Today the unMonastery made a post on medium summarising many of the major developments around unMonastery that have been ongoing over the past months - in it we announced the formation of an organisation intended to support ongoing work and create a legible mechanism by which others can participate in a meaningful way.
In a way this signals something of a growing up or a move towards a more workable model that can effectively support the work of those inside and outside of the org in establishing unMonasteries - you can read that post here but I wanted to also share the core document for the organisation on discourse so that it can be examined further, discussed and potentially improved.
The unMonastery Deep Time Bank
Overview Document V1.0
Given the decision to use active time as a means of gauging engagement, we’ve woven this mechanism into the overall fabric of the organisation - tentatively named at this stage The unMonastery Deep Time Bank.
Hopefully most of us are familiar with the concept of timebanks but if you’re not please see this article. Timebanks support the recognition of time and effort put in within a local area, or in this case, in service to a shared project. They in part create a parallel economy, using time as the medium of exchange, and put often underused assets and capacity to work meeting specific, common needs, and by doing so make connections between people built upon a sense of trust..
Some of the reasons for filtering membership requirements through a time bank mechanism that reflects the current distributed nature of unMonastery’s work:
- The shared effort via a different form of economics mirrors the unMonastery ethos.
- Anyone who finds time for the project can join.
- Fresh, active blood gets quick access to the central decision making organ.
- It makes visible and transparent the work that is being done by everyone to further our collective goals and ensures others can acknowledge, remain cognisant and evaluate the work of others.
- It provides a mechanism that can contribute to long term growth.
- It sets strong foundations for an organisation that rewards and ensures collective ownership for those who put in coordinated effort. Since it keeps participation permeable, this will prevent ambiguous interpretation of the ‘rules’ for participation on the part of those already attached to the organisation and provide clarity on involvement.
- It gives us the ability to assess and coordinate where the core resources of the initiative are being spent and makes everyone conscious of each other’s investment.
- It enables us to allocate resources where they’re needed if we see that there are potentially a lot of committed unspent hours in the bank, as well as alerting us to the risk of burnout and resource depletion when making decisions about large events or ventures.
- It allows us to track, archive and ensure public attribution for the overall work done by individuals over time. In the spirit of unMonastery Analytics, we believe that tracking this kind of information will allow us as a whole to make better, more informed decisions.
How will this work in practice?
We’re going to start with a simple straightforward approach to see if this works.
Every 2 months you (and every other member) will receive an automated email asking you to log your time and activities - this shouldn’t take more than 5/10 minutes - and will be done with a simple form we will be sharing with you soon.
Once you fill this form in and submit it, it will automatically be added to a community spreadsheet (you are also free to do this more regularly if you wish).
Later if we find this to be an effective form for the organisation we will most likely build it out on the blockchain using Ethereum or similar.
What if I exaggerate my contribution?
This system is based on trust, but to ensure that there is some degree of accountability every 6 months you may be asked to review a number of people’s contributions - as will everyone else in the organisation. You will need to sign off that each tally appears legitimate, and to query if it seems off or disproportionate to the contribution described. Who reviews who will be selected at random, and each person’s logged hours will be countersigned by 2 people.
This doesn’t sound exactly like a time bank!
This is more like a venture capital fund that invests hours rather than capital. Which is very close to the Social Capital 4 Social Ventures that Vinay Gupta proposed at EdgeRyder’s LOTE2. Where it differs slightly is that this time fund is concerned exclusively with investing in a single thing, the unMonastery’s progression.
What if I only contribute 74 hours?
You’ll risk being removed from the register of members for that year...
However, given that there will be scouting trips, unMonasteries to build and a large unSummit each year that will require much work, it is likely that you’ll easily fulfil the 100 hour quota. Perhaps most importantly though, being part of the unMonastery organ(isation) is not a prerequisite for working on unMonastery related activity - so it shouldn’t affect operations too much.
