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Advice Process

(freely adopted from 'Reinventing Organizations' by Frédéric Laloux)

Giveth, as a decentralized organization, relies on the principles of self-management. Giveth is a team of individuals with aligned values who decide to act together towards a common purpose. We have different backgrounds, expertise, methodologies and mental frameworks, and through self-management we are tapping into the potential of such different perspectives to solve Giveth's challenges.

Advice Process is used whenever proposing an action or making a decision that will have an impact on the community. Any decision, big or small, should use Advice Process. Before formally making a proposal, it is important to get feedback from the people it will impact, and from the person who has the most relevant expertise around the subject. The intentions are to improve proposals before they are made, preemptively resolve conflicts and to inform related parties. Compromise is a great solution, but not always plausible. The advice process allows objections to be heard and for proposal creators to consider the potential consequences before taking action.

Everyone is empowered to make proposals but must consider that they will also be held accountable for the effects of the outcome. However, if Advice Process has been followed, there will be an idea of the reasons why one takes an initiative and all affiliated parties will have contributed to bring the initiative to the best possible outcome (or to not start it at all). If the proposal fails or has challenging consequences after properly using Advice Process it is therefore hard to fault the instigator for trying. It's OK to fail, as long as you do it properly!

Where does Advice Process happen?

Our most active channel for discussion is the Giveth Forum. Advice Process can be implemented publicly or privately; however, to remain aligned with our value of transparency, we heavily encourage community discussion to remain in public channels whenever appropriate to do so.

With this system, tensions might arise over whether a decision was made properly or not. Therefore, in order to decentralize power there needs to be a process to which one can refer. This process ensures that, even if there are disagreements with a proposal, it was made with the best intentions for the organization and has taken into account feedback and advice from all relevant parties.

The Advice Process Flow:

  1. Ideation:

    In ideation, problems or opportunities are taken on by the person who notices them, or deferred to someone better-qualified. Self-management implies responsibility. Tensions are not passed along a hierarchy as in traditional organizations, but are rather addressed by the person with the necessary energy or expertise.

    Channels: The channel for communication in this phase is open. This can be informal so chat, make time for a call, have discussions, fireside chats, generate ideas.

  1. Sounding / Meta thinking:

    Prior to a creating a proposal, the decision-maker may seek input to "sound out" perspectives before proposing action. This is the stage where ideas can be tested against other people's sentiments.

    Some questions to ask:

    • Am I generating value if I pursue this idea?
    • Is this a problem that I want to spend my time on?
    • Am I right in my assumptions and aligned with other people's views about the issue?
    • What are the possible options I can suggest and what are the caveats that I need to solve before I present an action?

    Channels: The communication channel for this phase is also informal, as above.

  2. Advice:

    The initiator makes a proposal and seeks advice from those affected and those with expertise.

    For minor decisions, there may be no need to seek advice. For larger decisions, advice can come through various channels, including one-on-one conversations, meetings, or broader community discussions.

    There is no specific time frame to gather advice. It will depend on the scope of the decision.

    Channels: If it is a minor decision, you can consult individuals or the group via Discord. For larger decisions, our Snapshot is the place to create formal proposals.

    It is your responsibility to reach out to related parties, depending on the importance of the proposal.

  3. Decision Making:

    Taking advice into account, the proposal is made and its creator informs those who have given advice.

    Channels: Announcements can be made in the Giveth Discord, community call and/or governance call.

Benefits (from Reinventing Organizations website):

  • Community: It draws people whose advice is sought into the question at hand. They learn about the issue. The sharing of information reinforces the feeling of community. The person whose advice is sought feels honoured and needed.
  • Humility: Asking for advice is an act of humility, which is one of the most important characteristics of a fun workplace. The act alone says, "I need you". The decision maker and the adviser are pushed into a closer relationship. This makes it nearly impossible for the decision-maker to ignore the advice.
  • Learning: Making decisions is on-the-job education. Advice comes from people who have an understanding of the situation and care about the outcome. No other form of education or training can match this real-time experience.
  • Better decisions: The chances of reaching the best decision are greater than under conventional top-down approaches. The proposal maker has the advantage of being closer to the issue and has to deal with the consequences of the proposal outcome. Advice provides diverse input, uncovering important issues and new perspectives.
  • Fun: The process is just plain fun for the decision-maker, because it mirrors the joy found in playing team sports. The advice process stimulates initiative and creativity, which are enhanced by the wisdom from knowledgeable people elsewhere in the organization.

Underlying mindsets (adapted from Reinventing Organizations website):

Advice Process is a tool that helps decision-making via collective intelligence. Much depends on the spirit in which people approach it. When the advice process is introduced, it might be worthwhile to consider not only the mechanics but also the mindset underlying effective use.

Advice Process can proceed in several ways, depending on the mindset people bring to it:

  • The initiator can approach it authoritatively ("I don't care about what others have said" or, alternatively, "I fully comply with what others have said").
  • They can approach from a perspective of negotiation or compromise ("I'll do some of what they say so they're happy, but I will feel a little frustrated").
  • They can approach it co-creatively, which is the spirit of the advice process ("I will listen to others, understand the real need in what they say, and think creatively about an elegant solution").


This document is not:

  • A process to run governance meetings: as a decentralized organization, there are challenges with making decisions in a confined time slot. The governance meeting should be seen as the right moment to engage in some stages of Advice Process and make decisions if all the affected parties are present.
  • A dispute mechanism: Giveth is currently in the process of redefining our conflict resolution process.. Stay tuned!
  • A stone tablet of rules: this document has been created through Advice Process and it can be modified by it as well.