The problem

In order to start a new business, you need a bank account. In order to open a bank account, you need to have a legal structure, unless the business is to be in somebody’s private name.

You also need a legal structure if you want to start owning things, employing people, entering into big commitments, and raising capital: limited liability becomes a good idea.

The problem is that this traditional approach to developing new business requires you to commit to things when you aren’t necessarily ready to do so; it doesn’t encourage innovation; it slows down the development process as you seek to negotiate everybody’s part in the venture.

Finally, it results in an enterprise which is beholden to capital, and the development of good ideas is dependent on access to capital.

The impact

Innovation is frustrated and good ideas don’t see the light of day, particularly in the context of technology.

What needs to be done quickly takes too long.

What ultimately gets developed isn’t what is most useful to the world, but what will generate the most money for investors.

In search of a solution

The traditional approach to business development has evolved to meet the needs of a competitive, market-driven economy. The dragon’s den.

But it isn’t suited to a collaborative approach, where participants want to pool their collective skills, to experiment with ideas, and do something quickly. This needs an open space where people who trust each other can work together. It’s for people who want to be paid and to pay other participants fairly; who aren’t seeking to win the jackpot but would like to benefit from success; and who want to build something valuable for themselves, their communities and future generations.

The Innovation Cooperative seeks to provide this open space.