Cocoon Projects

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= peer governed, contributory, for-profit organization



Stelio Verzera:

"We are about 35 people, distributed over 4 countries and about 15 cities. We have a steward ownership approach and, even though for the moment Cocoon Projects is a “regular” limited liability company, we invest all of our profits both in our growth and in nurturing the wider ecosystem. We manage Cocoon with an open governance framework that we have called LiquidO, which stands for Liquid Organization. Nobody is anybody else’s boss, meaning nobody can give orders to anybody and, beyond that, we don’t use job titles, only roles. Basically you can’t trace a meaningful org chart of our company, unless you’re willing to make a very detailed one to explain the context of the roles in any given scope and moment, and then update it every week. Decisional power in our company is gained proportionally to the contribution made in the governance, through a continuous flow of small activities, in which all of us interact freely and continuously with different people on different topics. This contribution is evaluated by the other participants to each activity through an adaptive organizational dynamic that we call contribution accounting. It is not a peer-based performance assessment as it is in no way related to any business result or metric. Instead, it is a continuous flow of feedback that each of us receives any time we decide to engage ourselves in a governance activity, a feedback on how much the others have perceived value created by us. In this way, each of us can dynamically find a unique personal growth path in and through the governance of Cocoon Projects, in an iterative journey of both value creation and learning." (


Stelio Verzera:

"Part of LiquidO is a decision making toolbox that, way beyond a democratic headcount-based voting, allows us to choose how each decision is best taken. We range from single-person decision making to fully cocreational multi-step processes (and tools). We tend to use the “smallest” possible decision making effort for each decision, following a good-enough approach that prefers having feedback from reality as soon as possible over using massive energy up-front, whenever reiterating a decision making cycle based on this feedback is a viable option. Every 6 months we all gather to cocreate our focuses for the next 6 months, sharing and considering what each of us knows about our identity, context and trajectory. And then we get back to work, aligned on where to look first and to put more energy on. Every month we host a catch-up distributed meeting where to talk about how things are going in the governance, what’s happening or not happening, who’s in what, how reality is evolving. These meetings, like all of our other governance rituals, are not mandatory. You show up if you want, you contribute if you care to. You build your operational reputation in Cocoon freely and in your unique way." (


Stelio Verzera:

No Budgets

"We do not do budgets at Cocoon Projects. In fact, we believe that also budgeting is a wasteful activity in terms of time and energy. But, even worse, it hinders your ability to effectively interpret the emergent opportunities that will come, while you are intent on trying to have reality stick to your plan. Instead of creating budgets, we focus on dynamic resources allocation, which means that we use the available economic resources by real-time prioritization and decision making. Of course this is possible because of how our governance works in leveraging our collective ability to navigate complexity thanks to LiquidO. Moreover, it is made financially possible by design thanks to a flexible costs structure with a strict limit on non-billable fixed costs and an adaptive organizational dynamic dedicated to making financial management info available to the governance in real time and in the simplest form we can devise. Within this way of managing our money, we have of course also created some separated allocations, but they are dynamic. We call them “pools”, they are little stocks of money that get continuously replenished each by a different fraction of our earnings. One pool, for example, is for compensating the governance activities. Another one is for our personal growth, and each of us can use as much as it is needed for her growth activities from it. Be it a training, a travel or anything else, you can pay it using this pool without asking for permission." (

No Contracts

"When we work with our customers, we do it iteratively with a commitment to deliver actionable value at every iteration. Like most of the practices I’ve described here, we’ve done this since the very beginning. We do not do project quotations, we do not have contracts to sign. The way we mean the word “project” is a journey with a purpose. We would never trick our customers into believing that we know how that journey will go and that we are thus able to define its duration and pricing. That would be a lie, and anybody doing that is lying. The evolution of human systems is emergent. Unknown unknowns are our daily job, and humility is crucial to observe and understand identity, trajectory and context in each unique organization. Therefore, while our quotation is only for the next 1 to 3 iterations, depending on the situation, our assessment capability grows with the path already walked in each project, and after a very first iteration together we can already tell our customers how the journey looks like in terms of timing and resources needed. As for the contracts, well we believe that “no code is faster than no code”. We don’t have contracts. If a customer believes that our work is not worth paying us, we won’t ever sue them, we take the feedback, lose that money and move on. This has never happened so far, by the way. On the other hand, if your company needs us to sign your contracts to work with you, no problem in signing whatever paper your lawyers have imposed you to impose us. And this is because we trust you and our relationship with you: once again, we trust people." (