This project seeks to support RadicleDAO in researching and designing a structure and pathway for distributing and activating governance control of the RadicleDAO within the Radicle ecosystem. This proposal builds on some of the work already done by the Org Design workstream’s effort to transition all Foundation-funded Core Teams (and related Foundation responsibilities) to a DAO-funded organizational structure, and contributes to the Distribution of Influence workstream’s effort to design and implement a strategy for distributing non-financialized governing power within the Radicle ecosystem.
Our goal is to help RadicleDAO develop a mission-aligned approach to ecosystem governance. By “mission-aligned” we mean a governance structure that supports the long-term stewardship of a self-sustaining, freely accessible, open-source ecosystem. The objective is a governance framework that distributes control and influence over decision-making based on stakeholder participation, mission-stewardship, as well as token holdings.
The outcome of this project is not only a concept for RadicleDAO that aligns with its mission, values, and objectives. RadicleDAO’s framework will serve as a lighthouse example in the web3 ecosystem for an alternative “end game” to decentralized governance, one aimed not just driving financial outcomes for tokenholders, but at preserving the accessibility of open source software within a self-sustaining ecosystem. To ensure others can learn and build off of RadicleDAO’s approach, we intend to develop educational materials and share the learnings and framework developed in this project.
Our research and design efforts for this project are driven by six core objectives:
- Engage key stakeholders to understand their objectives, motivations, and concerns about the Radicle ecosystem, its mission, and future governance structure.
- Ensure there is a commonly accepted and understood purpose to the RadicleDAO among its stakeholders.
- Apply learnings from historical and existing governance structures outside of the web3 ecosystem to the design of RadicleDAO’s governance system.
- Build scenarios that help us explore the tradeoffs between different governance structures and mechanisms.
- Design a structure and process for distributing influence and control based on RadicleDAO’s objectives (gathered in Objective 1).
- Create valuable resources to help others design decentralized governance systems in new and innovative ways that support their ecosystems’ short and long-term objectives .
To accomplish these objectives, we’ve broken the project down into four phases.
- Stakeholder engagement & defining purpose
- Governance R&D
- Refine governance design
- Content development & distribution
Phase 1 - Stakeholder engagement & defining purpose
In the first phase of this project, we will engage stakeholders through interviews and workshops to: (1) identify the community’s objectives for the DAO’s future governance; and (2) define and document RadicleDAO’s purpose. This phase builds off of the public Collaborative Visioning work that was started by the Org Design workstream.
Our goal is to define a specific and actionable purpose for the RadicleDAO in collaboration with current participants, including contributors, community, investors, team, foundation, LBP (public holders), seeders/delegates. A collectively and clearly understood purpose is the foundation of governance. Alignment on purpose and values will make future decision-making easier, as well as garner participant buy-in in the short term and maintain social cohesion over time.
Questions we will explore: What purpose does RadicleDAO serve? What behaviors are we trying to incentivize, honor, and sustain in the ecosystem? What’s success look like? What are we protecting against in a best case scenario?
Phase 2 - Governance R&D
With a clear understanding of the why (purpose) and who (stakeholder perspectives) of the Radicle ecosystem, we will ideate on different approaches to the DAO’s governance design. You can view an overview of what we mean by “governance design” here in this document. In this grant, we are focused on designing the governance of the greater DAO, not the governance of the Radicle Core Teams themselves. Specifically, this grant focuses on defining the following core elements:
- Purpose, vision, & values
- Membership & token rights (also referred to as ownership rights)
- Surface area of decision making for meta governance (how the system gets changed) and treasury governance
To do this, we will build 2-3 governance scenarios. These scenarios are intended to help us understand the different tradeoffs between approaches to distributing participation, highlighting potential advantages and risks for each. Of course, the exact content of each scenario will be informed by our outputs from Phase 1.
In Phase 3, we will review the governance scenarios in collaboration with key stakeholders to arrive at a final recommendation for a governance design that supports the ecosystem’s mission and objectives. In addition, we will work with the different work streams to design an implementation strategy for this governance model.
Our final phase will focus on communicating our learnings and designs from this process to the broader web3 ecosystem. We imagine doing so through a series of publications that explain our process, the scenarios developed, and the final design. This content is intended to inform the Radicle ecosystem as well as speak to other leaders, developers, and investors in the open-source ecosystem. We envision co-publishing these resources with RadicleDAO. In addition to publications, we’re keen to explore a town hall or webinar for folks to be able to ask questions.
