Catalyst Circle
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Background

John Buck on the formation of CC V1

Part 1

Transcription

I started the initiative to organize the Catalyst Circle by approach in SPOCRA. After a couple of conversations, we prepared this paper :

Catalyst Circle Aim, Duties & Responsibilities

The following describes the function of the Catalyst Circle and lists proposed duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and terms in office for members of the Catalyst Circle acting as Representatives (up links) of their community.

Aim of Catalyst Circle

The Catalyst Circle will have the aim of producing two consent proposals related to CIP
And Software Updates with Community support. The CIP process can affect the very foundation of the Cardano ecosystem, what it is, and how it fits in a larger whole. It’s important that it not be done pooly and the Catalyst Circle now will give you a say in getting the ecosystem right. It will be at the heart of affecting lasting change and finding the optimal path for the community’s evolution into understanding and executing self-governance.
The Catalyst Circle will meet on a proposed cadence of every two weeks and utilize time-tested Agile principles. GovernanceAlive will train and coach the Catalyst Circle in approaches for working with the community to solicit problems and obstacles within each area using psychologically-safe techniques that allow every voice to be heard, and the best ideas to bubble to the top. This will reveal conflicts and disagreements before actual voting starts and de-risk these votes. The Circle will develop measures of success that establish guardrails to ensure that solutions are developed for the benefit of the whole community.

Duties of Members:

Members will represent the community that selected them. Representatives participate fully in the governance of the Catalyst Circle, exercising their own best judgement about matters that come before the circle. Best judgement is informed, but not dictated by the news, ideas, suggestions, needs, requests, or proposals of current interest or concern in their community. Representatives are responsible for familiarising members of the Catalyst Circle about the projects, activities, aims, hopes and concerns of their communities. Representatives will periodically have the opportunity to introduce policy proposals into the Catalyst Circle’s agenda for consideration. Representatives support their communities by participating in the decision making for any proposals brought for consideration to the Catalyst Circle. Representatives keep their communities informed about the decisions and actions of the Catalyst Circle and, as appropriate, offer rationale for decisions made.

Responsibilities:

Representatives will prepare for Catalyst Circle meetings by reviewing and commenting on draft proposals and related documents. Representatives will regularly attend meetings in accordance with participation policies set by the Circle. They are committed to dutifully keeping an awareness of the interests and concerns of their community. In service of their goals, they will build their understanding of the whole community as a means to exercise their best judgement in making decisions and consider the perspective of the whole community. Likewise, Representatives will learn and practice effective meeting procedures as well as attend training focused on inclusive and lean startup leadership techniques. Finally, Representatives will participate in this iterative process by evaluating and providing feedback regarding the Catalyst Circle meetings and the effectiveness of the Circle’s activities and initiatives.

Qualifications:

Representatives should have enough experience in their community to be familiar with the hopes, motivations, and challenges of their members. Representatives will be natural networkers and community builders. Representatives should have the ability to express ideas clearly and effectively, have good judgement, be willing to listen deeply, be conscientious, and have ethical integrity.

Term in office:

Initial term in office is four months. The Circle will set its own policies concerning length of terms, term renewals, staggering of terms, number of members (including providing, e.g., for temporary members who have expertise in a particular topic, and so on. NOTE: If needed, a community can replace its “link” before their term in office has expired.

Time commitment:

At the start, the cadence is a meeting every two weeks and the circle has the power to decide it’s own cadence. The first two meetings will be extended to provide training on effective meeting practices. Most training will occur in the context of getting the work done.

SPOCRA

SPOCRA offered to help with the process of approaching other community groups. After a hold put on that process, Dor and I generated the following strategy and aimed at organizing the first minimal CC :

Catalyst Circle V1 Definition

That evolved into this definition of the CC :
This document provides a working definition of the Catalyst Circle and describes the goals and function of the Catalyst Circle.

Definition

The Catalyst Circle is a “human sensor array” that monitors the current state and future plans regarding governance in Project Catalyst. The Circle detects and discusses concerns, objections and opportunities arising within the Catalyst eco-system. The activity outputs a transparent view into the hopes, wants, needs and concerns of the community, IOG and CF with project Catalyst. It is also responsible for defining and legitimizing the future election process for Circle members.
This is a first iteration of an experiment in project Catalyst governance - likely to change and evolve from iteration to iteration.

