Decentralised organisations and co-created events without traditional top-down management
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We're building a tool for decentralised organizations to keep track of their structure while helping them make decisions.
In such organisations, work is not organised in a top down way. Instead, everyone in the organisation is allowed to make decisions as long as they seek advice from key stakeholders. Identifying those stakeholders and making sure you've sought their advice can be cumbersome and difficult, especially without deep knowledge about an organisation. Realities is a tool which aims to meet that challenge.
The Realities platform is part of Participio, a brand new development lab initiated by Edgeryders with funding from Kulturbryggan. The purpose of Participio is to develop experimental software and methodology for decentralized organizations and co-created culture. If you're interested in contibuting to this project, simply join us on Edgeryders and make an introduction post.
We want to build a tool that makes it as easy as possible for community leaders to find and claim their place, and in doing so, change the very structure of the organization. We also want to make sure that if they leave, the structure doesn't collapse in their absence. For this, Realities uses the Advice Process and TEAL organisations as it's point of departure.
Realities should give users the ability to create Needs and then Responsibilities and to assign a Guide and a Realiser to each Need and Responsibility. Needs and Responsibilities are connected by Dependencies which clarify how they are connected. Creating and assigning Needs and Responsibilities and connecting them with Dependencies should be simple and intuitive. The UI of the software should also transparently indicate the correlations of these elements to each other for a faster overview of the larger scope, for example by drawing graphs and connecting them to each other.
The Realities platform harnesses the information held by an organization's members to model what that organizations does. "Model" here means two things: breaking down the organization's work into activities and mapping out how they are interlocked; and associating activities to people who are responsible for carrying them out. This model is stored in digital form and displayed in an easily navigable node view.
Realities uses a graph database to do this, so its logic mirrors the human logic of “who is responsible for what” and “what depends on what”. This graph is easy to simplify and manipulate to obtain human-readable information.
A concrete and defined condition that needs to be true for a user to fulfill a task.
A role or task that a user can assign herself which partially or completely fulfils a Need.
A directed relation between a Need and Responsibility, between two Needs or between two Responsibilities.
A user who is assigned either to coordinate many Responsibilities needed to completely fulfill a Need, or to carry out a Responsibility.
A user who is assigned to make sure that a specific Need or Responsibility has an active and competent Realiser. This may include defining requirements and headhunting for a suitable Realiser. It is the task of the Reality Guide to find a new Realiser if one drops out from one of the Responsibilities that Reality Guide is responsible for.
- It all starts from a Need: There must always be a Need initialised for other elements to relate to it (Responsibility, Reality Guide, Realiser etc).
- A Need element has: A Guide, a Realiser, a title, a description, a link to where discussion of the Need happens, a list of Dependencies.
- A Need cannot be created without a Reality Guide assigned to it, and the person creating the Need automatically becomes the first Reality Guide for that Need.
- A Responsibility has: A Need (required), a Reality Guide (automatically becomes the user creating the Responsibility, but can be reassigned), a Realiser, a title, a description, a link to where discussion of the Responsibility happens, a list of Dependencies.
- Every Need and Responsibility can also connect to other Needs and Responsibilities through Dependencies. A Dependency is directed so that one element is Dependent On another element. Dependencies are added to Needs or Responsibilities by selecting from all existing elements. Dependencies are tools to understand how elements fit together, but do not block any functionality.
- Each Need and Responsibility can only have one Guide and one Realiser. This principle is in place so bystander effect is minimized. We want for individuals to be empowered and be held accountable when holding a responsibility and have it as clear as possible who to contact when inquiring about some aspect of organization.
The end-user experience should be made as simple as possible. Essentially their experience can be contained by answering these questions for them, “How can I help?”, “What am I supposed to do next?” and “Who do I need to talk to?”. The correlation between elements should be made visually explicit in a manner via which participants can easily grasp the big and small picture.
This document is a high-level description of Realities. It describes what it’s for; discusses in which cases you might want to use it, and why. It is intended for a reader who has never heard of Realities, and whose perspective is more that of a user (”I have a problem that needs solving”) than that of a technologist (“I care about protocols and elegant technical solutions”). We wrote it for publication on the particip.io website. 1. What is Realities? The Realities platform is a tool for org…