Steem is like a village. Like in any other village, people with similar interests meet, some get engaged deeper, others just have a beer and a nice time and a lot just live their lives. As long as everything goes well, this is a rather chaotic process – with a lot of different directions of movement. Which is OK.
But, if at some instance the whole village goes though a hard time, be it an economic upset, a draught or whatever, people start organising themselves. This is the situation, Steem-village is facing right now, looking for the right way to organise things.
Credits: Shutterstock license 1238938822
One way to go, could be to identify some real strong and clever guys and gals and let them coordinate and do the job. The other way is to make it a community thing, setting up a collective transformation- and engagement process with ever changing actors and participants. Making it a civic movement.
This #foundationproposal follows the second pathway, because we think a decentralised way of shaping the future of Steem is the best way to go. Why so?
It is highly flexible and may adjust to new challenges very fast.
It is based on trust and is purpose-driven, which makes it incredibly more efficient than any organisation which puts a lot of effort in organising checks and balances.
It is decentralised and transparent. Thus, it gives everybody the power to initiate changes.
It leaves responsibility in the community and by this prevents people from leaning back too soon.
In case, something doesn’t work, there are rules, which give everybody the possibility to step up and stop things going the wrong direction, if he or she has good arguments.
As you may already assume, setting this up is no easy task, but luckily already a lot of research has been done on how such an organisation could work. If you are interested in the underlying culture model of organisations, please have a look at this video explaining the model of Laloux. What we propose is a so-called teal-organisation.
What are its main characteristics? Teal-organisations give people purpose, trust, some rules and clearly defined processes of interactions. As a result, decision power is completely decentralised. In comparison: most organisations, we know nowadays, are based on distrust, control and concentrate decision power at the top of hierarchies.
After this introduction, here is a foundation proposal, as discussed by @sorin.cristescu @shredz7 @upheaver and @impactn.
What is the purpose of the foundation?
Purpose of the foundation is strengthening communities with a social surplus by applying innovative economic incentives.
This leaves open, what exactly the activities will be. But it formulates three anchor points every proposed activity has to accord with: communities, social surplus and innovative economic incentives. This purpose captures the specific character of Steem blockchain as well as the importance, communities have for making the ecosystem grow and become more stable.
What are working structures of the foundation?
The “foundation” is an institution with an ever-fluctuating structure:
Every group of at least five Steemians with at least 1000 (or 2000?) SP, willing to fulfill a task in favour of the purpose, may form a working circle to do so. The working circle may become part of the foundation if it follows two sets of rules: those for setting up working circles and those for active working circles.
Working circles may take over any task: generating membership fees, collecting donations, doing business with a major part of the revenues being used for the foundations’ purpose, marketing, develop software… Some may focus on generating plans for action on Steem, then creating a proposal to circles that specialize in funding and realising these plans.
Experience shows, that in well-working teal-organisations, circles will make suggestions within the given financial framework leaving enough room for ideas of other working circles. Trust people, and this will work.
As a result, the foundation will be a network of working circles, interacting with each other. There is no central decision or coordination body. The only central entities are a legal representative and some advisors/mediators helping the structure to get used to this kind of work.
Rules for working circles
This is the beginning of a first set of rules, which will be develop within the next four weeks, according to comments of the community.
When a working-circle (to be) comes up with a new proposal, it has to get it approved by at least two other existing working circles. This is independent of the kind of proposal, be it raising funds, doing paid for work or developing a strategic plan for the foundation. Furthermore, the proposal has to be made transparent, giving everybody the possibility to step up and make suggestions or oppose.
If anybody thinks, a working-circle doesn’t act in favor of the purpose anymore, he may step up and ask the circle to do a correction or in the worst case stop the work completely. In case of arguments a mediation process is initiated, which in the worst case leads to a voting process amongst active working circle members on how to proceed.
How could this work in practice?
This is a completely fictitious scenario, using existing structures and ideas to make things more transparent.
Assume the @dolphincouncil is a working circle. It gives its monthly donation (pooled from members and outside donors) to other working circles. Another working circle in this scenario was created by @traveller7761 [impactn] and has 6 other members which are all focused on using Steem to complete the Global Goals.
@upheaver has a great idea on how to integrate Steem with the Global Goals so he makes a proposal to the Global Goals Circle about how to complete it (he could also create his own circle for this idea if he deemed it appropriate). The Global Goals Circle collaborates with @upheaver and they work out a plan for the idea. The circle then realizes it needs more funding than it has currently, to be able to execute their plan, so they need to receive some from an outside source.
The Global Goals Circle creates a proposal to the Dolphin Council Circle stating their idea and plan and asking for 2000 STEEM to execute the plan. The Dolphin Council Circle, after some deliberation, decide to fund the proposal and grant the Global Goals Circle 1500 STEEM to start to execute the idea. Alternatively, the Dolphin Council may also just donate to the Global Goals Circle without any specific proposal in mind.
How to get started:
Instead of a completely decentralised setting, relying fully on the development of self-organised circles, we’d propose to start with a basic structure of working circles: one for membership and donation issues, one for strategic budget allocation and distribution, one for further development of rules for the foundation (SteemAlliance?), and some wildcards for proposal related circles. This leaves the pathway of 100% decentralisation but should be good for getting things started.
Starting from this, the foundation could develop according to the rules.
To have the maximum freedom of self-organisation the “foundation” would be a registered company.
We'd love to cooperate with other proposals following the pathway of decentralisation and trust and are looking forward collaboration. Just drop by on our discord.