CollectiveOne — Call for contributions

CollectiveOne is a method (and a platform) to develop open, decentralized and collaborative projects: projects to which anyone can, potentially, contribute, and which are collectively owned and self-governed by their contributors in proportion to the value of their contributions. A prototype is already online.

Projects in CollectiveOne can be for-profit or nonprofit and include a “value accounting system” so that contributions are recognized and valued using a project-specific token called “participation points”. Participation points account for the distributed ownership of the project and for the influence of each contributor in the project’s governance.

The more you contribute to a project, the more you own and the more power you have over its decisions.

A basic version of the method (and of the platform) is already online at www.collectiveone.org! The idea is, now, to continue its development by applying the method to itself, this is, openly with contributions from new participants. Each contributor can decide the level of involvement autonomously, and there are no hard distinctions between members and non-members: all valuable contributions will translate into proportional ownership and control of CollectiveOne.

Ownership and control are currently concentrated (this will always be the case for new projects). However, the faster the project grows, the faster it will, hopefully, tend to decentralize. There is a lot of work to be done.


Why CollectiveOne

Organizations will change, and CollectiveOne wants to contribute to making this change happen sooner. CollectiveOne aims to become a network that explores, tests, and develops new ways of collaborating and creating value. It is the result of, among others, the following considerations:

  • Current companies (and organizations in general) are failing at motivating and unraveling human potential to its maximum. They also divert a significant amount of energy away from their actual purpose and into strategic, protective and competitive considerations. More on this here.
  • In a globalized world, where billions of people are digitally interconnected, large organizations will need to transcend the natural definition of an “organization”: from being a fixed and relatively closed group of people, to a more flexible structure in which membership is much more liquid. More on this here.
  • The key will be to empower individuals to get involved and contribute to collective endeavors freely and in a decentralized fashion while recognizing their efforts and translating them into shared ownership and power. More on this here.

Principles

As an answer to these considerations, CollectiveOne proposes an organizational structure and governance rules developed on top of the following principles:

Open collaboration

Similar to open-source projects, entry barriers should be small to let anyone contribute to a project in same conditions as those of previous contributors.

Contribution record and value

Individual contributions should be recognized and valued relative to the rest of contributions, using a project-specific token called “participation points”.

Liquid meritocratic ownership

The ownership of each project should be linked to contributions, and, therefore, to participation points. The more you contribute, the more you own.

Efficient decentralized decision-making

Decisions should be taken openly, letting any contributor take/influence any decision and assuming consent by default. At the same time the method does not require, nor promote, that all contributors influence all decisions, and voting weights can be different among contributors.

Transparency and open data

Projects data and communication channels should be as open as possible, a necessary condition to balance the opportunity to participate. Moreover, transparency in CollectiveOne could reach unprecedented levels, since a detailed record of all the contributions and decisions within a project may also become publicly available.

How to contribute

The faster way to start contributing to CollectiveOne is to get in touch with the rest of contributors through the project Slack, (get your invitation here). There, you can have access to further details and be part of the conversation.

You can also take a look at the current goals of CollectiveOne here and a list of open contributions (which is prone to change) here.


The Current Approach, in practical terms

A first design is proposed (and is already implemented), to be used as the foundation on which CollectiveOne grows itself. It is composed of a method, and a tool to apply it. The scope of both is clear: to hold for just enough as they are further improved. For further details about the current method refer to the white paper draft, and the web application user manual.

An overview of the method is provided below:

Contributions value and ownership distribution

  • Anyone can create a project, identify its goals and define the initial distribution of participation points.
  • Projects are subdivided into hierarchical goals. Goals provide the project of structure and can be seen as departments or sub-projects within the project, around which similar activities concentrate.
  • Contribution items are then created to achieve the goals of the project.
  • Any participant can offer him/herself to perform the contribution by asking for a given amount of participation points. The decision mechanism is used to decide to which participant is the contribution assigned. (Multiple contributors per contribution item should also be possible, not yet implemented)
  • The participant then performs the contribution and, once done, the decision mechanism is used to decide if the product is accepted. At that point the participation points are assigned, granting/increasing ownership and decision power to/of that participant.

Decision making

  • Decisions are taken collectively, but they do not require the participation of a fixed quorum, neither of people nor of participation points, to be taken.
  • Emphasis is on reaching a decision within a given time, not on reaching consensus, and contributors are not expected to participate in all decisions.
  • Contributors are allowed to discuss and debate, with arguments, about their motivations to influence a decision on a given direction.
  • The maximum decision weight is proportional to the participation points owned by each user. However, decision weight is dynamic within the project sub-goals, allowing participants to reduce their weight and, thus, facilitate others to reach decisions on matters in which they are not active.
  • Goals can be assigned a budget of participation points, therefore bounding their reach and making easier for others to cede decision power within them.

Roadmap

CollectiveOne is being developed using its method, and so, the development pace of CollectiveOne will depend on the number of contributors and the amount and quality of contributions. It wants to be product-driven, so the more contributors, the faster it should go.network

The current prototype is basic. There is a lot of work to be done: improving the tool usability, integrating it with other platforms, extending/improving/redesigning its features, analyzing the method, solving legal aspects and promoting its adoption, to name just a few.

Right now one very active goal is to redesign and re-implement the user experience and the frontend.

Finally, being already functional, the prototype is also open to host projects interested in testing the CollectiveOne method. There are already a few projects performing their first dry tests!

Business Model

CollectiveOne wants to become a network of individuals and projects who work together to create and develop ambitious, meaningful (and in some cases profitable) projects in an open and collaborative fashion.

Due to the nature of CollectiveOne, defining a business model is not straightforward. A proposal is currently in place, which mixes features of for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The key points are:

  • Ownership of the network is distributed among all those who add value to it. Including the contributors of CollectiveOne, but also the users and projects it host, which increase the value through network effects.
  • The network will be able to monetize and concentrate the value it helps to create similar to how a for-profit company does.

Once income arrives, it will be used to:

  • Cover the fixed expenditures of the network, as defined by the decision mechanism.
  • Retribute the contributors, proportionally to their amount of participation points, but applying an internal tax.
  • Reinvest the internal taxes in the network development itself, including promoting/funding the projects it host, and control this through the decentralized decision mechanism.