about us - hipo and the cooperative
There are so few things more tedious than being in a job in which your work life is controlled by someone else or your position within your job is limited to a tiny aspect of the whole business. Personally I found working under such conditions to be frustrating in the extreme and often led me into arguments with my supervisors. The natural thing for me to do was to become my own boss and become self employed. But my own experience demanded that I not inflict the tyranny of hierarchical working structures on people who work with me, so I started researching other forms of running groups and came across workers cooperatives and participatory society.
Under a combination of a participatory society and workers coops you have a business that is run by its workers, with each worker taking part in a number of aspects of running the business. Also everyone gets paid the same regardless of the jobs that they do.
Now I very much love this idea and am working towards moving Hipo in this direction. We have a couple of stages to go before we get there, a widening of the jobs that people do and the big one being the removal of the benevolent dictator (me). The first one is an easy one to tackle and people are currently learning more aspects of the business so that they are able to confidently take on more job roles. Currently the only jobs that are not shared is the administration, financial and website ones (we are all too busy playing with chocolate). The difficult one to remove though is the benevolent dictator. Hipo is still my baby that I grew up from only a couple of hundred pounds so until I am confident in the business's cooperative procedures I am reluctant to completely relinquish control. At the moment, since April 2010 when Hipo became a cooperative, I have never needed to enforce my dictatorship upon it. A good sign for the future.
For more information on workers cooperatives I strongly recommend visiting Radical Routes website and the Welsh Coop group. For more information on Participatory Society the Project for a Participatory Society website is full of information that talks about the participatory principles within society as a whole, a fascinating read and a vision of the future that I am a huge fan of.