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Idea process

Overview about the importance of a idea process for disbursement
The idea process is concerned with identifying the initiatives that could help address the existing priorities or generate impact for the ecosystem. Contributors can suggest ideas to get feedback and collaborate with the ecosystem. The idea process aims to help with identifying the most promising ideas that should be executed by contributors in the ecosystem. The community should be able to respond to these suggested ideas with their preferences, feedback and opinions on which ideas could be the most promising for generating impact in the ecosystem.
Inspiration for promising ideas can come from many sources. One important source of inspiration will be the knowledge process where community members are able to reflect on the available knowledge of what is happening inside and outside the ecosystem and then consider which ideas could generate impact for the ecosystem. One example could be a contributor spotting functionality or approaches that have proven to be effective in another ecosystem that could also then be integrated into the ecosystems own applications. Another important source of inspiration will be the priorities that the community has suggested and selected. The idea process can help with capturing and recording the different ideas shared in the ecosystem and then help with supporting the collaborative efforts needed to determine which ideas have the most promising potential outcomes. An idea process can benefit from being flexible and enabling ideas to change as preferences, information and the surrounding environment changes over time.

Process steps

  • Identifying promising ideas - Communities will need to apply the available knowledge they have about what is happening inside and outside the ecosystem to understand the current landscape of what ideas already exist, what is being worked on and what other areas could be explored. Using this information the community can start to suggest and define different ideas that could be executed to address the priorities that exist or that could generate impact for the ecosystem. The identification of new ideas could happen at any point in time. Some ideas could be fully planned out ahead of time with all of the potential intersecting ideas. Others could be more difficult to fully plan out where they instead could often change and adapt over time as the idea is executed and new learnings are made.
  • Creating ideas - Creating well thought through ideas requires a sufficient understanding of the opportunity or problem that the idea is focused on. Having the right experience and skill sets will help in being able to properly break down an idea into the required steps of execution. Contributors who are creating ideas will need to consider information such as the complexity of the idea, how long it might take to execute, what evidence there is that it could be impactful for the ecosystem, what skills would be needed to execute the idea and how any outcomes of that idea could be potentially measured. Contributors can share their idea with the wider community to get feedback on the intended use cases and value proposition of the idea. This process of sharing ideas can help with identifying the projects which share any mutual problems and opportunities. For instance two projects could both benefit from a certain utility software library from being created and decide to collaborate on the planning and execution of that idea to prevent duplicated efforts.
  • Selecting ideas - There are many ideas that could help with addressing ecosystem priorities or generating impact. Effort is needed to properly articulate and document how one idea could be effective for addressing different priorities. Community members that are participating in the selection of the most promising ideas will need to be able to compare these suggested ideas against the existing priorities and any other opportunities for generating impact to determine which of these ideas is the most promising for the ecosystem to allocate more attention and resources towards.
  • Maintaining ideas - As ideas are executed there is new information that emerges such as new learnings that will influence how the idea gets executed over time. External factors and changing environments and preferences could also influence how an idea evolves and gets executed as it progresses. An ecosystem can benefit from seeing how and why different ideas are changing over time.
  • Measuring outcomes - Understanding what impact an executed idea has produced is inherently complicated due to the wide range of ways an idea could be executed and the range of factors that could influence whether a solution has generated impactful outcomes or not. An ecosystem will benefit from getting better at measuring the impact of executed ideas so that these learnings can be fed back into the disbursement process to improve future decision making and contribution efforts.

