Originally posted here http://dna.crisp.se
The inner workings of a rather different consulting company
What is this?
This site is an open-source site describing how Crisp works and why.
Crisp is a consulting company based in Stockholm, Sweden. But we aren’t a very typical consulting company. For example:
- None of the 30+ consultants are actually employed by Crisp (although we do have a few employed office staff).
- We have no managers, not even a CEO. Instead we rely on self-organization and transparency. Almost everything is bottom-up, and anyone can drive any decision.
- Crisp’s main purpose is to enable consultants to be happy, and Crisp Happiness Index is our driving metric. Strong revenue and delighted customers are a side effect, not a goal.
- Crisp doesn’t want to earn money from its consultants. It is in practice a non-profit company (although not formally so). Consultants keep most of what they earn.
- Our ownership model is designed to keep our stock financially worthless. There is no incentive to “cash in”.
- Consultants are 100% autonomous. They can do whatever they want (as long as they don’t hurt the brand or our house), and work as much or as little as they want.
We get a lot of questions about how this works in practice, especially from other consultants looking to create something similar. After many years of experimenting we’ve converged on a model that works well, basically the sweet spot between being an independent consultant and being an employee. So we decided to open source it.
Want to start a similar org? See How to clone the Crisp DNA.
Why open-source the Crisp DNA?
- To make the world a better place! The model has helped us be happy and make a positive impact in the world, and publishing it may help others do the same.
- Open-sourcing it is a fun social experiment, we’re curious about what’s going to happen :o)
- By making our model public, we’re more likely to keep it up-to-date and improve it as we learn.
- Putting it on GitHub makes it easier for others to clone and evolve the model, and we can learn from that.
(these principles drive almost everything at Crisp)
- What is Crisp – the purpose of the company
- How Crisp works – summary of our model, and some driving principles.
- Why this works – why this model has served us so well
Core structure and practices
(although these are core to our model, they are mostly just consequences of the principles above)
- Happiness index – how do we know if we are succeeding?
- Ownership model – how do people become owners, and what ownership actually means?
- Economic model – how does money flow through the system?
- How we make decisions – how do decisions get made when there is no manager?
- Recruiting – how do new people get in?
- Communication – how do we collaborate, sync, and improve?
- Bun protocol – how do we handle customer enquiries and route to the right consultant?
- Dashboard – how do we see the big picture?
- Office team – how do we handle admin and day-to-day operations?
- Board of directors – Swedish law requires that we have a BoD. So how does the BoD at Crisp work?
- Our business – what type of work we do
- Visions – How to you get a bunch of autonomous consultants to agree on a vision? Answer: have several :o)
- Sales – how do we actually sell consultants?
- Crisp unconference – how our bi-annual unconference works
(relevant stuff, but not core to our model)
- Email conventions – how we get transparency without information overflow
- Hand signals – how do have discussions in larger groups?
- Industries that we avoid – why we avoid certain industries
- Hack summit – how we geek out together
- Crisplets – how do bottom-up initiatives get funded?
- Conflict handling – How do we make sure conflicts are constructive rather than destructive?
- Contracts – our internal contracts for Crisp membership, ownership, etc.
- Building competence – how we learn from each other and improve
- Courses and event production – how do courses and events get produced?
- Brand building – how do we build the brand, both Crisp and personal brands?