New Organizational Forms
There is a great deal of experimentation going on with new organizational forms because old structures, whether for-profit or nonprofit, do not adequately recognize and support the types of commoning that people are doing or aspire to do. The old organizational structures, even in their variations (co-operatives, limited partnerships, charities, nonprofits) often reflect institutional orientations to markets and the economics of scarcity. How, then, to devise organizational forms that can both serve the interests of commons while being legally recognized by the state?
New Organizational Forms
Perhaps the most salient American experiment in devising new organizational forms is the benefit corporation, or B Corporation , which has been approved by 28 American states as of October 2014. These state laws explicitly expand the definition of the fiduciary duty for corporate boards of directors, allowing enterprises to take non-financial interests – i.e., the public good, ecological concerns – into explicit account in their investment and management decisions. However, it is unclear how significant benefit corporations will be in actually fostering socially minded change, given the hierarchical, market-oriented and legalistic structures that remain, or indeed, whether the validity of B corporations will be challenged in court.
One of the more interesting new organizational forms is the “omni-commons,” which are enterprises that take on administrative, fiscal and legal tasks for collectives of small, artisanal enterprises with a commons orientation. The Omni Commons of Oakland, California , is one notable example. It is a large “collective space to share and commune” comprised of several Bay Area collectives that has a shared political vision of “equitable commoning of resources and meeting of human needs over private interests or corporate profit.” In its large building, it hosts the Contemporary Art Museum of Oakland, a citizen-science and DIY bio space for open sourcing biology, a small book publisher, a food justice advocacy and support group, a radical film and video collective, a hackerspace, a worker-owned café, and a print shop.
There are other fascinating omni-commons elsewhere in the world, such as Catalan Integral Cooperative (CIC) which sees itself as a strategic intermediary for commoners in dealing with state taxes and regulations and with complex legal and bureaucratic issues. CIC also provides financial support to such enterprises. Some CIC members and other partners are now launching FairCoop and FairCoin in an audacious attempt to invent a new global financial system.
Another impressive omni-commons is Cecosesola  in the Venezuelan state of Lara. Cecosesola is a network of about sixty cooperatives and grassroots organizations, with about 20,000 members. It provides healthcare to 200,000 patients every year, funeral services, produce selling in local markets, and a variety of co-ops that are run on the basis of consensus, trust and egalitarian principles.
See also, “We Are One Big Conversation: Commoning in Venezuela,” in the forthcoming Bollier and Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning (Amherst, MA: Off the Common Books, 2015).
It may be premature to declare the Food Commons Fresno,  an omni-commons, but this fledgling enterprise – legally a trust – certainly seems headed in that direction. The organization is attempting to integrate the major components of the food production system in the Fresno, California, region, so that the “surplus value” produced by member-organizations can be mutualized. This will allow it to lower costs; meet the needs of more poor people; improve working conditions and pay for agricultural workers; and adopt safer, more ecological agricultural practices. In New England, local food producers in six states have banded together as Food Solutions New England  to improve locally sourceable agriculture. One aspect of this challenge is to develop a new organizational form for regional agriculture, distribution and retailing that can federate local agriculture across the region. The aim is to produce 50% of all food locally by 2060.
Open Value Networks
Digital platforms are also incubating some innovative new organizational forms. One of the most intriguing is the Open Value Network, which have been described as an “operating system for a new kind of organization” and a “pilot project for the new economy.” OVNs consist of digital platforms that facilitate new modes of open, decentralized and self-organized social governance, production and livelihoods. Two of the leading OVN projects, Sensorica  and Enspiral,  are organized in ways that let anyone to contribute to the project, and be rewarded based on their contributions, as measured by actual contributions, experience and other collectively determined criteria. Unlike “conventional commons” that tend to eschew market-based activity, open value networks  have no reservations about engaging with markets; OVNs simply wish to maintain their organizational and cultural integrity as commons-based peer producers. This means open, horizontal and large-scale cooperation and coordination; responsible stewardship of the shared wealth and assets while allowing individual access, use, authorship and ownership of resources “where appropriate”; careful accounting of individual “inputs and outcomes” via a common ledger system; and the distribution of fair rewards based on individual contributions to the project. Some notable keywords for describing OVNs: equipotentiality, anti-credentialism, self-selection, communal validation and holoptism.
OVN stress that while they may be legally nonprofits or for-profits, they are not functionally either in that they have no retained earnings or fixed assets. They instead function as “a flow-through entity which is as formless as possible,” but which functions as a trust for members, as outlined by a “nondominium” agreement. A Nondominium  is a new form of common property governed, in the words of Chris Cook, by “a consensual legal framework agreement within which value may be created, shared and exchanged (P2P) on credit terms by reference to a unit of account (note that a unit of account is NOT a currency).” While still fairly rudimentary, OVNs represent a new type of consensual governance/production regime, bound by contractual terms, that blends commons principles and market activity. Other OVNs include the projects iAGRI innovation portfolio, Greener Acres, , Metamaps  and Guerrilla Translation. 
Constitutions for Digital Communities
Some digital communities with open-source commitments are developing their own constitutions as ways to govern their network-based community. In obvious ways these “constitutions” are not binding in the way that conventional constitutional law is. Yet they are serious attempts to give definition to the social and political structures that govern a networked community; the documents provide a moral basis for social sanctioning of violators – and in some cases, provide resort to conventional courts for enforcement.
For example, the open design and production community Wikihouse  has developed a constitution  outlining how it functions as an open community. Officially a British nonprofit, Wikihouse invites users to submit design work and collaborate with others, and officially renounces intellectual property rights in the designs on its website (while disclaiming any legal responsibility for the uses of designs). However, Wikihouse does license its trademark to chapters that it approves, official partners, certified designers and manufacturers. Similarly, open source Linux groups like Debian (a community that produces a “Debian distribution” of GNU Linux) have a constitution.  One tool to make a digital constitution more enforceable is to embed it in the Terms of Service, thereby making it part of an enforceable contract if users opt in to the website.
For more, see the Terms of Service contract for peer production mentioned above.