Cocoon Projects, a radically different organization

- Change Management

by Vasco Duarte

Most questions I get come down to, ‘Organizational change, how can I get it done? I often encourage people to first try new approaches on a small basis in their daily work. Celebrate successes and make their achievements visible so that the change can slowly spread. But sometimes people – or complete organizations – try something more radical. Like Cocoon Projects out of the Eternal City of Rome. I often hear from many of you that Management is the bottleneck to change. That’s why Cocoon Projects decided to do without managers. Completely!

Change or die

I asked my friend Stelio Verzera from Cocoon Projects, about it: “One day we were talking about what our perfect company would look like. So we decided to start that company.” (I like him already!) At Cocoon Projects they advise organizations on growth and organizational structures.

Cocoon Projects advises start-ups and companies that are stuck and are looking to start a change process. Stelio and his colleagues think the best way to advise them, is to show their clients exactly how it is done. “We first try things ourselves and only if it works, we tell others about it. Never the other way around.

Everybody knows what they  – and others – have contributed

The special thing about Cocoon Projects is that it is a for profit organization. One without a boss! “Our CEO doesn’t make the big decisions. We all have decision power relative to what our ‘value’ for the organization is. The board makes a backlog for the company with things that have to be done. This backlog covers everything: marketing, infrastructure and so on. People choose what they want to do and everyone evaluates their own work and that of others in the projects they work on. We take an average based on all the evaluations. That decides your value, which translates in how much money you make, but also how ‘heavy’ your voice is in the decision making process.

Ok, theoretically this sound quite good, but I’d like to know how it works in real life. “For us it works. People seem to know quite well what they have contributed, the average always comes close to what people thought themselves.

Are you good enough?

Photo @cocoonprojects

Cocoon Projects have some radical plans for the future. For instance: they want to stop doing job interviews: “Just follow the ‘Cocoon community’ through social media and you’ll find the backlog. Everyone can propose an activity, also people that don’t work for us yet. If you think you’re up to the job, you can try. If it’s good enough, you gain credits and thus; money and eventually decisional power.”

Stelio and his colleagues are enthusiastic about it. “In a system like this, the people that come close, join and stay are not afraid of their work being evaluated. And if you are good, you’ll fit right in. If you have doubts about yourself, you probably won’t like it very much.

For me, this sounds like the ideal company to work for. Do I think it’s going to work? Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised if the city of Rome is working on a new empire… What do you guys think? Would this be an organization you’d fit in?

Photo: Cristina Gottardi (Unsplash)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have you already read these?