Can Co-operative Deserts Bloom?

Who’s the conference for?
It’s for everyone who works in or supports co-ops, mutuals and community enterprises. So it’s for you if you’re a supporter, member, board member or executive of co-ops of any form (eg retail, worker, producer), Community Benefit Societies of every stripe (eg energy, retail, sports club, charitable), mutuals, Community Land Trusts, and community and social enterprises of every type. It’s also for you if you’re from the co-operative party, or a supportive Local Authority, or a co-op development organisation, or if you’re a funder or a grant maker, or just someone who wants to see more co-ops and mutuals in the world.

What’s the format?
We’ve decided this year to break the mould, and instead of the usual conference format of listening to a bunch of speakers we’ll be rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck in to some novel, engaging problem solving techniques focused on how to grow more co-ops, mutuals and community enterprises, make existing enterprises better and bigger, and particularly looking at how to make co-op deserts more fertile.

The techniques we’ll be using are delivered by Central England Co-op’s innovation team called Think: Digital. They’re refining some powerful and fun participatory problem-solving techniques that can be used by anyone to seek solutions that really focus on core problems.

Why are we doing this?
Basically, because the co-op sector has for years (decades, actually) sought solutions to increase the size of the co-op economy. Most of the research concludes what we all know the sector needs – access to finance, forming national and regional co-op development agencies, etc. The trouble is, these are top-down, long-term policy solutions that depend on political will, and nobody’s making that happen at the moment.

So we’re asking ourselves: what happens if we ignore the top down solutions (or rather, park them to one side for a moment), work with what we’ve got in the here and now, and use some novel problem solving techniques to both uncover the pinch points that prevent more co-ops forming, and get creative with the ideas that can help unblock those pinch points.

You’re welcome to join us in February!
We think the conference will work best when we’ve got a wide variety of participants, so please join us wherever you fit into the world of co-ops, mutuals and social business. Whether you’ve enjoyed Future Co-ops conferences in the past, or whether you’ve never heard of it before, you can be sure of a warm welcome, great networking, and stimulating ideas, shared with others who are passionate about the co-op solution to all things.

Early Bird prices valid until 24th December 2018.

  1. Friday night, Saturday night and Saturday day – Single room £360. EARLY BIRD £330
  2. Friday night and Saturday day – Single room £250. EARLY BIRD £215
  3. Saturday day and Saturday night – Single room £250. EARLY BIRD £215
  4. Saturday day only – £100. EARLY BIRD £90

For more information about the conference available on the website here.