Seedbeds for democracy in the Middle East

At our two-day consumer retail conference in Stratford – hearing about the work of co-ops abroad as seedbeds of democracy. In Egypt, for example, 25 million people live in housing co-operatives, giving a base of daily democracy now wonderfully connected up to the new political openness.

Workplace democracy gives a nine per cent boost

What number would you put on workplace democracy? The answer according to this new academic paper, http://www.iza.org/index_html?lang=en&mainframe=http%3A//www.iza.org/en/webcontent/publications/papers/viewAbstract%3Fdp_id%3D5460&topSelect=publications&subSelect=papersWorkplace Democracy in the Lab, is nine.

Nine percent is the productivity uplift, or ‘effective effort’, that comes when people have a say in setting their own framework of rewards.

The cult of the heroic CEO is now badly tarnished. Anyone for a new culture of heroic teamwork?

Kiss a strawberry

I have been on a panel today at the Soil Association conference in Manchester. The best parental tip I heard was to encourage children to kiss a strawberry, as a way of getting to love their fruit and veg.

The best comment was from Peoples’ Supermarket founder Arthur, who said that “celebrity chefs think they are the gods of the stove, but they are all part of a wider food chain and if you can’t trust your food, the chef is no help.”

He was also very complimentary of Mark, at Co-operatives UK, for the help we have given – thanks, chef.

I ought to go find a strawberry, but as it is winter, I think I’ll wait…

A view from the top

My ex colleague Simon Zadek, who has been an international pioneer of corporate accountability. has posted this on our time together at the New Economics Foundation.

He notes how radical idea are now swirling around, including Davos and emails to say “Well Ed, so now talk of ecological economics, measuring happiness and the rest are mainstreamed narrative although not practice. You and others at NEF way back should be proud.” You too, Simon.

People’s Supermarket

After all that work, with four hundred members and open for trading, the co-operative People’s Supermarket is on Channel 4 http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-peoples-supermarket on Sunday nights, 8pm for four weeks.

Making a success of a cooperative enterprise can be like walking a tightrope and you forget the dramas and discount the risks when you look back. But the camera picks it all up, so expect some drama.

Well done Arthur, Kate, David and all on what you have been able to achieve so far.