Creative Commons (BY NC SA) licence granted by the authors. First published on April 14, 2011

Last Modified on July 30, 2014. Please keep us updated if you adopt this model and make improvements.

Authors: Tiberius Brastaviceanu, add your name here

Only SENSORICA logo is copyright. Content on this document is Creative Commons (BY NC SA)

Organizational Structure


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     Contents

The actual structure

Formal affiliation

Affiliate registration

Rationale

On passive involvement

On negative involvement

Involvement and time

The first structure proposed

What is a value network?

Value and structure

Structure by role

General considerations

Discussions



The actual structure

NOTE: This is the second proposed structure, which is an improvement from the First structure proposed. See website.

unaffiliated

Individuals or organizations that do not take part in activities in any way, but might have access to public information about SENSORICA and observe it from a distance. These are individuals who have heard about us or who are susceptible to respond to information about us.  The unaffiliates are anonymous or unknown by sensoricans. But they can be recognized as a class/population and their general characteristics can be revealed by a survey and statistical analysis.

Privileges and permissions: Only have access to public information through the SENSORICA website and social media channels.

Obligations: NON

Integration process: Anyone out there is a unafiliated

 

close affiliate

Individuals or organizations that have not contributed to SENSORICA projects in a tangible way, or their contributions are not concrete enough to be taken into consideration by the value accounting system, or have contributed but do not want to be involved directly. If the individual or organization records a contribution in the value accounting system he/she/it becomes an active affiliate (see below). Close affiliates follow SENSORICA activities regularly for different reasons and are recognized by active affiliates (see below) within SENSORICA. They are close affiliates, i.e. are known by some affiliates, they are not anonymous.

Privileges and permissions: Can have access to SENSORICA database, to SENSORICA’s main communications channels, and to some activities like meetings and presentations.

Responsibilities and obligations: Respect SENSORICA’s assets and its affiliates.

Integration process: Anyone can become a close affiliate, or an observer. The individual or the organization must only talk to at least one affiliate or active affiliate of SENSORICA. The entire SENSORICA community must be informed of new close affiliate. To becomes a close affiliate one needs to contact the community or an affiliate. The close affiliate can also follow our activities on wiki, G+/Value Networks, G+/SENSORICA, Facebook, Github,...

active affiliate

Anyone who contributes to SENSORICA in a tangible way to increase the market value of products designed and manufactured by SENSORICA or to help sustain and improve the SENSORICA community, its image, its infrastructure, etc., AND is recognized by SENSORICA affiliates for being able to do so can become an active affiliate. More formally, active affiliates are individuals or organizations that are contributing to SENSORICA in a meaningful way, defined by a network-wide decision or by a governance equation[1]. This requires logging of contributions in the value accounting system and documenting work.

Permissions: Have access to SENSORICA’s infrastructure (physical and virtual) by the nondominium and the custodian agreement, to SENSORICA’s production and distribution assets, to governance and decision making.

Responsibilities and obligations: Active affiliates need to adhere to the principles behind the value accounting system. They must agree with the conditions of affiliation.

Integration process: To become an active affiliate contact the community or an affiliate. All active affiliates have a profile and are listed here (the affiliate registry). You only become an active affiliate based on the conditions above.

NOTE: this section needs improvement, reference to nondominium and custodian agreement, on top of VAS. 

inactive affiliate

Individuals or organizations that have already contributed to SENSORICA in the past (meaning that their contributions have been recorded in SENSORICA’s value accounting system), but have become inactive, or that have expressed their willingness to contribute to SENSORICA projects but have not contributed with anything meaningful/tangible yet. Inactive affiliates have more potential for value creation for the network than close affiliates, in that they have been or will be involved in some value creating activities, and maintain strong relations with some SENSORICA active affiliates.

Privileges and permissions: Have access to nonpublic SENSORICA information. Can participate in some activities like meetings and presentations. Have access to some or all SENSORICA communication systems. Participate in decision making.

Responsibilities and obligations: Respect SENSORICA’s assets and affiliates.

Integration process: To become an affiliate one needs to contact the community or an affiliate. All affiliates have a profile and are listed here.

