There are a number of legal and organizational innovations transforming co-operatives these days, making them more oriented to commoning and the common good than just marketplace success. However, these innovations are geographically dispersed and not necessarily widely known, even within the co-operative movement.
Cooperative Law in Action
One of the most notable new organizational forms is the multistakeholder cooperative (or “Social and Solidarity Cooperative”), which has been rapidly proliferating in recent years. It got its start in Italy in 1963 when families in Italy joined forces with paid care workers to develop co-operatives to provide social care, healthcare and educational services. This new paradigm collectivizes and centralizes basic overhead services (administration, personnel, accounting, etc.) and in this way empowers smaller social economy ventures (similar to “omni-commons”).
In a sense, multistakeholder co-ops regularize governance for co-stewardship of commons spaces and move away from rigid bureaucratic methods that increasingly don’t work. Multistakeholder co-ops now employ more than 360,000 in paid jobs, including the disabled, the formerly imprisoned and marginalized people, and more than 40,000 volunteers. Social co-operatives have spread to all regions of Italy and today number more than 14,000, making it a significant sector of the Italian economy that is neither market- nor state-based. Today there are multi-stakeholder co-operative movements  in Quebec in Canada and in a wide number of countries in Europe including France, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Finland and Greece. 
Community Land Trusts and Cooperative Housing
In recent years, there have also been a number of new strategies for implementing community land trusts and cooperative housing. Since land values typically account for 25% to 75% of house prices, a community land trust (CLT) can serve to remove land from the market and thus drastically reduce housing prices and keep homes permanently affordable. There are now over 250 CLTs in the USA and about 50 established with more than 100 in the pipeline in the UK. The model is being developed in Canada and in Belgium, and interest is gaining in France and Portugal. CLTs are attractive because they are flexible models for a wide variety of urban commons development – not just housing but workspace development, community-owned energy generation, and new forms of urban agriculture and community gardens.
New Governance Structures for Cooperatives
There are some interesting legal innovations in the internal governance structures for co-operatives. The Sustainable Economies Law Center is currently developing an impressive set of new legal provisions for governance of co-operatives to assure a “true sharing economy.” Among the goals: genuine sharing of the wealth by co-operatives with local communities; safeguard against market buy-outs such as the one orchestrated by Couchsurfing; assure fair and balanced wages and avoid large wage disparities within the co-op; shared capitalization to prevent disproportionate losses or harm to any single stakeholder; highly participatory governance structures instead of concentrated power based on capital ownership; and greater sharing of resources (food seeds, water, energy) rather than artificially limiting access; and prioritization of advancing the common good.
Along these same lines, one can point to the ingenious legal scheme developed by a housing co-op, Mietshäuser Syndikat,  in Germany, which assure residents the right of self-management of their building while making any sell-off of the building in the future difficult. How? The building is jointly owned by the not-for-profit residents’ association of 300 members and by a limited liability corporation, each of which has one vote. Any fundamental changes require a “yes” vote by both partners, essentially giving each veto power. The associated corporation can act as a check upon a potential stampede by co-op members to sell the building.
Citywide Mutualization of Infrastructure
Following a 2014 conference of garden cities in the UK, there has been renewed interest in the model of citywide mutualization of infrastructure, a model pioneered by the Letchworth Garden City. This city was built in 1903 on 5,000 acres of co-operatively owned land north of London; all utilities were municipally owned until 1945. The income and the economic rents paid by the businesses in the town made Letchworth economically resilient. For more, see a 2014 report by Pat Conaty, “Commons Sense: Co-operative Place Making and the Capturing of Land Value for 21st Century Garden Cities.” 
Another new co-op based model now being explored is Open Cooperativism, which consists of using familiar co-operative structures on open network platforms to carry out Crowdfunding, Crowdsourcing of knowledge and governance through online platforms. This idea was given focus at a gathering in Berlin in August 2014 that tried to “imagine a new sort of synthesis or synergy between the emerging peer production and commons movement on the one hand, and growing, innovative elements of the co-operative and solidarity economy movements on the other.”  The Enspiral open value network mentioned above might be considered an open co-operative; so might the FairCoop and multistakeholder co-operative models cited above. The point is to try to use the distinct capacities of open platforms – for self-selected participation, iterative innovation, knowledge-sharing and high-quality, low-cost self-provisioning – to avoid conventional market providers and become more self-directed.
Open Cooperative Development Agency
To promote this new model by providing financial administrative and political support, UK academic and co-operative advocate Henry Tam has proposed the establishment of an Open Cooperative Development Agency . Besides propagating new co-ops, the goal would be to promote an “open ethical economy” through which co-operative entrepreneurs could co-produce commons through coalitions of ethical entrepreneurs and a market sector comprised of collectively oriented enterprises. This topic is gained more relevance now that some venture capitalists are realizing that respect for online user communities – including meaningful voice and governance – may be the key to the success of investor-owned social media platforms.
Seed Sharing Licenses
Another new type of co-operative venture – which draws inspiration from the licenses created to protect open source software -- are seed sharing licenses to protect and promote the co-operative use of shared seeds. Sociologist Jack Kloppenberg at the University of Wisconsin has started the Open Source Seed Initiative  to provide legally protection for non-proprietary seeds, making sure that the genes in at least some seeds will not be locked up by patents. Launched in April 2014, the project asks breeders and stewards of crop varieties to sign to a pledge to make their seeds available without restrictions on use, and to ask recipients of those seeds to make the same commitment.
- This account comes from Pat Conaty and David Bollier, “Toward an Open Co-operativism: A New Social Economy Based on Open Platforms, Co-operative Models and the Commons,” Commons Strategies Group, January 2015, available in the Commons Transition Website: