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Week 11, 2022—Issue #195

DAOs: Managed by Members, Governed by Code, and United by Purpose

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Each week: three ideas on and about the future of work. This week: three ideas about Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO). (Originally published in the WorkMatters newsletter on March 18, 2022).

DAOs are purpose-driven communities governed by code that is collectively owned and managed by members, without traditional leadership.

Depending on who you talk to, they will either change organizational life as we know it or quickly become forgotten.

Opinions diverge.

Me personally, I’m intrigued.

Here’s why:

1. Managed by Members

DAOs are managed by their members without traditional command-and-control structures.

Hence Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.

Governance is done publically, through voting. Members wanting to effect change can do so by submitting proposals for community review.

I like, but it’s not why I’m intrigued by DAOs. When it comes to self-management, there are more mature operating models to explore

2. Governed by Code

DAOs are governed by immutable code that can operate without human intervention. Hence Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.

Tasks and activities are codified into smart contracts (i.e., computer programs on a blockchain) that, once deployed, provide trustless automation.

I like. But it’s not why I’m intrigued by DAOs. Trustless systems are fascinating, but I’m looking at something with more immediate applicability…

3. United by Purpose

DAOs are Internet-native communities brought together by a shared purpose. Hence Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.

All organizations have purpose. It’s what makes organizations, organizations. DAOs are no different.

I like that too, but it’s still not the reason why I’m intrigued by DAOs. We already knew purpose was central to organizational life…

I’m not intrigued by DAOs because they’re decentralized or autonomous or even because they’re organizations. Not really.

I’m intrigued by DAOs because they are collectively owned, allowing members to buy and earn equity in the form of tokens.

I’m convinced the path towards better organizations demand autonomy and upside for the individual, and that’s exactly what DAOs provide.

DAOs are next-generation co-operatives. That’s the innovation and that’s why I think they’re so intriguing.

That’s all for this week.
Until next time: Make it matter.


Did you know? WorkMatters is a weekly newsletter on and about the future of work. New issues are published Fridays at 10 AM ICT and subscription is free. Back issues are posted to Medium after three months.



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