Formal affiliation

[inspired from metamaps]

Becoming an active affiliate within the SENSORICA OVN formally consists of a mutual and explicit agreement to the principles, guidelines and rules of the OVN. These can be considered a "Terms of Participation" (ToP) of the commons of the OVN. This Terms of Participation currently consists of:

Affiliate registration

[inspired from metamaps]

Upon (or before) reviewing and affirming the relevant documents, prospective affiliates will be invited to:

  1. engage in conversation with multiple active affiliates
  2. collaborate with other affiliates to provide background information, work samples, written documentation
  3. review the public knowledge base(s)
  4. fill out a personal questionnaire
  5. initiate an affiliate profile' page / map


Rationale

Since SENSORICA’s inception in early 2011, we have observed different types of involvement and contributions, which can help us define different types of affiliation.

On passive involvement

Some individuals that are on our mailing list and have access to our private database (most of them only View access) have been very passive. It is hard to know if they actually follow us regularly and if they absorb information (todo: do a survey). It is also hard to know if they propagate this information through their social networks. In fact, it is hard to know what they do with the information they absorb.

On negative involvement

We have NOT observed yet any deliberate destructive action of tangible property.

In the spring of 2014 SENSORICA had a first crisis around the use of brand and around its core values and principles. Bob created this document to help the community analyse this crisis and learn from it.

In the summer of 2014 SENSORICA went through a second crisis around the question of sustaining the commons. Tibi created this document to help the community create new norms and rules. Some individuals engaged in negative publicity about SENSORICA.

Involvement and time



The first structure proposed

Under discussion, to be replaced with the second structure proposed. 

unaffiliated

Individuals or organizations that do not take part of activities in any way, but might have access to public information about SENSORICA and observe it from far away.

Permissions: Only have access to public information through the SENSORICA website and social media outlets.  

Integration process: Anyone out there is a non-affiliated

 

observers

Individuals or organizations that have not contribute to SENSORICA projects in a tangible way, or their contributions are not concrete enough to be taken into consideration, or have contributed but do not want to be involved directly. If the individual records a contribution in the value accounting system he/she becomes a member or active member. Observers follow SENSORICA activities regularly for different reasons and are recognized by SENSORICA members for doing so. In other words, observers are known by SENSORICA members, not anonymous.

Permissions: Have access to SENSORICA database, to SENSORICA’s main communication channel, and some activities, like meetings and presentations.

Integration process: Anyone can become an observer. The individual or the organization must only talk to at least one member or active member of SENSORICA. The entire SENSORICA community must be informed of new observers. If you want to become an observer contact the community or one of its members. You can also follow our activities on wiki, G+/Value Networks, G+/SENSORICA, Facebook, Github,...

members

Individuals or organizations that have already contributed to SENSORICA in the past, but have become inactive, or that have expressed their willingness to contribute to SENSORICA projects but have not contributed with anything meaningful/tangible yet. Members are more than observers, in that they got or will get involved in some activities, and maintain strong relations with some SENSORICA active members.

Permissions: Have access to nonpublic SENSORICA information. Can participate in some activities like meetings and presentations. Have access to some or all SENSORICA communication systems. Participate in decision making.

Integration process: If you want to become a member just contact the community or one of its members. All members have a profile and are listed here. Members need to adhere to the principles behind the value accounting system.

active members

Individuals or organizations that are contributing to SENSORICA in a meaningful way, being recognized by other SENSORICA members for doing so.

Permissions: Have access to all SENSORICA infrastructure as owners of the infrastructure.

Integration process: Anyone who can contribute to SENSORICA in a tangible way, to increase the market value of products designed and manufactured by SENSORICA or to help sustain and improve the SENSORICA community, its image, etc., AND is recognized by SENSORICA members for being able to do so can become an active member. If think you can contribute contact the community or one of its members. All active members have a profile and are listed here. Members need to adhere to the principles behind the value accounting system.

What is a value network?

(click to open)

Value and structure

The nature of the value that flows within a social system determines its structure - roles, rules, processes.

