The Creation of a Deep Funding Community Focus Group. 

Author: jan Published: July 13, 2023

As defined from the start, Deep Funding is a community-driven Grant Program where anyone can submit a proposal, and where the community decides which proposals get awarded. But along the way, we have also made steps to involve the community in the governance of the Deep Funding Program itself. Ultimately the goal is for Deep Funding to be completely ‘community-driven’’, and it’s our task to explore and define what this will look like and how we can empower the community to be fully in charge, while at the same time ensuring sustainability of the treasury, alignment to the Mission and Vision of Singularitynet and the growth and flourishing of the Decentralized AI Platform. 

By continuously experimenting with conditions, processes, and tools, Deep Funding aims to build a resilient organization that harnesses the power of a decentralized, well-informed and engaged community. In this article, we present the latest experiment: 

The creation of a Community Focus Group. 
Deep Funding plans to organize a ‘Focus Group’ of community members.
The goal of this Focus Group is to be an intermediary between the community and the internal Deep Funding staff in an advisory capacity. 

The Focus Group will be a sparring partner and advisory body to the Deep Funding staff. To the wider community, the Focus Group will be a source of information that explains the ideas and initiatives being discussed internally by the Deep Funding staff. In turn, the Focus group will collect solicited and unsolicited feedback and insights from the community. 

Current relation and engagement with the community.
We have always been very grateful and appreciative of the involvement of our community. In our journey to find the optimal way to engage, we have created governance-related ‘missions’ on our ideation platform, have conducted regular, bi-weekly community meetings, and started a sequence of Community Governance rounds where the community could submit and vote on proposals for changes of the rules of Deep Funding.
In the meetings themselves, we have conducted some ‘light’ experiments in decision-making by introducing polls, or by searching for consensus. 

We learned a number of things:
We often left these sessions with enthusiasm ánd with new insights. Talking about new initiatives and ideas with community members often uncovered surprising perspectives and well-substantiated alternative positions. In that sense, these meetings have been a true enrichment. 

When it comes to decision-making, the outcomes are more diffuse. Often, there would not be consensus. We learned that, even in a live setting with a small number of participants, it makes a huge difference in how a question is exactly formulated and how convincing the host is in positioning the topic and his personal opinion. While we are truly blessed with a number of open-minded and independent thinkers, a single prominent voice can sometimes sway the opinion in a certain direction. Some members are very vocal, while others prefer to stay in the background. Besides all this, we also learned that an hour and a half, or even 2 hours or longer is often not enough to get into sufficient depth on all items on the agenda. Also, participation from one event to the next will differ, and until now we have not succeeded sufficiently in driving these discussions outside the online events. 

We experienced that the community governance sessions are great ideation and feedback sessions, but less suitable for decision-making. We also think that the community interaction could benefit from some more depth at times, as well as better documentation of topics, insights, and outcomes. 

The new situation
In this atmosphere, we have come up with the new initiative of a Focus Group. We hope that this Focus Group will lead to the following benefits compared to the current situation: 

  • With a smaller, but diverse and more consistent group of people, we could dig deeper into some topics,
  • Important topics can be prepared and defined in a format that could be offered to the wider community for feedback or a vote.
  • With a smaller, selected group we would be better able to continue the discussions in between meetings.
  • This Focus Group, in turn, could inform the wider community by means of documentation, presentations, Q&A on social media, and larger but less frequent, meetings (perhaps the Town Halls).

In this setting, the internal team would interact more closely with a smaller number of people, on a regular basis. Of course, there would still be room for the internal team to participate in wider community events, AMAs, etc. 

The future
We don’t know how this will evolve. The first Focus Group will be selected, but once we have an improved and matured voting mechanism that does not only rely on tokens but also takes participation and contributions into account, it seems a straightforward step -in a future iteration- to have at least part of the Focus Group elected by the community. And with such a mandate, the Focus Group could evolve into a representative body that can weigh in on decisions in a more formalized way. 

Together with the appointed members we will fine-tune and develop our way of working and the tasks we will engage in. We will offer a modest payment to give the Focus Group members some compensation for their time. This compensation may vary a bit depending on the tasks done. If certain members have more substantial tasks than others we will try to express this in the compensation as well. We can grow the compensation over time, as the Focus group matures, and the added value of the FG to the Deep Funding program and the responsibilities of the members of the group increase. 

To give an indication of the possible tasks:

  • Attend bi-weekly meetings and provide feedback to initiatives and offer new suggestions or proposals
  • Continuation of the discussions online with the internal team
  • Conduct some research if the topics require this
  • Document topics and outcomes for the community and for future FG members
  • Organize some wider community feedback events
  • Prepare for voting events
  • Collect community feedback in other ways.

As a starting point, we aim for 10$ p/h worth of AGIX in compensation. Part of this could be a static, fixed amount and part could be variable based on tasks done. In case special tasks surface that require additional time, responsibility, or special expertise, the basic hourly rate can be increased by mutual agreement.

Next steps.
We have published this form with some questions, where interested community members can apply to become a member of the Focus Group. The form will close on Sunday 23 July, providing that a sufficient number of submissions have been made.

We are looking forward to seeing your responses!

The Deep Funding Team 


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