I came into work this morning (albeit a bit late from oversleeping) with a bounce in my step. There is nothing quite like spending time with a bunch of people who share your vision for the future.
Yes it is that time of year, Future Co-operatives 2010 where advocates of co-operation get together and talk about the future of the movement and what it will look like.
As usual most of the serious work took place on the Friday with meetings of the worker co-operative council and co-operative development network. There was also a worker co-operative open forum (some of this discussion I will cover in a future blog). The most serious work of the weekend took place in the in the Bar. I chance Inever miss to talk to members and improve my knowledge of the sector...
On the Saturday Ed Mayo (Secretary General, Co-operatives UK) gave a thought provoking speech on the case for co-operation. How it is part of our human nature to share, work together and yes, co-operate. He spoke too about the state of the economy, society in general and how there is an alternative to the current situation.
How our challenge as co-operatives are to be that alternative; to evidence and argue that co-operation and co-operative business works and can create a more equal and sustainable future.
Sion Whellens (Calvert's) ran a session on Principle 6 and the power of co-operating in business. How our ability to use each others networks, increase all our business opportunities is under utilised (something I have talked about before in my blog). A great example of this in action: one delegate as part of their 60 sec pitch requested an introduction to a permanent secretary in a Government ministry, amazingly someone was able to deliver.
Vivian Woodell (Chief Executive, Phone Co-op) ran a session on developing a successful affinity scheme. The Phone Co-op offers a deal where co-operatives and organisation that promote their services get a share of the resulting sale. Co-operatives UK takes part in this scheme, (we pass on this share direct to our member resulting in a 6% discount on phone calls) members offers .
The Co-operative Group launched www.hive.coop a website for members to socialise and talk about co-operatives (yes I've already created a worker co-operative group, can you find it?).
The Saturday finished off with a Q&A's panel session chaired by Jo White. The event was great and gave me renewed focus in my work.
I was left however with the feeling that it could have been bigger and involved a wider audience: Housing Co-operatives, Credit Unions, employee owned businessed and others interested in creating a better world through co-operation.
This event seems to have grown every year, I am already looking forward to next year and hope you will be there too.