We believe corporations play an important role in creating our future society. We also believe corporations have the potential to be regenerative and create conditions conducive to life.
The Regenerative Community Organism (RCO) is designed to connect entrepreneurial drive with purpose and community to create organisations with long-term regenerative potential.
In most parts of the world, most of our waking hours revolve around work. As a result, corporations have grown in importance and value to the point where two of the ten larges entities in the world today are companies. However, many are now calling companies’ extraction of resources for maximising profit into question.
The RCO is a path for corporations to come back into regenerative relationship with humans, our planet and all forms of life. Its flexible framework of design principles can be adapted so that your organisation and your work can support a regenerative future, creating conditions conducive to life.
The RCO was created because we believe new forms of organisations are needed to usher us into a new paradigm of long-term sustainability in our society.
The RCO connects people and business through purpose, gives organisations a natural life cycle, and distributes value fairly:
Communally Purpose Driven
Purpose is front and center and it’s held by community. The non-profit part of an RCO is a form of commons, protecting the purpose of the organisation and inviting community to govern it. Combining the commons with one or more companies sharing the same purpose, creates an ecosystem of different businesses centred around a shared purpose. The RCO is designed to accumulate financial capital over time in order to fund further work and projects aligned with the purpose.
Regenerative Life Cycle
Organisations have different needs as they grow, mature and die. The founders and initial financial investors are crucial in the early phases of a company’s life cycle, but less so as the organisation matures. Instead, partners and employees tend to play an increasingly important role over time. The RCO reflects those changes and is also designed to optimise how the organisation can eventually die and re-fertilise its surrounding ecosystem. In short, the RCO model gives the organisation a natural life cycle designed to prioritise purpose in all of its phases.
Fair Value Distribution
The RCO builds value for all its stakeholders. Initially, the limited company will use the resources to grow its business. Then as the company matures, resources will be directed into the commons (the non-profit association), allowing it to fund a growing ecosystem of companies, projects, research etc. to further the purpose in the world. Value is distributed in service of the purpose to all stakeholders, which means founders and investors can make profitable exits and the RCO can fund a purpose-driven ecosystem.
The RCO is the combination of a limited company and a commons in the form of a non-profit association, sharing the same underlying purpose.
A source code (constitution) embeds the purpose and ethical principles into the backbone of both legal entities – merging the focus, ambition and drive of limited companies with the care, community and passion of non-profit associations.
The RCO is designed to put a clearly stated purpose and ethical operating principles front and center in the form of a commons, protected by the non-profit association and its members.
The RCO creates transparency, accountability and value distribution between the non-profit association and the limited company – all in support of a shared purpose. The members of the association are invited into the governance of the company, giving them a say in key decisions.
The RCO takes the organisation’s life cycle into account, allowing it to grow, mature, change, die and subsequently re-fertilise its surrounding ecosystem – supporting other ”seeds” in the form of organisations, projects, or initiatives to sprout for a shared purpose.
Combining legal entities
The RCO consists of a limited company and a non-profit association with a shared purpose and principles – legally connected through ownership and governance rights:
The non-profit association owns a 10% stake of preferred shares in the limited company and has a right to appoint 50% of its board members. In addition, the non-profit association holds 10% of the dividends and liquidations rights in the limited company. This gives the non-profit association influence over the company and allows its members to transparently review the limited company’s operations.
The limited company is organised and run as a normal limited company, structured for its particular operations. The purpose and ethical frameworks of the limited company are written into the documents of incorporation, thereby legally binding the company and its representatives to those principles. The limited company empowers the non-profit association to hold the company accountable to its purpose, increasing the engagement and aligning the values of all stakeholders. It further commits to eventually, when financially viable, fund the shared purpose by bringing increasing value to the non-profit association from its excess financial resources.
The RCO is a synthesis, inspired by decades of work in innovative company design – including the Companisation, the Fair Shares Commons, the Regenerative Cooperative etc. It is also an innovation, weaving ecological principles into the business world.
Amit spent 12+ years as the CEO for an innovative green materials company. Nils is a serial founder of 20+ companies in various future-looking industries. When the two decided to start the company Innrwrks together with Faviana Vangelius von Heijne, they realised that the conventional tech start-up model with exponential profit-maximising growth at the cost of everything else would not allow them to build the business they wanted to build – nor contribute to the world they wanted for their kids.
Nils and Amit went on a 3-year deep dive into everything they could find, think of and dream up relating to creating regenerative organisations. After countless iterations, discussions and redesigns the RCO concept emerged.
The RCO model is an open source exploration, searching for optimal design principles for regenerative organisations. We long for the model to be tested, tried, revised, challenged and updated. So if this sparks your curiosity, get in touch and perhaps we can help facilitate your exploration.
Connect with us to learn more or start your own RCO