Enhancing Our Stewardship: Towards a More Unified and Impactful Governance Approach

Heya Gitcoin Community!

As we continue to evolve our governance structures, we are considering enhancements to our stewardship framework. This brings us to a pivotal discussion about our monthly stewards call. While these calls have been a vital part of our governance process, we’ve observed potential areas for improvement, including the possibility of cancelling the call in favor of more effective methods of engagement.

Why Reevaluate the Monthly Stewards Call?

Our aim is to foster a governance process that is not only informative but also highly engaging and participatory. The current format, primarily focused on updates, may benefit from a rethink to enhance community interaction and involvement. We’re exploring various conceptual changes, including restructuring the format or potentially discontinuing the call altogether, to better serve our community’s needs.

Exploring Alternatives and Enhancements

In the spirit of open and collaborative governance, we’re considering a range of options:

  • Transforming the call into a more interactive and dynamic platform.
  • Shifting towards other engagement methods that might better capture the community’s voice and participation.
  • Potentially cancelling the call if we find more effective avenues for communication and decision-making.

Seeking Your Valuable Insights

Your perspectives are vital in shaping the future of our stewardship calls. We’re not just looking for feedback on whether to keep or cancel these calls, but also on what potential changes you envision could make them more effective if they were to continue.

Please share your perspectives and ideas in the comments below. Your participation is crucial as we embark on this new phase of stewardship and governance.

How would you like to see the monthly stewards call improved to enhance engagement and effectiveness?

  • More Interactive Discussions: Shift focus from updates to interactive discussions and brainstorming sessions.
  • Breakout Groups: Implement smaller breakout groups to discuss specific topics in-depth.
  • Guest Speakers / Expert Panels: Invite guest speakers or organize expert panels to provide fresh perspectives.
  • Community-Led Topics: Allow community members to propose and lead discussions on topics of their interest.
  • Workshop Format: Convert some calls into workshops focusing on specific skills or knowledge areas relevant to our mission.
  • Frequency and Timing Adjustments: Change the frequency or timing of the calls for better participation.
0 voters

If you have any other ideas, suggestions or feedback - please comment!

Together Towards Better Governance

Our goal is to evolve our governance model into one that is more inclusive, engaging, and reflective of our collective vision. We value your input immensely as we navigate these decisions together.

Please share your thoughts, feedback, and ideas in the comments below. Your participation is key to our collective success and progress.

Looking forward to your insights and suggestions! wagmi. :green_heart:

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I would feel sad if these steward sync calls were cancelled altogether.

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Totally get it @PaigeDAO - can you let us know a bit more as to why? Working through the broader picture of what it means to have stewards and our community up to date and involved in a way that can result in separating signal vs noise is really important, and your insights can help us craft this more intentionally.

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Thank you for your interest in my further insights. I’ll do my best here to share thoughts and feelings to, hopefully, further this exploratory discussion.

Firstly, I’d like to say that I feel it is a privilege to be selected as a Gitcoin steward. I’m always proud to say that I have this role. It’s one of the great communities of this space and certainly one of the most dynamic.

Now for the steward sync calls - TBH I do look forward to these. It’s fun to get a sort of inside scoop on the inner workings of the Gitcoin machine. But… (said with utmost respect) I hardly feel that hearing the 7 minute reports from each workstream during the calls serves us optimally. 1) I don’t feel I’m in a position to offer any oversight. I know that this is the process used to justify the budget requests, but I can usually read through those and approve on the governance forum. 2) I can only imagine that this puts considerable pressure on the teams to summarize significant workloads into 7 minutes in a sort of ‘evaluation’ type of atmosphere. Not sure how much fun that is for the teams?

I’m more of the mind that it would be time well spent if we, as stewards, were used more as your eyes and ears on the ground as to what the community might want or need. We have a vocal community - another positive attribute and evidence for the healthy dynamic here - but each steward may have exposure to supra-Gitcoin tribes that could perhaps inform our overall productivity and addressable market.

By supra-Gitcoin I mean (since I just made that up) that as stewards some of us may be inclined to broaden our horizons or even perhaps laser target other sectors but don’t really feel that there’s an appropriate place to hash this out. It’s sort of BD but it’s also sort of just brainstorming amongst the trusted brain trust.

If Gitcoin would want us to sign some sort of confidentiality agreement to engage in such a way, I’d be open to doing so. With that last statement I just want to assure that this is more about having the lever to be a more engaged team player and not about using steward status to get privileged alpha in an extractive way.