To us, blockchain networks represent the most granular data on collective decision making in history. We see an unprecedented opportunity to research and build data-informed approaches to governance — the learnings of which we believe could extend far beyond the web3.
We (apiary) are an applied research company developing governance solutions for decentralized organizations. In other words, we love thinking through hard governance problems, designing novel governance mechanisms, and engaging with stakeholders to ensure broad support for the processes that are put in place.
We support teams in designing governance systems to advance their objectives as well as processes for implementing organizational change towards decentralization. We understand the challenges organizations face, having worked with dozens of traditional companies, communities, and governments to build governance models that support the stewardship of enterprises, data, housing, and other assets. We’re excited to apply these learnings to web3 and believe that a phase of experimentation and prototyping will help us develop best practices and scalable solutions that make the tricky work of governance easier for teams going forward.
We’re especially excited by projects like Radicle, which are innovating on governance and striving to create new models from which others can learn. These are the projects we want to work on. It’s why we started apiary.
Iterative & context-specific - Governance models should be embedded in the specific systems and contexts they are designed for. We view the development of a governance system as an emergent and iterative process.
Based on core governance elements - The process outlined in this document is based on what we view as the core elements of governance design, described in detail here.
Inclusive of participants throughout - We want to ensure we are not building a governance structure in a vacuum without input from the people who will ultimately participate in and manage the system in the future. As such, we intend to conduct this work in active conversation with key stakeholders and to consult the broader community early on and continuously throughout the process.
Building on existing work - We want to avoid redoing work that has already been conducted. Rather, we seek to complement the working streams that are already underway and support them in their objectives.
Camille Canon is the founder and CEO of apiary. Camille previously co-founded Purpose, a social enterprise on the forefront of new institutional models of ownership and governance. Camille’s driven by the question of how to design systems and institutions for human collaboration that better enable us to navigate change in the face of uncertainty.
Anouk Ruhaak is the Head of Governance at apiary. Before joining apiary she worked as a Senior Fellow for the Mozilla Foundation where she focused on designing and implementing data governance models. She has a background in political science, economics and software development.
Hanna is a Research Analyst at apiary. Before joining apiary, Hanna worked at Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, where she studied online trust-building amongst marginalized communities. Hanna’s research is driven by community-led practices that mitigate digital harm. She has a background in international relations, media studies, and human-computer interaction.
Anouk Ruhaak - firstname.lastname@example.org
Apiary is a Public Benefit Corporation in California.
Total Estimated Duration: 6 months (November 2022 - April 2023)
$3500 day rate
Total Costs: 140,000 USD
|Defined purpose values and stakeholders||Define the RadicleDAO’s purpose based on stakeholder interviews and existing documentation
Identify and prioritize values
Define objectives for the DAO/ecosystems governance/end state
Map the roles and incentives of ecosystem stakeholders
|Stakeholder map 10-20 stakeholder interviews
Summary and analysis of stakeholder interviews
Overview document of objectives and vision for end governance state Draft Purpose statement 1-2 workshops with stakeholders on purpose, vision, and values (as needed)
|Days: ~10 days
Timeline: 2-3 months
November 2022 - January 2023
**This timeframe may shift depending on stakeholder availability.
|Governance R&D||Define pathways for mission-aligned decentralization
Explore DAO membership models
Define different mechanisms for distributing influence
Outline potential governance mechanisms that support the purpose and end game of the DAO
|Report presenting 2-3 scenarios, exploring the challenges and tradeoffs between different approaches and governance mechanisms based on the ecosystem’s objectives.
The report will also include ~2 case studies per scenario.
|Days: 10 days
Timeline: 1 month
January - February 2023
|Refining governance design||Review the governance scenarios with key stakeholders
Design a governance model and implementation strategy that supports RadicleDAO’s mission and objectives
|Final recommendation on a governance design and implementation strategy that supports RadicleDAO’s mission and objectives.
||Days: ~6 days
Timeline 2 weeks
|Content development & distribution||Communicate purpose and desired end state to the broader ecosystem
Educate stakeholders on the core governance design components
Establish broad buy-in on the proposed governance designs
Position Radicle as a thought leader in the field
|Outward-facing, joint-publication, or publication series describing the purpose and desired end-state of Radicle DAO, as well as different governance mechanisms we explored. (by Radicle and Apiary)
Town hall with the broader ecosystem
|Days: ~15 days
Timeline: 2 months
March - May 2023
**This budget includes additional resources for content development and design.