I perhaps need to draw to your attention the extended debate that’s going on in the comments section of my post earlier this week (bottom up: ‘cluster’ idea) on the Co-op Group and grassroots member engagement.
My own response is that pretty well the only thing that the Group has to separate itself from other supermarket chains is its members, and that this could be turned into a competitive advantage. For this to happen members need a way to engage. For example, there are a lot of things I could contribute to make my own Co-op Group store rather a lot better, and probably rather a lot more profitable, but I have at present no vehicle for communicating my comments.
This debate is, quite rightly, about member democracy. But it’s also about making the Co-op Group a better business, too.