Ok, so hope this isn’t too TL;DR. Just some off-the-top thoughts. Bottom line, I’d love the opportunity to get to know the workstream teams a bit better as people and not just worker bees. I participate in other communities, crypto and otherwise, where small breakout sessions of 2- 6 people, integrated during the larger group meeting, is a common format. This seems to facilitate more relaxed conversation and more human-to-human exchange and trust building. This is something I greatly appreciate and feel personally enriched by after such encounters.

In any case, thank you Team Gitcoin, for all that you do and keep doing for all of us.

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I really appreciate this chain of thought, I believe that the DAO can greatly benefit from

#1 Community led topics aligned with essential intents
#2 Action oriented interactive discussions

Aside these, I’d suggest letting members from the community experienced with governance to drive some of these action oriented discussions and generally operationalise governance strategy. The main aim would be to get many items which do not explicitly require leadership from the core to be outsourced to the community.

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@jengajojo, thanks for championing community-driven topics and discussions in our governance process.

I agree with your points, but I also want to emphasize that simply encouraging community members to take charge isn’t enough. What we really need is an effective form of leadership to transform these ideas into action. It’s about moving beyond suggestions and stepping up to guide these initiatives to fruition.

Your involvement could be highly impactful. Would you be open to joining me for a discussion to strategize further on this before our next steward governance design call?

I agree with you. I don’t know if the existing contributors have the time or background necessary to steward this, but I am happy to offer my leadership experience, back it with references and help the DAO in driving these ideas into actionable proposals and meaningful outcomes. Let’s discuss further in DMs :slight_smile:

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The current format, primarily focused on updates, may benefit from a rethink to enhance community interaction and involvement.

Perhaps one thing to consider is: why seek more interaction and involvement? What is the ultimate output that more interaction brings?

I raise this since I have been lurking in DAO boards to understand DAO interaction dynamics. (For this project)

More participation from ‘non experts’ seems to lead to higher noise levels and frustration (see this colorful discussion)

Another thing I have noticed is the obviously huge difference between voters and discussers. A typical post here may have 8 or 9 people commenting, but the eventual vote on snapshot will lead to 3,000 voters.

I raise this because it seems to me that:

  1. A single Proposer proposes
  2. A handful of Experts/ Technocrats discuss and give their point of view
  3. A few thousand Voters/ Delegators read the discussions
  4. A few thousand voters vote based on what they have read

I have been mulling over the above, and the only place I can see to add useful participation that is not noise, is Step 3 or 4.

Step 3 would be getting more readers (or viewers) if discussions are recorded
Step 4 would be getting more voters (or delegators)

These are just my thoughts - but I have been trying to understand:

  1. Do DAOs really need more participation in governance?
  2. If so, at which stage is more participation helpful and not noise?
  3. How can we add participation in those stages?
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I never directly responded to this @skyfoxx but I just want to share my appreciate for your thought process here. I have been asking many of the exact same questions and I don’t have all of the answers yet.

I will be busting out some more of my thoughts in the coming weeks and months and seeking feedback (including yours!).

Some things I have already started doing/thinking on:

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Attention Stewards!

Our next Steward call is on Monday December 11 at 5pm UTC. All Stewards (and those considering being Stewards) are welcome. Please make sure to check out “Staffing” section to ensure you qualify as a Steward.

Whether or not you can make the call, please fill out this feedback form by end of day Thursday, December 14th: https://forms.gle/Danbk4t1wsW3UF246

In this call we will be discussing how and why we want to meet, and generally collecting feedback so that our calls starting in 2024 are highly productive, beneficial to all participants, and maybe even a bit fun :slight_smile:

Here is the call information:

Gitcoin Monthly Stewards Sync
Monday, December 11 · 5:00 – 6:00pm
Time zone: Europe/Lisbon
Google Meet joining info
Video call link: https://meet.google.com/icd-qhya-pou
Or dial: ‪(PT) +351 21 121 1620‬ PIN: ‪224 890 548 1986‬#
More phone numbers: https://tel.meet/icd-qhya-pou?pin=2248905481986

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Are steward calls public domain? (Open to public attending as listeners)

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Yes, please feel free to attend

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Is there a role for the wider community to contribute to stewardship perhaps?

Particularly when it comes to processing round applicants there could be a useful signal provided.

