Launch of Global Cooperative

12 organisations create the first global not-for-profit cooperative Citizen Network Osk.

Release | 24.10.22

We have launched the first global not-for-profit cooperative to create a new wave of citizenship.

Citizen Network Cooperative connects people and groups all over the world to address shared problems together.

Started in 2016 Citizen Network has already played a critical role in supporting waves of citizen-based innovations: developed the UBI Lab Network to press for Universal Basic Income to tackle poverty and job insecurity; created the Neighbourhood Democracy Movement to enable direct democracy at a local level; promoting Self-Directed Support to transform social care and put disabled people in charge of their own lives; and creating festivals of citizenship in Sheffield, Glasgow, Helsinki and Los Angeles.

Citizen Network already connects over 1,000 active citizens in 34 different countries and 246 diverse groups and organisations.

Now, on United Nations Day, 24th October 2022 Citizen Network is taking the next step in its development in order to strengthen and deepen its work.

12 organisations have come together to create Citizen Network Coop (Citizen Network Osk), the world’s first global not-for-profit cooperative.

This will create a sustainable foundation to support its community of active citizens and to create a world where everyone matters.

Why does Citizen Network exist?

Citizen Network was created in 2016 to address the severe problem we face, problems that governments seem unable to respond to with the necessary urgency:

Our view is that the answer to all these problems is more citizenship.

We believe real citizenship is not about passports; instead it means having the seven Keys to Citizenship (Duffy, 2003):

Everyone can have the seven Keys to Citizenship. Everyone can be respected as an equal.

The world needs to change. We need to value everyone and to support and encourage everyone to play their part in making the world a better place. We need to leave behind competitive individualism and greed and instead encourage cooperation and collective solutions.

We created Citizen Network to help make this change happen.

What have we done so far?

Already Citizen Network has played a key role in supporting movements for:

The Citizen Network website contains over 1400 free resources on citizenship and the interconnected problems we need to solve:

A fraction of our collective work includes:

As we bring individuals and organisations into a cooperative framework we focus on creating sustainable solutions that make it easier for all citizens to have an impact locally, while also being part of a global community where we learn together what makes the most difference.

Citizen Network is about connecting the hyper-local to the global - supporting each other to be citizens in our own communities - but also building a global movement for change.

We cannot wait for others to act. We must help each other to act now - with real urgency. We do not need permission to act from national politicians or global authorities. We must create the changes we need and use these changes to help bring about the deeper systemic reforms the world needs.

How is the cooperative organised?

Citizen Network started as an informal community growing to include over 1,000 active citizens and 246 groups. It was started in Sheffield in Yorkshire and now connects activists from 34 different countries.

In order to strengthen and sustain this network we decided to establish a global cooperative, which is registered in Helsinki, Finland.

A cooperative is the right model, for cooperation is at the heart of citizenship.

However we discovered that there doesn’t seem to be any other not-for-proft global cooperative; so we have had to invent the necessary framework.

Citizen Network Osk (Osk is the Finnish for coop) is now a cooperative foundation for driving forward the work of Citizen Network. The cooperative will have both organisational and individual members.

The first 12 organisational members at the launch of Citizen Network Osk are:

  1. Avivo: Live Life - an Australian support organisation that helps people live lives of citizenship in Perth, Western Australia.
  2. Citizen Network Research - a Sheffield-based citizen think-tank that shares research and policy ideas to promote citizenship for all.
  3. iDirect - a support organisation providing bespoke support for people with complex needs in the South of England.
  4. Ikinori - a Finnish mental health organisation focused on training, communications and support for innovation.
  5. Kakspy - a leading support organisation for people with mental health problems in Finland, also working in Eastern Europe
  6. KVPS - the leading support organisation for people with intellectual disabilities in Finland
  7. Opus - a change agency, also based in Sheffield, that works to create upstream solutions to complex system problems.
  8. Ovela - a software development company, focused on XR technologies.
  9. People Focused Group - a peer support community based in Doncaster, Yorkshire.
  10. Radical Visions - a consultancy and campaigning organisation based in Scotland focused on human rights and inclusion.
  11. Self-Directed Futures - a consultancy agency focused on transforming the funding system in long-term care and support based in England.
  12. Skillmotor - a consultancy agency focusing on cooperation and well-being within organisations.

These are just the first 12 organisational members of the cooperative; other organisations are already applying to join.

You can read more about our members here:

You can find out more about the cooperative here:

In addition, in a few months time, Citizen Network will open up individual membership of the cooperative for people who want to get more deeply involved in supporting the work of Citizen Network.

It’s free to join Citizen Network, go here:

What do people say?

Rosie Lawn, Chair of the Supervisory Board of Citizen Network Osk:

“By being collectively involved in the Citizen Network Coop, we have the power and potential to develop a world where everyone lives as active citizens. With each organisation and individual member, sharing globally and applying locally, we are able to learn together and make real changes within communities.”

Professor Iiro Jussila, Skillmotor Finland, Founding editor of Journal of Co-operative Organisation and Management (JCOM / Elsevier) Founding member and a member of the Supervisory Board of Citizen Network Osk:

“According to research, the cooperative is a great tool for interorganizational collaboration. Consistent with the goals of Citizen Network Cooperative, a cooperative can be used to improve the functioning of markets through new services, to renew societal discussions through effective communications, and to strengthen communities through novel applications of democracy. High impact is achieved through the execution of the core ideas of cooperation, which serve to motivate stakeholders, channel their voice, and combine their various resources in an innovative and sustainable way.”

Dr Simon Duffy, Director of Citizen Network Research, President of Citizen Network Osk, Author of Keys to Citizenship:

“None of the big problems we face can be solved by simply repeating the patterns that created these problems in the first place. We cannot rely on systems, markets or undemocratic forces to rescue us. We need to act like citizens, treat each other with respect and build the democratic structures we need at every level to take back our own agency and start rebuilding and rewilding our world.”

Markus Vähälä, CEO of Citizen Network Osk:

“The world needs you! Let’s organise globally to cooperate together. Citizen Network Cooperative invites you to work for a sustainable future pooling resources, talent and solutions for creating a growing living ecosystem for positive change. Citizenship is a strong force, but we need to make it happen everywhere. The challenge is big but the time is now! Join the cooperative!”

You can find out more about the Keys to Citizenship at:


Who to contact for more information:

Dr Simon Duffy
President of Citizen Network Osk

Markus Vähälä
CEO of Citizen Network Osk

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