Enspiral is a bold experiment to create a collaborative network that helps people do meaningful work. It was founded by software developers and while we now include a diverse range of people and skills, the spirit of open source culture pervades all of our work. Our work extends from the development of distributed ways of organizing through to cultivating a culture of care. As a network of individuals we form ventures imbued with our values. We create software, campaigns, and innovative mechanisms to empower people. We prototype processes, technology, and organizational structures aligned to our mission.
At its heart Enspiral is an altruistic network based on trust that has a vibrant gift economy. When a person or company participates actively in this network they have a whole lot of amazing people and ventures who are in their corner and actively helping them succeed: We share leads and connections with each other generously. We lend each other money and invest in each others’ ventures. We promote each others’ projects at every opportunity. We share our learnings and hone our skills together. We grow a shared brand together to build a reputation greater than the sum of its parts. We help ventures find great staff and people to find great roles.
In each iteration, we strive to decentralize money, information, power, and control throughout the organization, using Enspiral-built, open-source software tools as the heart of our organizing process.
Decision-making within Enspiral strives to be transparent, non-hierarchical, and consensus-based. Anyone can propose a decision, ask questions or express their views, and within our tiered system of governance comprising members and contributors, everyone has one vote in any raised proposal.
In this way, all decisions made within Enspiral are in the interest of the collective, while still leaving space for minority concerns and constructive dissent. Our decisions are made on Loomio, an online, consensus-based decision-making tool. Loomio enables asynchronous, digital discourse, allowing individuals to participate in their free time, from any part of the world. Discussion and decisions are documented and recorded, providing the network with a living archive of past decisions for reference.
Enspiral works to open-source its values, structure, software tools, processes, and learnings via github, Loomio, Cobudget, My.Enspiral, gitbooks, and Enspiral Tales blogs.
Enspiral began in 2010. People brought in people who they knew and trusted and shared some of the same values and discontent with the way things were working within a predominantly neoliberal paradigm. They started working together on contracts, primarily software development at first, but increasingly design, behavior change, marketing, and facilitation. In late 2011 we helped develop Loomio - a tool for collaborative discussion and decision-making. In late 2012, Enspiral began working on a system for coordinating collaborative funding, which is now being developed as Cobudget. In early 2015, Enspiral began its Catalyst experiment with a team of three equal peer network process facilitators. Enspiral was named in the P2P Foundation’s “Top Ten P2P Trends of 2015” with “Inspired by Enspiral”, reflecting its growing influence on post-corporate entrepreneurial coalitions.