Collectives are beautiful weirdos that don’t fit in to neat categories because they’re odd assemblages of the willing: those who believe sharing the work also means sharing the responsibility and the rewards as part of a fluid construct that brings people together and promotes community.
I’m a strategist, researcher and writer but I am also an anthropologist, and in between consulting with organisations and businesses with their communication needs I look into media industry structures and practices, and at present I’m fascinated with the emergence of collectives.
In this article I wanted to very briefly highlight two: Enspiral (NZ) and Enkel (Aus). Of course, there are others I would like to write about in future, such as Agora Collective and Republikken in Europe, and Pool Collective in Australia.
I know there's a lot more so please drop me a line and fill me in!
I have discovered that creative collectives sometimes ain’t creative collectives, they are run of the mill agencies that use the word collective in their branding to capture some of the good will that real collectives attract.
But the fakes are reassuring because they show how attractive the idea is, and they’re doing a good job of promoting a concept that seems likely to spread and who knows? Maybe I can help to infect YOU with the idea.
Enspiral is a New Zealand based limited liability company that functions much like a co-operative, sharing resources and governing levels of financial contribution to the collective by virtue of transparency, and a relatively informal system of self-governance. Here, the participants are able to update their level of contribution through ongoing negotiation.
From 2010 to now Enspiral have grown to include 150 contributors, and are building up a repertoire of open source software that is designed to permit this communal processes to be capably operated by the collective. Like Loomio, which facilitates decision making online, and Cobudget for collaborative budgeting.
A fascinating bunch based in Fremantle who set out to promote sustainability by creating a network of independent “changemakers” that operate as separate entities (businesses and individuals). Enkel is a registered co-operative that encourages an exotic mix of collaborants, which according to founder Adam Jorlen includes “teachers, artists, designers, builders, politicians, chefs, futurists, lawyers and students”.
I published an interview with founder Adam Jorlen you can read on the Headjam blog here in which he highlighted how driven Enkel is to generate real change, but how tough it can be to execute. He said “Sometimes I see us building new societal infrastructures / networks, which are lighter and more resilient than the systems in place today. Sometimes I just think we're nuts”.
Header Image: c/o Enkel.