The Laboscop: a cooperative adventure
In 2010, I decided to host my project in a cooperative of entrepreneurs. This helped in working on consulting missions. The cooperative that was my home was the the Cooperative of Activities and Employment (CAE) (Bost 2011).
This was an amazing discovery! A single company shared among 120 entrepreneurs, all going about their projects independently across a variety of fields. Entrepreneurs spanned the fields of IT, journalism, consulting, fashion design, interior design, photography, social anthropologists and so many more. We mutualize the legal, fiscal, social and accounting departments and the CAE also offers individual and collective support for the development of our economic activity. Work for yourself and succeed together!
Members of the CAE were united by the values laid out in the "Economie Sociale et Solidaire", a cornerstone of the emerging Fourth Sector.
In this cooperative, by working with people from diverse backgrounds and the resulting cross-fertilization of ideas, we developed significant insights on how to amplify interdisciplinary work.
In 2012, I met Stephanie Brule-Josso, a social anthropologist working at the CAE. We were convinced that to make sustainable way of life a reality, it needed people from very different disciplines to come together, spanning both the human and natural sciences. We dreamt aloud about the creation of an internal R&D laboratory in our cooperative. A laboratory by and for the entrepreneurs of the cooperative.
To encourage unlikely collaborations and investigate the nature of co-production of knowledge, the Laboscop® was co-created in June 2012 as a sandbox for such experiments in inter-disciplinary developments in the spirit outlined in Draperi (2011).
Coincidentally, 2012 was also the International Year of Cooperatives. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared that "Cooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility". We couldn't agree more.
In the Laboscop, we reunite a pool of skills that trigger ideas and collective projects start to emerge. On the Algonauts side, an illustrative example was a novel application of algo-based biomaterials in jewelry. For all projects, ideas have been nurtured equally by scientists and practitioners of the craft.
When I moved to California in 2014, moving away from this exciting group of people was definitely not an easy change. The Laboscop team does amazing work and this cooperative laboratory continues to grow everyday.
In 2014, it took on a larger dimension by bringing together entrepreneurs from several other CAEs in the region of Brittany in France.
This is just the beginning. To be continued...
- Bost, E. (2011). Aux entreprenants associés: la coopérative d’activités et d’emploi. Éditions Repas.
- Draperi, J. F. (2011). L'économie sociale et solidaire, une réponse à la crise?: Capitalisme, territoires et démocratie. Dunod. p. 177-198.