de servicios; nuevas formas de organización y/o nuevas formas de incentivar o recompensar a los actores; rediseño de procesos y “reinvención”; nuevas formas de gestión y comunicación; cambios radicales en los modelos de negocio y en la incorporación de tecnología; etc. (Mulgan, 2007). Es por todo ello necesario indagar sobre los niveles de avance que la innovación ha presentado en el sector público en los últimos años y si es factible lograr acuñar una nomenclatura y marco de referencia propio que potencie el mejoramiento de nuestras instituciones públicas.

Resumen: El término de Gobierno Abierto no es nada nuevo. A fines de los años ´70 del siglo XX, apareció por primera vez en el espacio político británico y en su concepción original trataba diversas cuestiones relacionadas con el secreto de gobierno e iniciativas para “abrir las ventanas” del sector público hacia el escrutinio ciudadano, con el objeto de reducir la opacidad burocrática (Chapman y Hunt, 1987). En la actualidad, se ha posicionado como un nuevo eje articulador de los esfuerzos por mejorar las capacidades del gobierno y modernizar las administraciones públicas (OCDE, 2010) bajo los principios de la transparencia y apertura, la participación y la colaboración. Por ello y dada la escasez relativa de trabajos de investigación y estudios aplicados sobre el tema, la ponencia presenta una síntesis y un análisis histórico de la evolución del concepto, en clave política y tecnológica, para luego contextualizarlo en su vinculación a los medios que le han servido de plataforma de reconfiguración, en el camino a transformarse en el nuevo paradigma (o modelo) de gobernanza abierta y colaborativa que contribuya a mejorar los sistemas democráticos y potenciar un nuevo contrato social: el fenómeno de la Web 2.0 (O´Reilly, 2004; Noveck, 2009), el Estado Red (Castells, 2009; Eggers y Goldsmith, 2004) y el uso intensivo de las tecnologías, redes sociales y capital social (Calderón y Lorenzo, 2010; Lathrop y Ruma, 2010; Shirky, 2011; Tapscott, 2011). Finalmente, se presenta una matriz de análisis comparado a partir de las experiencias pioneras y casos emblemáticos (Obama, 2009; Cabinet Office, 2010; Irekia, 2010), para cerrar identificando los desafíos y posibles líneas de acción y estrategias que sustenten su aplicación y desarrollo a futuro.

Synopsis: What do Wikipedia, Zip Car’s business model, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and a small group of lobster fishermen have in common? They all show the power and promise of human cooperation in transforming our businesses, our government, and our society at large. Because today, when the costs of collaborating are lower than ever before, there are no limits to what we can achieve by working together.

For centuries, we as a society have operated according to a very unflattering view of human nature:  that, humans are universally and inherently selfish creatures. As a result, our most deeply entrenched social structures – our top-down business models, our punitive legal systems, our market-based approaches to everything from education reform to environmental regulation - have been built on the premise that humans are driven only by self interest, programmed to respond only to the invisible hand of the free markets or the iron fist of a controlling government.
In the last decade, however, this fallacy has finally begun to unravel, as hundreds of studies conducted across dozens of cultures have found that most people will act far more cooperatively than previously believed.  Here, Harvard University Professor Yochai Benkler draws on cutting-edge findings from neuroscience, economics, sociology, evolutionary biology, political science, and a wealth of real world examples to debunk this long-held myth and reveal how we can harness the power of human cooperation to improve business processes, design smarter technology, reform our economic systems, maximize volunteer contributions to science, reduce crime, improve the efficacy of civic movements, and more. 
For example, he describes how:

  • By building on countless voluntary contributions, open-source software communities have developed some of the most important infrastructure on which the World Wide Web runs
  • Experiments with pay-as-you-wish pricing in the music industry reveal that fans will voluntarily pay far more for their favorite music than economic models would ever predict
  • Many self-regulating communities, from the lobster fishermen of Maine to farmers in Spain, live within self-regulating system for sharing and allocating communal resources
  • Despite recent setbacks, Toyota’s collaborative shop-floor, supply chain, and management structure contributed to its meteoric rise above its American counterparts for over a quarter century. 
  • Police precincts across the nation have managed to reduce crime in tough neighborhoods through collaborative, trust-based, community partnerships.

Last month, three leading thinkers on smart cities (and regular ones too) expressed concerns about issues of digital inclusion and citizen-technology dynamics. Saskia Sassen wrote about the need to ‘urbanise the technology,’ Anthony Townsend discussed the absence of the urban poor from smart city visions and Adam Greenfield asserted the need to have rights over ‘public objects’

Rodgers, C. P, E. A Straughton, A. J. L Winchester, and M Pieraccini (eds.) 2011. Contested Common Land: Environmental Governance Past and Present. London: Earthscan.

Reviewed by Tine de Moor

The book Contested Common Land is the result of an interdisciplinary research project (2007–2010) but contrary to many joint publications that such projects deliver, with articles written by various authors, this book is a real common publication. In many other ways, this is a unique publication, that connects the vast historical literature on commons to the present-day situation of commons in England and Wales. This book is a fine example of true interdisciplinary research, within a wide time frame, although the geographical scope is fairly limited (England and Wales). The book consists out of two main parts: an introductory part which gives a very clear overview of the situation of common land in England and Wales in both past and present and the theoretical framework – largely based upon Ostrom’s work – to understand the institutional diversity the various types of commons in England and Wales represent. A second part is composed out of four studies on geographically distinct cases (situated in Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Powys and Norfolk), with differing types of resource use, legal arrangements and environmental problems, which should help to understand how environmental governance on a national level affects commons on the local level and at the same time they try to trace how governance mechanisms used at the local level since the 17th century reflect changing concepts of sustainability.