Was really good to see some more transparency behind approvals/ denials for projects in the Climate Solutions round for example but many reviewers didn’t make their mark, probably due to time constraints or conflict of interest - not sure as the stewards/ reviewers are not publicly known, afaik.

Either way having more eyes on applications could ensure quality of projects and point out where there are inconsistencies.

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This is a great question. I’m not sure and would love for @M0nkeyFl0wer to chime about how this might apply directly to participation in GG application reviews.

I also appreciate your view on stewardship going beyond the realm of governance. I’m thinking that perhaps there is space to expand the definition of what it means to be a Steward at Gitcoin :slight_smile:

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Just an update here - Stewards joined me for a great call on Monday December 11th to discuss not just how we meet, but stewardship overall at Gitcoin.

Next week, I’ll be synthesizing call notes and opening up a larger conversation around how we should move forward as a DAO with respect to Stewardship.

Until then, if you’d like your voice heard as part of this conversation (and are a Steward or woud like to be a Steward), please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/Danbk4t1wsW3UF246 (new link)

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Introduction

On Monday, December 11, Gitcoin hosted its usual Monthly Steward Sync with a different agenda - to take a pause and figure out how to best use our time together each month. Though the main intention of the call was around how we’re meeting, what opened up was a much larger conversation about the role of Stewards at Gitcoin.

Miro board (now locked): Miro | Online Whiteboard for Visual Collaboration

Meeting Takeaways

Current Status and Challenges

We are blessed to have a dedicated and highly experienced community of Stewards who are passionate about Gitcoin. I’d like to identify a few key challenges to ensure that Stewards are meaningfully engaged in decision-making and governance.

1. Lack of clarity around Steward responsibilities:

This is an important place to start because I’m seeing and sensing that there are many definitions out there, and therefore different expectations of what a Steward’s roles and responsibilities are.

Are Stewards GTC token holders that comment and vote yes/no on proposals? Are they advisors? Consultants? Decision-makers? A mix of the above, or all of it? Who gets to be a Steward and who doesn’t?

Without an agreed upon definition, we face mismanaged expectations and misunderstandings about how Stewards can contribute meaningfully (leading to drop off and lower engagement).

2. Gap between desire to support and opportunities to support

As a beloved brand in the Web3, it is no surprise that Gitcoin finds itself with an abundance of highly experienced individuals ready to support us in any way needed.

That said, there are several mismatches here that have hampered Stewards’ ability to contribute:

a) Unidentified Problem Spaces

The DAO has not identified clear problem spaces for Stewards to step in and contribute.

b) Unproductive Past Engagements

Several instances where Stewards were brought in to support, it was found that the engagement was not as productive/helpful as hoped.

c) Decision rights or consultative role?

Whether Stewards should come in as consultants or as part of a working group with decision rights has not been distinguished (relates to a lack of clarity around roles & resp).

d) Lack of Driver

There is no “driver” or coordination layer to identify problem spaces, brief Stewards, and then create accountability for delivering (though there is a now a Governance Coordinator who can help shore this gap).

e) Going fast vs. going far

The basic heuristic being followed is:
Less governance = moving faster
More governance = more robust ecosystem

Right now, the DAO is pursuing PMF for its 3 biggest bets - Passport, Allo and Grants Stack. In the pursuit of PMF, the name of the game is to move and move quickly.

There is a natural tension here - a desire for Stewards to contribute (and even get compensated) for their contributions and a DAO’s leadership team that would rather focus on the big problems in front of them without external stakeholders who may lack context to support in a meaningful way.

Bonus: Gap in Decentralization perspectives.

This was not flagged in the conversation, but I believe it is a heuristic that is currently at play causing tension for Stewards. I’m seeing a gap that exists between where Gitcoin is along the path to decentralization (not far at all) and the external perceptions of the DAO on its path to decentralization (quite far along).

Put in the fact that other DAOs are investing lots of time, energy and resources into building out decentralized governance structures, no wonder we have a Steward base that is eager to contribute and a DAO that is unclear about how those Stewards can plug in.

From a recent post:

But our decentralization is progressive - I do not believe that making this transition is a good idea at this time, but I do believe that in the next 3-7 years using Gitcoin to fund Gitcoin should be a goal.

