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To better understand makesense, it is important to see that the current structure has developed on founding pillars. These pillars have remained in the makesense culture throughout its development, and they are an integral part of the community spirit. There are four pillars:

  1. 1. Social Business et Social Entrepreneurship
  2. 2. Open-source culture
  3. 3. Non-violent communication
  4. 4. Reinventing organizations

Social Business and Social Entrepreneurship

makesense believes in the potential of the social entrepreneurs to shape an inclusive and durable society. With their enterprises, they provide solutions to the social and environmental problems of their territories and help to design a model of society where these problems no longer exist. 

Education, social and professional integration, the fight against gender inequalities, the autonomy of elderly and disabled people, the circular economy, clean and accessible energy, sustainable mobility, eco-responsible buildings, etc. are among the many sectors in which social entrepreneurs are developing.

Social entrepreneurs, enterprises of Social and Solidarity Economy (ESS) or Social Business?

These concepts are similar with some nuances.

What they have in common: these organizational models focus on solving an unserved social and environmental problem.

This is what is most important for makesense: to identify and support entrepreneurs who are truly convinced that a more sustainable and inclusive world is possible and who are committed to developing effective, ambitious and sustainable models of organizations through their business models in particular.

Who are these social entrepreneurs?

There are now tens of thousands of them in the world – it is difficult to choose! Here are some social enterprises accompanied by makesense in France in various sectors.

RogerVoice, a mobile application to enable people who are deaf or hard of hearing to make calls.

Love your waste, a service for triage education, collection and recycling of food waste into clean energy in schools and company restaurants.

Hopaal, an ecological and responsible clothing brand.

Voxe.org, an application and chatbot to help every citizen to form their political opinion.

JIB, intelligent connected devices to enable elderly people to live with greater autonomy at home.

Eonef, a connected photovoltaic storage to bring solar energy to remote or disaster areas (conflicts, humanitarian camps, …).

Konexio, a training and recruitment service for migrants.

Wecandoo, a community of artisans who pass on their craftsmanship skills to all those who are curious.

Le Carillon, a network of solidarity businesses that offer services to the homeless.

Some additional definitions

SSE – Social and Solidarity Economy: Recognized by the French Law of July 31 2014, the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) brings together “a set of structures that seek to reconcile social utility, solidarity, economic performance and democratic governance, with the ambition of creating jobs and developing greater social cohesion.” The specificity of the SSE is its attention to the statutes of the structures and its capacity to integrate associations, cooperatives, mutual insurance companies, foundations, and since 2014, social enterprises with a commercial status. An approval is then required for commercial companies to be part of the SSE. 

Social entrepreneurship, as defined by MOUVES, emphasizes 4 principles :

1/ A social and / or environmental purpose that can be expressed in a plural way (access to healthcare, energy, housing, combating waste, long-term unemployment, promotion of short circuits, organic farming, green growth, etc.)

2/ An entrepreneurial dynamism, constantly searching for new financing and diversification of your resources.

3 / A managed profitability at the service of a social or environmental purpose.

4 / Participatory governance, involving all stakeholders.

SSE and social entrepreneurship are really similar!

Finally Social Business is a concept theorized by Mohammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has inspired makesense in many ways. This concept frames the organizational models responding to Social Business according to 7 founding principles.

1- The objective of the company is to overcome poverty or other social problems and not to maximize profit.

2- The company ensures its financial and economic viability.

3- The investors recover their investment, but no dividend is distributed.

4- When the investments are repaid, the profits remain in the company for its development.

5- The company is respectful of the environment.

6- Employees receive market salaries with above-average working conditions.

7- Do it with joy!

Beyond the concepts, remember that the social and environmental impact, its measurement and the respect of an open and shared governance are fundamental principles.

Loving is Caring

The Anglo-Saxons distinguish the term to cure, which only concerns the sick, from to care, which can concern each of us. It refers to both an attitude of empathy for the needs of others, emotional attachment and active support.

The fundamental purpose of makesense is to inspire and equip citizens, entrepreneurs and organizations to build a more inclusive and sustainable society. Striving to achieve this purpose by being insensitive to others would run counter to our DNA. Thus, at makesense we strive to:

1/ Take care of our environment and the people who live there. One of our values ​​is “Practice What You Preach”

a) As an example, our workspace, the makesense_space, aims to be closer to zero waste (recovery of second-hand furniture, composting, making tupperware available to get food from local businesses) and be the most collaborative and inclusive as possible. Our space is also a member of the Carillon network (see above) and we open our offices in Paris to homeless people so that they can have a hot drink, use toilets, connect to wifi and, especially, discuss.

b/ We have an internal Caring Team to take care of people working for makesense.

2/ To be empathetic with citizens and our partners to recognize their unique situation and to be able to support them in the best way towards this sustainable and inclusive society to which we aspire. We have positive assumptions about people, understand them as well-intentioned (in 99.9% of the cases!) and evolving in sometimes complex contexts. At makesense we consider that empathy has its place in the world of work and strive to empathize with ourselves and others to build relationships of trust. Anyone working for makesense follows an introduction to non-violent communication in order to develop empathy and:

a/ Not to judge others

b/ Stay in touch with their emotions and needs and those of others through the practice of active listening

c/ All this is done in a search for authenticity and an intention to connect with others to make life more beautiful, make the best decisions, accept and manage conflicts. Empathy is the basis for building a more inclusive society!

Shared governance

At makesense, we operate under a shared governance. This is based on a simple principle: no member of the organization has “power over” anyone else. Our intention is that everyone has the “power to do” and has the same share of responsibility.

I often hear these two reactions:

1/ “Does that mean that everyone decides everything?”

2/ “So everyone does what they want?”

The answer is of course NO because we have built together a rigorous framework explaining our rules of operation. In this way, we avoid the search for consensus and prefer other more effective decision-making methods depending on the case (decision by consent, request of opinion, etc.). One of our values ​​is “be free as much as you are responsible”, so we promote co-responsibility and trust our members to use their time in the best way!

To build this model, we were inspired in particular by the principles of sociocracy and the book “Reinventing Organizations” by Frédéric Laloux (and by the advice of a few people). So, at makesense:

1/ Everyone can be authentic and oneself, there is no need to wear a mask at work. We are confident and we trust each other.

2/ We self-manage with precise rules and processes: a foundation of strong values, decision-making processes, conflict resolution, elections without candidates, functioning in coordination circles, and so on. The idea is that power should be as decentralized as possible and above all that this system works well thanks to a balance between transparency, collaboration and efficiency.

3/ We have the motivation to be at the service of society which reflects the aspirations of the individuals who make up the collective and is destined to evolve over time (link to article fundamental purpose, etc.)

There is no pre-made recipe to set up a shared governance, it is rather a state of mind and a journey!

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