One of the remarkable sides of this book is that the authors manage to explain the long-term evolution of the complex legal structure, and connect this with both the ecological changes the commons have gone through and the changes in use of the common resources over the past 3 centuries. Parallel to this they sketch the changes in the perception of common rights, in relation to new functions – e.g. from agricultural to recreational in the late 19th century. The historical descriptions form a solid basis for the evaluation of the present-day management and future perspectives that are given for each case study. In a last summarizing chapter they bring the case-study material and theory back together. Contested common land is a very solid study on commons in England and Wales, that should serve as the starting point for commons scholars and practitioners in England, Wales and the rest of Europe. The only “missed” opportunity in this book is the potential such comparison would give in terms of more systematic analysis of regulation, but that might be something for a “contested common land, vol. 2.”


Todo esto participa de una estrategia político-territorial basada en la posibilidad de que las infraestructuras de producción y distribución energética, las de movilidad e incluso las de interacción social y comunicación (todas ellas pensadas como superestructuras de gran escala gobernadas a nivel nacional) vertebren de manera aparentemente neutral un territorio, trasladando la diferencia, las disputas y la evolución temporal a fragmentos urbanos blandos, más económicos y con una gobernanza más próxima al usuario. Permitiendo, como en el caso de Tokaido, que los tejidos fragmentados se acoplen a una serie de infraestructuras proveedoras de un programa de servicios optimizado y permanente.

Estas construcciones territoriales han venido asociadas a cotidianidades marcadas por la segregación física, generacional y relacional entre aquellos ciudadanos laboralmente activos que, desplazándose, combinan su domesticidad suburbial con una vida colectiva que los expone a las relaciones y formaciones del mundo profesional; y una masa de población infantil, adolescente, enferma, discapacitada, desempleada y/o de mayores que desarrolla su día a día en entornos locales, con poca participación en la vida megaurbana.


Este urbanismo también contiene formas específicas de ciudadanía, de gobierno y de construcción territorial. Si la electrificación nuclear se caracteriza por la precariedad crítica con que lo energético queda imbricado en el mundo ordinario, uno de los principios de las ecoaldeas es que cada individuo asuma la responsabilidad sobre el diseño, construcción y evaluación de su medio, tomando conciencia de la productividad de sus equipos y adaptando sus consumos a los recursos disponibles en proximidad. Para promover esta toma de conciencia se han desarrollado dispositivos arquitectónicos específicos, como los centros de formación: espacios comunitarios de pequeño tamaño construidos para dar cabida a un programan pedagógico y, en cierta medida, propagandístico,

Su gobierno busca instalar la acción política y la gestión del conflicto en la escala de las relaciones de vecindad, lo que en muchos casos ralentiza la toma de decisiones e incluso bloquea numerosos proyectos de transformación. Tampoco debe olvidarse que, pese a que existen redes internacionales que permiten que organizaciones urbanas tan pequeñas puedan ganar complementariedad en la asociación, como la Global Ecovillage Network o la Red Ibérica de Ecoaldeas, a día de hoy, las formas de vida que se dan en estos entornos siguen dependiendo de las prestaciones que proporcionan contextos urbanos y productivos como el de Tokaido.

It’s 2030. Governments are poor and in hock to big banks. The urban poor and the impoverished urban middle classes in rich countries have had to scramble to survive . Bit by bit they have inserted a self-made urban political economy into the larger national/global economy of their countries. It is partial, but it works. Since it deals with the basics and with what people on their own can actually do, across the world these urban political economies are quite similar. They all have such basics as urban farming and small credit-unions. Skill-exchanges, rather than stock-exchanges, and repairing rather than replacing with new products, are also basic features. When feasible, furniture and other essentials are fabricated or grown in the city and its region–no more unnecessary shipping that benefitted mostly the intermediaries and their lawyers and financiers. The rest of goods come through fair-trade networks, another self-made political economy connecting production sites with neighborhoods and cities. They also have had to take over some basic public services, such as garbage collection/recycling and develop home-based healthcare in the neighborhoods – they had to do something since local governments are so poor that they have had to cut all except advanced hospital care.

People rotate just about everything—including daily cooking – at whatever level works – a cluster of homes, the block, the neighborhood. People need each other to make it all viable. Artists and musicians are everywhere — part of the urban fabric and a bridge to the finer experiences in life. Trust, reliability, exchange and collectivity are the key. Nobody is rich, and we are still highly imperfect beings, but it all works…. Actually….we don’t need to wait until our governments are even poorer and more in-hoc

ICTlogy: Open data and social media government

Andrea DiMaio writes — Why Do Governments Separate Open Data and Social Media Strategies?— about the need to merge open data strategies and social media strategies. He there complains about open data and social media strategies being treated as independent ones, which he believes to be actually related one to the other one.
I not only believe they should go altogether and hand in hand, but that their interaction defines different ways of understanding government or education. It always helps me to draw things and see what see what comes out of it …

ICTlogy: Open data and social media government

Andrea DiMaio writes — Why Do Governments Separate Open Data and Social Media Strategies?— about the need to merge open data strategies and social media strategies. He there complains about open data and social media strategies being treated as independent ones, which he believes to be actually related one to the other one.

I not only believe they should go altogether and hand in hand, but that their interaction defines different ways of understanding government or education. It always helps me to draw things and see what see what comes out of it …