About our governance : ideas

Denis JeanteurMedolo Institute, Medolo OrganisationLeave a Comment

In this part, when I say “Medolo” alone, I mean the two Medolo organisations, Medolo Institute and Medolo cooperative.
If you are drooping in here directly please read about the Medolo hybrid organisation post and about the Fundamento.

Necessity. Responsible ventures implies shared responsibilities. Medolo aims at being a socially responsible organisation with an emphasis on transparency. Being a non (or not too) hierarchical organisation doesn’t mean nobody is responsible, but that we share the responsibility. I strongly believe that the success of flat organisational structures command a very clear sharing of responsibilities and thus a strong governance process.

Governance principle. It is essential for a governance to be founded on values. Many people make fun of principles that looks a bit naive. Do we need to set up values and rules? Do we need a vision and a mission? Do we need to forge a strange word as Fundamento?

Stating values simply, in plain words, is essential. Not only for the communication and promotion, but for the governance. The lack of fundamental shared principles leads to the multiplication of fuzzy rules everywhere and, soon, legal rules will become the management principle… and that of course is very counter productive. If the word governance has loose credibility this is partly because there is no clear links between what companies wanted to do at inception and what is done, no way to measure deviation and yet no way to change direction.

Universal venture principles. Even if we are a non-profit, a nice and cool organisation, we must face reality and take from the profit world the following principles: we aim at creating value (social value is value), we aim at efficiency and financial equilibrium. But our venture is fundamentally different from for-profits.

Sovereignty. One fundamental of capitalism is that property and sovereignty goes together: if you posses something you can dispose of it at you will. At Medolo we want to separate this two concepts. The funders, the workers, have no rights on the Medolo Community. The contributors are in fact repetitive donors. But there is no relation between what they produce and some power. It is then difficult in such organisation to measure and to judge on what is done. Whereas this link is key in pure capitalism when the investors expect the highest returns and have the power to select the right management for that purpose.

Symbolic capital. It is now current in some companies to talk about brand capital, human capital, and this is reflected somehow in the share price. Symbolic capital is the additional value (the supplement) that individuals extract by doing their work. At Medolo we can go further because we are bound to shared principles. Collaborating or working together is then even more enriching. This is the social effect of communities. Social communities create more symbolic capital.

Funders have or require some control of how money is used but this is very different from normal ventures because their funding objective must also be aligned with the Fundamento which is a more efficient measure than financial returns, provided we can elaborate something really adapted to the needs of our ‘clients’, users.

There are five actors in Medolo’s governance.

  1. The founder (Me). I bring the business plan and I personify Medolo at the beginning. I am a natural reference point but hopefully this should fade away. At the same time I am an employee and I will feel the constraint of the project realisation. My goals are: (1) to see Medolo fulfil its goal and that the Fundamento is respected; (2) to create a fun work atmosphere, a knowledge building and sharing and a very efficient team.(3) to learn new management principles and to apply them.
  2. The funders. This capital inflow doesn’t make them sovereigns, they are not paid for what their bring and don’ receive earnings. (1) They want Medolo action to be align with the Fundamento. (2) They want social value creation, efficiency and financial equilibrium.
  3. The community wants Medolo to sustain the community equilibrium and get high returns on what they brings. As they adhere to the Fundamento, they want it to be respected and firstly by Medolo.
  4. The partners. We call them companions because they have to that adhere to the Fundamento in the perimeter of collaboration with Medolo. They want Medolo to bring opportunities and funding. They require professional services and project management efficiency.
  5. The operational team wants to be recognise by the other stakeholders, they want their initiative to be efficient and (why not?) a good salary. They need an excellent work environment and a specific governance, I’ll call them Companions as well because they accept to adhere to the Fundamento.
  6. The board. It’s like a second core team. I my opinion it should be of high quality but the community and the team should prevails.

One can add other stakeholders like governments, external auditors, technical experts, etc.

Limits. Our government must set limits on the responsibilities each of these actors have. We must prevent the conflict of interests, whereas we must not avoid the conflicts of the different interests held by the different stakeholders because this is the fount of our economy of knowledge and wisdom. A true democracy.

The conflict of interest appears when someone exercise a responsibility he doesn’t have. We must therefore define the roles and define limits to each stakeholder. It’s quite a long job and we take advantage of this initial year to set up all this clean.

Original governance. When talking about governance, Medolo -the to entities and the team- is by design nor a full association, nor a full company. There is no question about choosing whereas we should govern it as a non-profit or a company. The governance must be original

Management is a consequence of governance but reciprocally, the governance inspiration comes from the constraints on the style of management. Both must be coherent and this will happen through the the strong culture, through values and mission.


  1. The Medolo governance must be original, unique. A trait.
  2. Sustainability. Medolo must evolve and grow, within the limit imposed by the transfer of responsibilities to the community.
  3. Medolo must be transparent, ethical, competent and with power equilibrium.
  4. Medolo must conform government laws and funder requirements.
  5. Medolo must be truly international.

Statutes are the document that clarify how the organisation function. Ready-made statutes are a very bad solution (that I’ll use them for Medolo initiatives) that we take time to produce something clean. This is my personal duty.

Two steps. Now you can see why we need this initial step. It is required if we want to setup an excellent governance, and an excellent governance is essential for a good management and as a consequence a good functionning.

Medolo initiatives. Soon a first non-profit “association sans but lucratif, loi de 1091” under French law with the denomiation “Medolo initiative”. The goal will be to start Medolo Institute clean.

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