Unbundling Enspiral — part 3 of 3: Platform
Enspiral is a place to stand and take risks without fear.
To act without fear is a powerful thing. When you know a group of people have your back you can extend yourself further than you normally would and attempt things you never before would have thought possible.
Imagine a world where we are not racing the planet to extinction — and each generation can work to leave the world cleaner, stronger, healthier and more peaceful than the last. Where our economies thrive and work to make us more prosperous and more equal — and our sense of progress does not come at the cost of the planet we live on, or people born into situations they cannot control.
We might not be able to solve all of these things in the next few lifetimes — but I think if we try, we’ll end up building civilisation in a better way.
Aside from the place to earn a livelihood with aligned friends, Enspiral is a supportive platform to think and act radically.
The level of collective ambition in the network is dent-the-multiverse-cosmic. This positive pressure is a source of energy, inspiration and opportunity. It provides a challenge to think and act systemically. It’s a context from within anything feels possible — or at least worth an experiment. It’s a platform for radical experiments.
From my corner of the network, a couple of the more prominent experiments being put into action are:
Experiment 1: Fixing the bugs in capitalism.
Depending on how you look at it, capitalism is the rocket ship that is lifting humanity from poverty and taking us into the galaxy, or it’s the hyper-extractive super vampire that is tearing us apart and will destroy us.
One thing is for sure. There are bugs in the system.
We have a capitalist system that enables some people to have super yachts funded by tax evasion and keeps others in poverty traps. We have a system that has created giant, poison, floating islands of plastic ‘externalities’ in the oceans that no one is accountable for. We have a capitalism that gears business outputs towards infinite growth yielding infinite returns from a finite resource base.
Capitalism is due for significant upgrade and Enspiral is contributing to the fixing some of the bugs.
- Joshua Vial has written a great framing to the capped returns experiment here.
- Loomio have put some of this thinking into action in their last capital raise.
Experiment 2: A catalyst for better forms of organising.
Equality is a core cultural principle of the Enspiral network. We have built and continue to build this network standing and working together as equals and designing processes and structures away from centralising power with a few people.
The network does not have a “management team” and leadership is open to everyone. It’s is a difficult theory to action of course, and we have it far from perfect, but conscious energy is being invested in the processes, infrastructure and culture to enable power to be shared to maximise collective benefit.
This isn’t just to be different. This is about engaging the best people in the best way. It is about celebrating strengths and creating organising structures where people thrive. Where, god forbid, people are happy at work in structures that work for them.
The commercial fruits from this type of non-hierarchy based organising are well known:
- Deep levels of engagement and commitment from very capable people.
- High levels of innovation beyond the limitations of top down design or control.
It’s starting to work for us. Over 5ish years one small collective of individuals has become a collective of companies led by a vibrant, growing community, co-holding and co-investing in something that is much, much more resilient than a structure held together by employment contracts and pay checks.
This experimentation goes deeper than just increasing loyalty and innovation. This is work to optimise away from the corrupting influence of ego. Our world has more than enough ego standing on podiums and centralisation of power. We need less of it. We need smarter organising structures that optimise away from it.
A leading champion and doer in this work for Enspiral has been Alanna Krause. Her write up about ‘Full Circle Leadership’ illustrates much of the learning from the core of this experiment.
That’s all great. So, what’s the point?
What good is a networked set of companies and a fiery, ambitious community with big, crazy ideas?
Why invest time and money in Enspiral like interventions? What hope is there to have any impact on deep systemic issues like runaway climate change, poverty or inequality from this weird mix of startup business, tech and love-fuelled activism? What can we hope to achieve?
Direction: Scale like a virus.
In my opinion success won’t come by making Enspiral huge global force, dominating markets, sucking in talent with massively profitable companies (although, many people are definitely working on that). I think the way Enspiral can change the world in the most scalable and impactful way is 3 fold.
- Building great companies.
Putting the structure, the community and the platform for experimenting to good use by doing what we set out to do from the very start. Build livelihoods that have a systemically positive impact on people and the planet. Some people call it Social Enterprise. I call it building great companies and leading by example. After 5ish years, we’re off to a pretty good start.
- Sharing our systems.
If we can achieve 1. and prove ways of funding, founding and growing companies that can attract smarter people, who work harder, driven by purpose to outcompete existing structures then we should share the way those systems work. If we can share ‘organising DNA’ so others can learn and copy and be competitive in their markets we might have a chance at contributing to significant improvements in business structures and hopefully — fixing the bugs in capitalism.
- Telling our stories.
Stories are powerful signals — to clarify, to reinforce and to share what works and what doesn’t. There are already many stories of ‘Enspiral work’ to tell and many angles from which to tell them. We’re building capacity to be able to connect our work with more people.