In the United Kingdom, multiple tech cooperatives have organized to form CoTech, the Co-operative Technologists network. CoTech’s goal is to “create a better technology sector in the UK that focuses primarily on worker, customer and end-user needs rather than on generating private profit.”[i] Each member organization is a tech company—sometimes quite a small one—that is “owned and democratically run by its workers (and, in some cases, customers). There are no private shareholders who take money out of the company and/or direct the company’s activities.”[ii] This collective of cooperatives is governed through consensus processes using various digital platforms.
In high-value and highly competitive sectors such as the design and tech industries, workforce participation in governance presents an opportunity for broader participation in the decisions that may affect millions or billions of users. This form of democratization may also provide an antidote to some of the toxic workplace cultures for which both the design and tech industries are notorious.
[i] CoTech, “About CoTech,” accessed February 4, 2021, https://www.coops.tech/about.
[ii] CoTech, “About CoTech.” — — see also: https://www.coops.tech/ CoTech Manifesto