Goals

  • Facilitate the different functional groups in Catalyst to communicate with each other.
  • Provide a heads-up when any red lines are crossed within a certain group.
  • Suggest improvements on plans and processes that shape Project Catalyst.
  • Define the election process for the next elections.

Functions

  • Maintain an agile backlog list to track issues between meetings.
  • Hold a transparent meeting every two weeks. During that meeting:
    • Review the current state of project Catalyst and provide feedback.
    • Review upcoming plans for project Catalyst and provide feedback.
    • Raise strong objections to governance processes in Catalyst.
    • Review actions taken following objections and recommendations made by the circle.
  • Disseminate the Circle outputs in a transparent and accessible way.
  • Review and suggest improvements to the Catalyst Circle process every quarter.
  • Produce an election protocol document for the next elections.

Authority

The Catalyst Circle will start off as a consulting and catalyzing body. Over time, as it accomplishes its success metrics, it can gain more formal authorities.

Success metrics

  • Fund exit survey indicates a score (on a 1-5 scale) above 4 regarding approval for the Circle.
  • Circle member rate achievement of each goal on a 1-5 scale. Success if getting a score of 4 or above for each goal.
  • Circle members rank meetings as “productive” at end of each meeting. Above 4.
  • Initiatives proposed by the circle are adopted and or developed by the community - this will be tracked through a spreadsheet.

Budget

First iteration will be volunteer based - this will be reviewed after 3 months and pending on achievement of success metrics.

Policies

All members will serve at the pleasure of the group that selected them, and can be recalled by that group at any time. In order to recall a member, 20 community members who belong to the group need to assemble in a TH breakout room and declare a re-election, which will take place the following week.
For IOG and CF, a member can be replaced via an executive decision.
Circle membership is restricted to 3 months.

Delegates

V1 Catalyst Circle members and selection method:
Stakeholder group represented
Selection method
1
SPOs
TH open space voting
2
CF
Internal nominee
3
IOG
Internal nominee
4
CA
TH open space voting
5
Funded proposers
Cohort meeting voting
6
Toolmakers & maintainers
TH open space voting
7
General Voters
Selection committee composed of randomly selected ada holders

Additional Roles

Facilitator (responsible for ensuring that everyone is heard and the group is able to use meeting time productively)
Secretary (responsible for keeping track of agreements, planning agendas, and publishing both past minutes and upcoming meetings)

Election Process

For each of the groups that elected a representative in a Town Hall breakout room, we first described the process one week and asked candidates to nominate themselves - or they could nominate someone else.
For example, here is Victor's self-nomination statement
We followed roughly a sociocracy election format in which attendees, proposed on a table who they proposed for representative. The facilitator (me) then based on all the discussion a name and did a round asking for consent. The funded proposers, IOG, and Cardano Foundation selected their CC representative via their own internal process. I can describe that process further if you wish. (Note: consent decision making was used to build unity around the decision (a key benefit of decentralized decision-making [a downside of majority voting is that it may encourage the formation of factions]). I can provide more detail - but that is the outline of how the six members who attended CC meeting #1 were identified. Meanwhile, we initiated a more complex process to identify a general Ada voters rep. I'll document that in the next message.

Part 2

Here is the plan we prepared for selecting the Ada voter's representative
Basically we sent out a request for nominations (including self-nominations) for people who would be willing to serve on a committee to select a representative. We received 39 nominations and then used a random number generator to select about 10 members of the committee. The committee met, interviewed nominated candidates, and selected Dean with Jordon as his back-up. The Committee then decided to keep meeting in order to support Dean. (Jordon subsequently joined the Committee.)
Here are the Search Committee's meeting records:
The Search Committee is preparing to do another round of elections for a new Committee to select and support a new Ada voters' representative for the next CC. (It is considering various options such as staggered terms to support continuity of the Committee's collective memory.)

Part 3

As I said, let me know if you want to discuss any of this information. My suggestion is for each of the organizations/groups who selected representatives to the CC V1 reflect on their process and decide what modifications they want to make for selecting a rep to CC V2. This suggestion includes IOG and the Cardano Foundation. One possibility is that next week's Town Hall could again provide separate breakout rooms for these reflective discussions for the CAs, SPOs, and Toolmakers & Maintainers. The Ada Voters Committee as well as the CC itself has started some of this "reflection on process." (note: those of you familiar with Agile will recognize echos of "sprint retrospective" in these suggestions.)