I met Antti and Juha last summer on my way to ALE. We should meet in Vantaa airport right before our flight. I had already spent several hours in the airport to that moment and fell asleep on a bench near the gate. Luckily I woke just in time to run into the airplane but I missed the meeting. It was the first (and I hope the last) time I missed the opportunity to drink beer with guys from Flowa.
Flowa is a small Finnish company with only four members these days. They started about two years ago and has been slowly earning credibility since then. They are experimenting with an interesting approach to running organisation — Flowa is #NoEmployee company. Everyone is a partner.
How does it work? Every month (or every quarter) they gather together and discuss how much money each of them needs for living. The amounts change from time to time because of many factors like vacations or large purchases. They invest the rest into marketing or whatever they find worth investing.
Trust and guts are necessary ingredients for working in this environment. At Happy Melly we use Merit Money. I remember how difficult it was to distribute hugs in the beginning. I was nervous not to hurt anyones feelings and my first distribution looked like “20, 20, 20, 18, 22”. It got much better after few times but the experience wasn’t enjoyable at the start. And we distributed only small amount of money! Open discussion about my needs for a month would have been freaking me out for at least a year.
Back to ALE, we had great discussions there over beer and stayed connected since then. I contacted Antti immediately I arranged my tour schedule. I made no mistake!
First, we went to a pub. Second, we went to another pub (now you see what this tour is all about). Third, Antti organised Reinventing Orgs meetup. There we had hot discussions why traditional organisations with strict hierarchy will struggle more in the upcoming years and what factors are important for modern organisations to flourish.
I ended up at the table with several folks from Aalto University, one of whom was an organisational researcher. Such portrait of the group shaped our discussion to more theoretical one. We even argued about if organisations exist in reality! The point was that social interactions of people recreate organisations daily. As a result we can transform organisation in just a day — we simply create a new one.
Anyway, it was fun. It surprised me how much interest in that topic people have. Frederic Laloux made a great job with his book.
I'm thankful to Antti and Ari-Pekka for amazing time and insightful talks.
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