Desirable outcomes

  • Detailed idea information - Ideas can be complex and require a lot of information to effectively articulate how that idea could be executed and what benefits it would bring against other ideas and approaches. The idea submission process will benefit from the encouraging proposers to provide a sufficient depth of information to justify why their ideas are well thought out and promising solutions.
  • Feasible ideas - Some ideas can sound fantastic on paper but could be overly complex or impractical to execute. An idea process will need to encourage the submission of ideas that are practical and achievable over ideas that over promise and are not realistic. One potential solution area for handling problems around feasibility could be the inclusion of a reputation based approach so voters are aware of the previous track record of idea proposers and how often the ideas they suggest have been feasibly executed and resulted in impactful outcomes.
  • Inclusive - There are often many different ideas that could help with addressing the existing priorities in an ecosystem. Those ideas can have different trade offs and implications. Ecosystems can benefit from inviting the submission of a diversity of different ideas for the ecosystem to consider and iterate on. Incentives will need to consider the trade offs of being inclusive and inviting wider participation whilst also making a practical process that doesn’t become overwhelming with too many ideas.
  • Supports idea development - Too many ideas that lack sufficient justification could result in the need for a moderation process so that proposals meet a readiness or quality threshold. A multi step process for idea submission could help with handling ideas that are in a draft state before a final version is submitted. An idea process could benefit from increasing the amount of collaboration between contributors when suggesting and iterating on different ideas to help with team building and merging overlapping ideas together.
  • Timely submissions - New ideas could emerge at any point and could offer a novel approach for generating impact for the ecosystem. Due to this an idea process can benefit from encouraging people to submit ideas at any stage to start some collaboration efforts and discussion around those ideas.
  • Aligned with addressing priorities - Priorities can often get addressed through the execution of promising ideas. The systems and processes used for idea submission and selection can help with increasing the alignment of contributors with suggesting ideas that can help with addressing important priorities. The idea process will also need to be careful to not to exclude ideas that don’t align with the existing priorities as these efforts could still be highly impactful and innovative.
  • Well maintained information - The idea process can benefit from encouraging contributors to keep information about an idea up to date so the ecosystem is well informed about what is happening regarding any idea being executed. This information could include any reports about progress and completion, community feedback and discussion and any justifications about why the execution outcomes of some ideas are changing due to new learnings of information.
  • Improved decision making - Keeping information up to date during the execution of an idea can help with improving future decision making as voters could become more informed about how well the progress is going for the different ideas being executed across the ecosystem.
  • Reallocation of contribution effort - Some ideas will generate large amounts of impact for an ecosystem whereas others may struggle and become stagnant. It can be difficult to know ahead of time whether an idea will truly get the right response and adoption and then generate high levels of impact. It is due to this variability in what could actually happen that contributors will benefit from being able to be more flexible in how they execute ideas and what ideas they work on. New and relevant information could also be added to the ideas being executed which could help with making it easier for contributors to identify when there is an opportunity to generate more impact for the ecosystem by focussing on a different idea. The idea process can benefit from considering how it makes it easy for contributors to add and maintain important information about ideas so they can then more easily realign their contribution efforts towards the ideas that help generate the most impact.
  • Impactful ideas get executed - The idea process should help with encouraging contributors to identify and execute the most promising ideas that could generate the most impact for the ecosystem.
  • Measurable outcomes - Executed ideas that can demonstrate the impact they have generated will be useful for keeping voters well informed when making future disbursement decisions about where to disburse treasury assets.

Concerns

  • Availability of contributors to execute - The execution of promising ideas can only happen when suitable contributors are available to help with the contribution efforts required. The idea process will need to consider how the most promising ideas will also have the right contributors to help with the execution efforts. This factor will also mean an idea process will need to consider how many ideas should practically be encouraged and selected based on the actual capacity and funding available to compensate contributors who could then execute those ideas.
  • Leadership - Complex ideas that are larger in scope might need the right leadership in place to ensure the execution of an idea is as intended and that problems are mitigated and resolved more effectively. An idea process will want to consider how leadership forms around ideas being suggested and how that leadership might need to change over time.
  • Idea information complexity - Ideas can require a lot of information to explain and justify why the solution is promising. There is a risk that an idea process becomes overwhelmed with too many ideas and information if it does not effectively incentivise and encourage the submission of high quality submissions instead of a growing number of average submissions. Disbursement processes will need to think about how these ideas can be more easily communicated in a way that a sufficiently wide audience can interpret and understand what is being suggested and executed. Achieving this will be important for an ecosystem to make more informed decisions about how to disburse funds.
  • Accurate information updates - Much of the information that gets added to an idea will focus on what is being executed over time. This information can be added by the contributors that are working on that idea. The idea process will need to consider how it encourages and verifies that these information updates are honest and correct. There is a risk that if the incentives are closely attached to ideas it could create a stronger incentive for contributors to exaggerate or lie when communicating how well an ideas execution is going if that meant it increased their chances of future compensation.
  • Changing idea complexity - New information and knowledge or changing priorities can quickly influence whether an idea continues to make sense or not in the current environment. Ideas might need to change how they are executed due to this new information or learnings. An idea process can influence whether ideas can easily change and adapt over time and what processes are involved for making these changes. The idea process will need to be flexible enough to ensure contributors are able to respond to changing factors and environments and align their contribution efforts with making as much impact as possible.
  • Stifling other forms of innovation - There are risks around stifling innovation if the selection of ideas that get executed are decided by a larger community. The larger the group of voters the higher the risk there is of groupthink and a reduction in awareness of the different ideas that might have been suggested. The idea process will need to be careful that it does not stifle innovation and novel ideas from being explored and executed.
  • Idea selection complexity - As the number of ideas increase over time the complexity in choosing between those ideas can often also increase. This can make governance more complex as these ecosystems try to scale as the same voters would need to compare and vote on a larger number of ideas over time. The idea process will benefit from removing the duplication of ideas where possible and finding ways to keep ideas concise but sufficiently detailed so they can be easily compared with other ideas.