Proposed Path Forward

To address these challenges, I suggest Gitcoin takes the following steps to improve meaningful Steward engagement:

  • Define clear Steward responsibilities: Work with CSDO and Gitcoin Stewards to create a comprehensive document that clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of Stewards. This should include expectations for participation in discussions, proposal reviews, and other governance activities.
    • Side note: we will also explore the use of the title “Steward” since this word can be easily misconstrued to be beyond the scope of the original intention of a Gitcoin Steward.
  • Provide comprehensive onboarding and training:
    • New Stewards: We will design and offer a structured onboarding and training program for new Stewards. This program will cover the basics of Gitcoin governance (tools, processes, etc.), as well as specific skills and knowledge that Stewards will need to be effective.
    • Old Stewards: Resurface key internal strategic docs & positioning to help them understand who Gitcoin is now (vs. who they were in the past) and share governance documentation around Steward roles & responsibilities
  • Identify problem spaces for Steward support: Work with the CSDO team to identify problem spaces that can be either consulted on or decided by Gitcoin Stewards.
  • Explore incentives for Steward engagement: Once problem spaces have been identified, an exploration will be conducted around introducing incentives for Stewards to participate in governance. This could include financial rewards, recognition, or access to exclusive benefits.

Conclusion

I’m hopeful that by addressing these challenges and implementing these strategies, Gitcoin can create a more inclusive, engaged, and effective governance structure that leverages the collective wisdom of its community of Stewards to drive the project’s success.

Please leave any comments/questions/feedback you have about anything above. This post is intended to be part of a larger conversation about Stewardship at Gitcoin.


Appendix A: Notes from the Call

Stewards want to help make decisions and create outputs

  • “Outputs (report) should be succinct & not overly verbose”
  • “Every call should have inputs (Information) and Outputs (Decisions or Concrete Next Actions)”
  • “Async context in advance (Loom?), then discussion on live call if needed”
  • “KPIs, Action items needed by stewards, runway, budget vs actual”
  • “Specific asks of the stewards (e.g., we’re hiring for X role, help us)”

Less products, more org strategy & governance (and GG as well)

  • “- big discussions and debates on calls. ie strategy and future forward thinking”
  • “Less tactical updates. Those can be provided in a memo before a call”
  • “guided discussions on controversial gov & comms topics”
  • What are you particularly interested in at Gitcoin?

Less updates, more breakouts

  • “One high-context person giving a TLDR on the highest level updates”
  • “- bullet point updates in advance”
  • “Async context in advance (Loom?), then discussion on live call if needed”

Less frequent, more impactful meetings

  • Open to changing to every 2 months or every quarter
  • Every month also still works (as long as there is something to discuss)

Steward incentivisation is a concern

  • Not all Stewards agree, but it is a factor for some
  • Doesn’t necessarily have to be payment, can be IRL meets, etc.
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Thanks for the detailed update @CoachJonathan !

Id like to propose another path forward. This is consider feedback:

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, we should study whats working at other DAOs + maybe fork their governance processes. I’d start at other public goods DAOS like Giveth, Optimism, and ENS… but defer the ultimate list to you.

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What are you seeing are some alternative paths that those orgs are taking (and are “getting right”) that is not present in the notes?

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Makes a lot of sense. I personally like to go to first principles to be clear of:

  1. The core problem the DAO wants to solve (or thing it wants to produce)
    E.g. more participation so that → so that → so that ->…

  2. The constraints on how it’s allowed to solve the core problem

By constraints, I mean being clear on things like:

  1. Must it involve n number of people in any decision?
  2. What obligations does it owe the stake-holders?
    a) . Must they be consulted on decisions involving the treasury
    b) . Must they be informed on daily minutia of operations
    3) . When do they need to vote on certain decisions and when can they be bypassed

Finally, the constraints need strong reasons for being there. For example, legally binding constraints need to be kept.


After this, it becomes easier to go through possible options, because each option can be evaluated for:

  1. Does it help us solve our problem better/ more efficiently
  2. Is it in line with our operating constraints

I like this quote:

In that, it’s reflecting on the output of the activity itself. They why.

Gitcoin is one of my favorite DAOs in how it does business. I see other DAOs struggle by producing additional complexity that actually reduces their intended output. I even wonder which of the following is better for DAO members to vote on:

  1. Decisions (should we do x or y)
  2. Outcomes (we want a 10% treasury growth p.a.)
  3. Priorities (we value treasury growth over business growth)
  4. Technocrats (we want these 5 experts to make decisions this year)
  5. A mix of Priorities and Technocrats (we want these 5 experts to focus on these 3 things this quarter)

An interesting subject to be sure. Would love to participate in any exploration.

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