The Co-operative Innovation Project: Co-operative Development Building Strong Co-operatives

The Co-operative Innovation Project

Year: 2016

Co-operative development, as an activity, has multiple players and pieces. Co-operative developers are people who provide expertise to groups looking to form a co-operative. There can be several cooperative developers, all with different capabilities and training, working at different times with a growing, developing, or operating co-op.

Robust co-operative development in rural and Aboriginal communities requires strong support from the community in which the co-op is being developed. There has to be a reason to develop a co-operative enterprise; there also must be initiative, leadership, drive, and community support.

Download the Co-operative Development Building Strong Co-operatives report

The goal of co-operative development is to build co-operatives that start strong and become resilient, functioning enterprises that work to solve members’ needs. This chapter provides some insight into what it takes to build and grow strong co-operatives. It is not comprehensive; cooperative development is a broad term that encompasses a multitude of activities. The text below offers, instead, a close-up view of what is required for successful co-operative development, from the perspective of co-op developers who have wide backgrounds and varied experience working with groups to develop and grow co-ops in western Canada.

Executive Summary
1. Co-operative Development
2. Co-operative Development with Aboriginal Communities
3. Co-operative Development in Western Canada
4. Co-operative Development Building Strong Co-operatives
5. Model of a Robust Co-operative Development Environment

Table of Contents

Introduction and Aims
What Is Co-operative Development?

Starts with Existing Co-ops
Government Support
Community Characteristics  
Community Catalyst
Commitment to Community-led Solutions
Strong Social Capacity
Vision and Identity
Other Factors
Co-operative Leadership
Commitment to Community
Shared Leadership
Working Together
Business Acumen
Shared Vision
Quiet Leadership
Project over Politics
Social Awareness
Controlled Energy
Co-operatives That Thrive
Member Engagement
Community Connection
Sector Connection
Resilience, Proximity, and Energy
Co-operative Development Culture
Co-operative Culture
Community Culture
Political Culture
Business Culture
Co-op Development Activities
Passive Co-operative Development
Active Co-operative Development