Our Principles

We seek to practice the following principles in everything we do:

The International Principles of Cooperation

As agreed by the International Cooperative Alliance

1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control

Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4th Principle: Autonomy and Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter to agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5th Principle: Education, Training and Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6th Principle: Co-operation among Co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7th Principle: Concern for Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

Sociocratic Principles

From the Wikipedia article:

Decision Making on Policy Issues by Consent. Decisions are made when there are no remaining “paramount objections”, that is, when there is informed consent from all participants. Objections must be reasoned and argued and based on the ability of the objector to work productively toward the goals of the organization. All policy decisions are made by consent although the group may by consent decide to use another decision-making method. Within these policies, day-to-day operational decisions are normally made in the traditional manner.

Organizing in Circles. The sociocratic organization is composed of a hierarchy of semiautonomous circles. This hierarchy, however, does not constitute a power structure as autocratic hierarchies do. Each circle has the responsibility to execute, measure, and control its own processes in achieving its goals. It governs a specific domain of responsibility within the policies of the larger organization. Circles are also responsible for their own development and for each member’s development. Often called “integral education,” the circle and its members are expected to determine what they need to know to remain competitive in their field and to reach the goals of their circle.

Double-Linking. Circles are connected to the next higher circle by a double link composed of the operational leader and a circle representative. These two linkages function as full members in the decision-making of both their circle and the next higher circle. The operational leader of a circle is selected by the next higher circle and represents the larger organization in the circle’s decision-making. A representative is selected by the circle to represent the circle interests in the next higher circle.

At the highest level of the organization, there is a “top circle”, similar to a Board of Directors, that connects the organization to its environment. Typically these members include representatives with expertise in law, government, finance (including investors), community, and the organization’s mission. The top circle also includes the CEO and at least one representative of the general management circle. Each of these circle members participate fully in decision-making in the top circle.

Elections by Consent. Individuals are elected to roles and responsibilities in open discussion using the same consent criteria used for other policy decisions. Members of the circle nominate themselves or other members of the circle and present reasons for their choice. After discussion, people can (and often do) change their nominations, and the discussion leader will suggest the election of the person for whom there are the strongest arguments. Circle members may object and there is further discussion. For a role that many people might fill, this discussion may continue for a few rounds. For others, this process is short when fewer people are qualified for the task. The circle may also decide to choose someone who is not a current member of the circle.

Four Powers of Integrity

Every living system organises itself in relationship to its environment.  A healthy (or “resilient”) system is whole within itself and connected to its environment.  This wholeness and connection can also be called “Integrity”.  There are four ways in which a system can self-organise.  Although these four ways show up in every living system (from bacterium to biosphere), for a human being they are four skillful ways of being that are useful in every interaction and form the foundation of a happy and creatively powerful life.  We call these the “Four Powers of Integrity”.  [from the work of Nathaniel Whitestone, based on the work of Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, John Gottman, Michael Thompson, Fred and Merrell Emery, and many others.]

Appreciative Awareness

“I pay attention to myself and others in a way that generates pleasure and positive change.”

When to Shift
When you notice yourself criticizing, feeling entitled, contemptuous, or being unaware of thoughts, feelings, or the world around you…

How to Shift
Pay attention to yourself, then the world around you, then repeat.
Get curious: genuinely wonder about what you are noticing.
Enjoy: find a way to enjoy paying attention to what you notice.

Authentic Communication

“I communicate honestly, and I listen for the truth of those around me — their words, their feelings, and what they most want.”

When to Shift
When you notice yourself withholding, stonewalling, lying, or not seeing the truth in others’ communications.

How to Shift
Tell the truth about your experience — “I am noticing… I am feeling… I am thinking…”
Listen for what someone is saying, and repeat back the truth you think you hear.  If they say “no, that’s not it”, try again.

Creative Responsibility

“I own the results of my actions and focus on creating what I want”

When to Shift
When you notice yourself blaming yourself or others, getting defensive, feeling burdened, or thinking that you cannot get what you want.

How to Shift
Change your posture.  Breathe into your belly.  Keep moving.  Ask yourself these questions: “Is this situation familiar? How have I created this situation? What do I most want here? How can I create what I want? When will I try this experiment?”  Then experiment.

Impeccable Agreements

“I ask for agreements that I want, consider agreements made when you and I say a full-body ‘yes’, and complete my agreements by keeping them or consciously changing them.”

When to Shift
When you notice yourself complaining, breaking agreements, or when you are not getting what you expect.

How to Shift
Acknowledge any broken agreement, and what you did to produce it (making an unclear agreement, ignoring a signal that you or they were not going to complete, etc.).  Do what you need to in order to clean up the results. Make a new agreement that you want, you will keep, and you believe others will keep with you.

Earth Charter

From the Wikipedia article. The full original Earth Charter can be found here.
The four pillars and sixteen principles of the Earth Charter are:

I. Respect and Care for the Community of Life

1. Respect Earth and life in all its diversity.
2. Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love.
3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable and peaceful.
4. Secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations.

II. Ecological Integrity

5. Protect and restore the integrity of Earth’s ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life.
6. Prevent harm as the best method of environmental protection and, when knowledge is limited, apply a precautionary approach.
7. Adopt patterns of production, consumption and reproduction that safeguard Earth’s regenerative capacities, human rights and community well-being.
8. Advance the study of ecological sustainability and promote the open exchange and wide application of the knowledge acquired.

III. Social and Economic Justice

9. Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social and environmental imperative.
10. Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.

a. Promote the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations.
b. Enhance the intellectual, financial, technical, and social resources of developing nations, and relieve them of onerous international debt.
c. Ensure that all trade supports sustainable resource use, environmental protection, and progressive labor standards.
d. Require multinational corporations and international financial organizations to act transparently in the public good, and hold them accountable for the consequences of their activities.
11. Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, health care and economic opportunity.
12. Uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health and spiritual well-being, with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.

IV. Democracy, Nonviolence, and Peace

13. Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision-making, and access to justice.
14. Integrate into formal education and lifelong learning the knowledge, values and skills needed for a sustainable way of life.
15. Treat all living beings with respect and consideration.
16. Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence and peace.

Agile Manifesto

From the original Agile Software Development Manifesto page.

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

Permaculture Design Principles

From the Wikipedia article:

These restatements of the principles of permaculture appear in Holmgren’s Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability; also see permacultureprinciples.com;

  1. Observe and interact – By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy – By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield – Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback – We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services – Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behaviour and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste – By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details – By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate – By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions – Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity – Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal – The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change – We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.