We spend the majority of our lives working. DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) offer a new type of organizational structure that has the potential to open new pathways to contributing, earning, and finding community.

Ever-shifting outlets for contribution would create a better future for work. A person would never have to tie themselves to one company or one job. Under this model, work becomes an expression of skilled interests, as opposed to an income-driven means to an end.

The diagram below lays out the job characteristics that correlate to positive subjective outcomes like high motivation, satisfaction, and effectiveness.

Source: https://www.cleverism.com/job-characteristics-model/

This diagram assumes a single company, which measures these characteristics against a finite set of jobs. It assumes this company pays the worker a single income. Finally, it assumes that the company is controlled by a small group of individuals arranged in a hierarchical structure.

The classic corporate structure centralizes decision-making for greater efficiency. It also centralizes dysfunction. If the dysfunction becomes too great, the employee faces a binary choice. Stay in the job, or find a new one.

The DAO structure

DAOs are hyper-flexible organizational structures align people towards a common goal. Given the open nature of DAOs, contributing is less unstructured compared to the traditional corporate structure. The responsibility falls on each DAO to create and organize the necessary structure that guides the types of contributions that are best for the group mission. Many will do this by creating an onboarding process for new members that integrates them into the group and guides them towards the best avenues for their unique skillset. As new members go through this process, they get a sense of the community and its values. From this point, it is up to the new members to decide on their level of contribution. Some DAOs may have an expectation of a minimum contribution to remain an active member. Ultimately, it's up to the new member to decide how much they would like to contribute and to proactively find avenues for that contribution. The flexibility of this structure allows for composable work, tailor-made for this new era of the internet.

Contributors, now empowered with choice, can configure their roles to meet their personal desires for earning income, building and practicing skills, and filling the human need for community.

How a network of DAOs could work

This vision is not perfect. DAO communities have the potential to develop dysfunctions of their own.

In the DAO-centric vision of the future, a person would have more options than they have today. In this version of the future, most people would choose to contribute to more than one DAO. In the case that one DAO becomes dysfunctional, the person could shift their efforts to their other communities.

This network of contributions creates a shock-resistant structure around the individual. When one point fails, the other points can pick up the load. People are protected from acute shocks to their working life by the redundancy this creates (losing a job, changing directions in life, picking yourself up after a failed venture, and other major inflection points). These inflection points can cause serious disruption in a person's life today, but in a DAO-centric vision of the world—these nodes can rebalance the workload as needed. An interconnected network of DAOs creates a protective shield around the person. It mitigates single points of failure and is resistant to acute shocks and stressors.

This network of nodes visualizes a person's DAO network. Each node is connected to others by common interest or similar skill. If one point fails, the network can rebalance itself. Source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/A-12-node-network-as-an-example-to-show-the-division-of-nodes-based-on-faction_fig1_327030354

Evolving the Structures

We will have to create this reality by the force of will. If we want a future that is focused on the concept of flexible contribution and engagement, then we will have to make it so. It will not happen without conscious applied effort. If we can design this system, the entire DAO superstructure has a chance of reaching scale. Ultimately, flexible human-centric networks for participation create better systems, that are designed to offer more opportunities to more people.

Updated: 2/18/24

Seamless Work

Exploring how DAOs could enable a shock-resistant model for work.