Idea time incentives

Incentive approach for executing ideas using time based compensation


Idea time incentives mean the proposals will detail out how an idea is going to be executed and what time they are looking to be compensated for to make progress on executing that idea. The proposal may not intend to fully execute the idea and could just be funded for a certain time period of execution efforts. This incentive approach could work without the tasks and steps involved in idea execution being fully planned out. However for this example we will assume that proposals always have a plan of what will be executed. The only guarantee this proposal is making is that a certain amount of time will be directed towards executing an idea with the time based contributions efforts made from any people working on that idea. The contributors involved are not being mandated to achieve a certain outcome over that time period. The contributors will receive compensation for their contribution time and not the exact outputs. Instead they are required to provide logs of their contribution efforts to showcase what has been achieved over each period of time. Proposers would submit another proposal to request future funding to continue executing the same idea once the allocated time from the previous proposal has been used up.

Low budgeting complexity (Score - 4)

  • Budget planning complexity - Proposals would only need to specify the total amount of time that they will be spending on executing an idea. This total time could equate to what is needed to execute the idea fully or it could just help with executing a certain amount of an idea such as with 3 or 6 month time periods. If the proposal is stating a total completion time there is complexity in getting this value right as many factors could change that increase or decrease the time it takes to execute an idea. Planning is simple for a time based approach as contributors are paid for the time they allocate to executing the idea. The contributors may state what they believe will be the total time it will take to execute that idea however if this is wrong compensation would still be distributed based on the total time they have contributed. The main complexity for budget planning with this approach would be for situations where the contributor tries to estimate the total time they believe it will take to execute the different parts of the idea.

  • Execution scope risks - If the contributors complete the work faster than what was stated then they are incentivised to continue making efforts towards future work to receive the next round of compensation. This can help with aligning the incentive for contributors to improve or extend the work they have started in situations where it didn’t take as long as expected. Another benefit of this approach for budgeting is that if the contributors were funded for a few ideas and one of these was completed in a shorter time than anticipated then the incentive for those ideas could then be immediately used to support the other ideas execution efforts. The main execution scope risks are that an idea might not get completed in the time that the contributors have been funded for.

Low voter decision complexity (Score - 4)

  • Ease of understanding - Ideas can still be planned out with the tasks and steps involved with executing an idea. The exact time taken and budget being allocated to each step is what isn’t required using contributor time based incentives. It would not be very difficult to understand the budgets of each idea if the salary or hourly rate is provided. Voters would be able to use existing industry data about salary ranges against different roles and experience levels to determine whether the requested values are fair and reasonable. Voters could also reflect on the tasks involved in the ideas execution to determine if the complexity of the idea matches the skill and compensation being requested.

  • Ease of comparison - It will be far easier to compare proposals when time incentives are used as the voters will be able to see the compensation requested for each individual involved in the idea based on the time and amount of compensation being requested. This makes it easy for voters to compare ideas and see which ones are fair and reasonable for the complexity of the idea that they would be working on.

Low governance complexity (Score - 4)

  • Incentive distribution risks - With time based incentives the disbursement process could be set up to compensate the individuals directly from the treasury based on the idea proposal requests. Distribution of compensation going straight to individuals helps to remove the risks around a central actor controlling funds and reduce the risk around disputes occurring when a multisig approach is used.

  • Size of compensation risk - Idea funded proposals could request funding beyond what is needed for compensating the initial contributors involved. For instance funding could be requested to help fund future contributors. The risk of misusing these funds increases with the amount of funds that contributors are able to request. The larger the available incentive is the higher the likelihood that people might be willing to try and abuse the disbursement process for self gain. Sufficient checks and balances will be needed to ensure transparent and verifiable usage of funds.

  • Community moderation complexity - Community governance would help with identifying which ideas are not being executed well so that more competent contributors can be selected in future decisions. Having individual monthly contribution logs will keep everyone in each team accountable for executing work that they stated they will and also make it far easier for the community to compare the performance of different contributors across the ecosystem.

Moderate game theory risks (Score - 3)

  • Proposal submissions - There is an incentive for contributors to submit multiple ideas to increase their chance of receiving compensation. Ideas can come in many sizes so a disbursement process restricting contributors to only one idea submission could be limiting. In contrast if the process accepts multiple ideas from the same contributors this means that there is a higher complexity for voters to compare and select from these.

  • Proposal details - There is an incentive to exaggerate the amount of time it would take to execute the tasks involved in an idea to receive more compensation than the actual effort required. As contribution logs would be submitted monthly it will be easier to compare submissions and identify which contributors are not performing as well as others by comparing their execution outputs with other contributors. However the risk that contributors still try to do this would still be an ongoing concern and consideration.

  • Execution verification - Proposers would be required to submit evidence to prove they have completed a month's worth of execution efforts. The main way that the contributors could try to exploit this process for their benefit is by claiming they did the work of someone else in a milestone and using that as evidence or by claiming that the work they did complete took a month when in fact it took less than a month.

  • Malicious voters - Malicious groups of voters that are trying to benefit themselves would have a larger incentive and ability to get access to more funding compared to just contributor incentives as the compensation for an idea could be budgeted to exceed the costs of the contributors salaries that are suggesting the proposal. The excess in costs could be misused to benefit the proposers.

  • Voting outcomes - Voters have the personal incentive of voting on things that will benefit them. The risk of this occurring at a wider scale is that novel research and innovation that does not immediately benefit the voter does not get actively supported. This could just be because the potential impact of this work is not easily understood due to its complexity or novelty. It could be difficult to get the community to widely agree on every idea that should be supported that could have the potential to generate large amounts of impact.

Low contribution flexibility (Score - 2)

  • Changing an existing idea - A contributor could change how they execute an idea as much as they need to as they have not committed to any specific execution milestones and instead must allocate a period of time towards executing the idea. There is no added complexity for contributors to change how an existing idea gets executed.

  • Contributing to a different idea - For other funded ideas a contributor would need to come to some agreement with those other contributors about how they will be compensated and how they will work under their allocated incentives. This approach is not very flexible for enabling contributors to work on different ideas.

  • Contributing to a different priority - The contributor would need to get funding for an idea that addresses the other priority or come to some agreement with another team who already has funding for an idea that is addressing the different priority. This approach is not very flexible for enabling contributors to work on different priorities.

  • Incentive complexities - A contributor looking to contribute towards a different idea would need to determine how much compensation is needed for them to contribute to those idea and then also come to some form of agreement with the other contributors who were funded for that idea. Budgeting for this correctly could be difficult to get right due to many changing factors that could influence how long they actually spend contributing to these other ideas.

  • Moderation complexity - No approval process is needed for contributors to change how they are executing an existing idea. For situations where contributors want to help with another funded idea this is up to the other contributors that they need to come to an agreement with. This means a community approval process wouldn't be needed.

Moderate income stability (Score - 3)

  • Likelihood of future income - Being selected for one idea will not result in any high certainty that the contributor will have their future ideas get selected. The contributor will need to identify the most promising ideas that might get selected and then request to join those proposals if they want to increase the chances that they receive future compensation.

  • Compensation accuracy - Contributors would be paid for their time spent executing the funded idea. The compensation can be set and agreed ahead of time in the ideas proposal meaning there should be a high stability around the actual income they receive whilst they are working on that funded idea.

Total score = 20 / 30

Last updated