Why only unpaid hours?
unMonastery is an open source project; many open source projects have over time been significantly undermined and essentially been absorbed by the market when large companies and corporations pay their staff to contribute to the code base. Over time these individuals by proxy tend to shape open source projects in the interest of their companies, rather than a public good. It also changes the culture of the project and power balance between those earning and those essentially volunteering. unMonastery is a life of service, not a start up.
Whilst this may not be a threat for unMonastery at this stage, we believe it’s important to set the tone now in line with the original aims for unMonastery to “work outside of existing economic fictions.”
What do I do if I can’t find anything to actively contribute my time to?
Right now this shouldn’t really be an issue, given the amount of work that’s needed with activities - but we’ve found quite often that those doing a lot of work, can find it difficult to handover tasks or onboard people into processes.
To alleviate this we’re taking a couple of steps in the next weeks to give some more legible and accessible structure to working on projects and areas of focus - we’ll start by making an opening slack channel that anyone can pop in to and ask where assistance is needed. This will be followed by outlining a clear working method for small teams we’re replicating and iterating upon from Robin Hood Coop - to make this most effective Ben is also currently in the process of auditing all threads of activity and compiling relevant compact tasks.
What else does the core organisation do?
At the moment, not a lot. Here are a few things it plans to do, or has the potential to do.
- Holding, receiving and disseminating funds through a bank account.
- Ensuring material relating to unMonastery remains in the public domain.
- Organising gatherings.
- Updates its members of activities and opportunities.
- Enables others wishing to receive funding through an open review process.
- Allocates sub.domains for unMonastery place-based initiatives.
- Does administrative work.
How are decisions made about the development of the organisation?
Slowly and face to face.
unMonastery as you probably know is a long term project, so we’re in no rush to make hasty decisions. Our intention is to ensure there are regular opportunities throughout the year to meet and discuss ways in which the organisation can evolve. We’ll be making a post online in the next month to state the first two or three of these meet ups.
Why join the unMonastery organisation?
As a shareholder, you recognise the need for light stewardship of this long-term project, to joyously ensure that its assets remain accessible and open source, as well as to collectively navigate decisions toward, what feels to be, their poetically correct form.
In addition to its operational functions, the unMonastery Deep Time Bank is the initial move toward our aim to innovate and iterate upon legal models to re-vision how organisations face the next 200 years. The LBG brings together participants within a legal structure: a point of connection on paper but also a means to share attributions and develop group working methods beyond casting votes or exercising control. We make our decisions seated in a room together, and as our methods for working together processually evolve, we have the opportunity to rethink and adjust, collectively, how the organisational form may bolster bonds of solidarity and social ventures; as shareholders at this point in time, membership is a token of stewardship, commonality, and commitment.
As a shareholder, you are liable for up to £500 of the company’s investments; however, the unMonastery LBG is solemnly dedicated to never taking on any debt. If you have any questions on this commitment to debt-free economics, or are in need of any clarification, please do not hesitate to be in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org where Ben Vickers, Kei Kreutler, Bembo Davies, Katalin Hausel or Arthur Doohan who will be available to help.
Legally, shareholders are the primary actors in the unMonastery LBG. In addition to shareholders, the organisation also has three directors. Their directorship does not have executive decision-making abilities; their role is to sign off on any agreement reached by the group present, if such a decision needs to be represented through the LBG’s legal function. They act in service to the group’s decisions rather than their own.
Learning from our recent interview with Edwin Mingard, we aim for a similar, participatory model to that in place at Deptford Cinema. At the next unSummit, we will reassess the role of the current directors and add or remove individuals as the group feels is necessary.
I have a question or demand that is not covered by this document?
Great. Please come to the next unMonastery gathering in late fall 2015 and we can sit down all together to discuss it and see what adjustments need to be made to address it. If you’d like to submit an outlined proposal that addresses your question, please email email@example.com or better post it on http://discourse.unmonastery.org/ .
What if I don’t like it?
You can fork and we will help you do it. You can even call on the time bank to assist in such a transition.
How does this relate to EdgeRyders?
It doesn’t directly.