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Mondragon: A Symbol of Collaboration

Last month I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at a major conference at Mondragon University, in the Basque region of Spain. Mondragon is a fascinating place; home to a humanist approach to business and education founded on the principals of collaboration and mutual cooperation. As many of you know, I have been a huge advocate of the power of both over the last few years and I urge those of you interested to take an in depth look at what has been achieved in this wonderful town.


Last month I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at a major conference at Mondragon University, in the Basque region of Spain. Mondragon is a fascinating place; home to a humanist approach to business and education founded on the principals of collaboration and mutual cooperation. As many of you know, I have been a huge advocate of the power of both over the last few years and I urge those of you interested to take an in depth look at what has been achieved in this wonderful town.


The Mondragon co-operatives were started by a young Catholic priest in the 1950's and are based on a humanist concept of business, a philosophy of participation and solidarity, and a shared business culture. The culture is rooted in a shared mission and a number of principles.


The 10 Basic Co-operative Principles in which Mondragon is rooted are:

· Open Admission

· Democratic Organisation

· the Sovereignty of Labour

· Instrumental and Subordinate Nature of Capital

· Participatory Management

· Payment Solidarity

· Inter-cooperation

· Social Transformation

· Universality and Education


The culture then translates into a number of key objectives;

· Customer Focus

· Development

· Innovation

· Profitability

· People in Co-operation

· Involvement in the Community


The Mondragon Corporation operates across four sectors;

Finance; Industry; Retail; and Knowledge.


Whilst it isn’t perfect, I was so excited and intrigued by a model that has, for the most part, been incredibly successful in a global environment. Mostly though, I think it is a great way to stimulate conversation and debate about the future of our systems and structures and the importance of people at the heart of it all.


You can get more info here: http://www.mondragon-corporation.com/en/about-us/president-message/

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