What comes first, a value system of a role system? Before mapping human relations, processes, stakeholders one needs to map value. In doing so, one needs to take into consideration that value is subjective. Some things are concrete, as food for example, but others aren't (this is how dark cults and sects trap people in for example, by creating value systems on which they build value networks, which are their organizations of foolish people giving up their assets and time for illusory value). The first step is to map value sources and to describe the processes needed to get to them, and to exchange value. Sometimes the options for processes are limited, based the nature of that value, on context, technology available, etc. For example, if value is gold 1000 feet underground in a primitive society, the only way to get to it is through manual labor and some form of collaboration, including slavery. On the other side, artists tend to form decentralized/flat organizations, not hierarchies. They exchange percepts, they trade social favors, which is not very labor and resource intensive. They don't need to organize themselves like gold miners. The value and the processes to get to it determine the relations humans form among themselves, in a given context. If we think of self-organizing and dynamic organizations (we like to call these value networks) we need to put value first and roles and relations after.

Structure by role

This structure is emergent, dynamic, plastic.

Roles are not predefined, they are emergent patterns of behavior of affiliates within the community, see below.

The Role system feeds itself from the task management system (at this moment it gets information from our “Log your activities” database). A role is not assigned to an affiliate, it is rather “earned” through past activities. If an affiliate voluntarily subscribes to engineering tasks and delivers, this affiliate will earn the role of a technical person within the value network.  

General considerations

I think SENSORICA should NOT have a predefined structure. Roles within our value network must be emergent and fluid. Circumstances define functional roles. As conditions change the organization reconfigures itself. SENSORICA will mold to changing patterns underlying our society and our economy.

We need some level of legibility to connect different value networks (like SENSORICA) together into a super-network. This connection is first established at the level of the value system, to allow an unhindered flow of value between all the nodes. Knowledge must also be able to flow freely within the super-network, therefore some level of codification is required. Individuals must be able to start producing value shortly after they migrate from one subnetwork to another. The accommodation time and the learning curve must be reduced in order to enter the super-network rapidly reconfigurable/dynamic. But we also need to realize that there is a price to pay for too much legibility, as Venkatesh brilliantly points out (see this short video).

How are we going to induce self-organization? What guarantees temporal stability? How can we make sure that emergent patterns optimize creativity and productivity? How can we make sure that the outcome will be a humane and ethical environment? I put all my faith into the human being.

I believe that humans are capable of spontaneously creating stable social patterns if their goals are aligned and if they know how to achieve their goals. We don't need to create a structure, we only need to create the conditions for the structure to emerge and evolve. I am in the process of designing data analysis and visualization tools that I believe will induce self-organization. At this moment I see 3 important systems: value, reputation, and roles.

Discussions

From Kurt 01 July 2012

And what does becoming an affiliate mean? What is the ritual? What obstacles does this create? What benefits does putting the obstacle there serve? Is there a formal agreement?

Tibi 01 July 2012

I think becoming an affiliate is just filling up the form http://www.sensorica.co/home/contact-us

selecting Possible collaboration.

But yes, you make me realize that we need to make that more clear!

Becoming an active affiliate is an automatic process, whenever someone logs a contribution and this contribution is accepted by others as valuable.

We probably need to think about some form of ritual, to mark the passage. This can be orchestrated by someone who takes on the role of animator.

There should be some sort of formal agreement... at least an acknowledgment of responsibilities.

What is the degree of openness and transparency? We need to set that knob. I believe in keeping some things private, but not protected. Whoever needs to look at them needs to present him-/herself.

Tibi, July 15th 2012

There are also other types of structures, which are related to interests and proximity. see this discussion : a short reflection on value networks. See other discussions on the same topic initiated by Steve.

Tibi July 14th 2012

Link to discussion

(…) rhizomatic structure of SENSORICA. I think a value network like SENSORICA must have at least two levels, local and global. This needs to be reflected at the level of the value system.

Example: Maintenance of a space (a lab for example) mostly use by locals. (...) But who benefits? Mostly locals. It is also true that maintaining a clean and organized work environment here in Montreal will affect the entire network. Most of the value within SENSORICA, at this moment, emanates from this space (I hope things will change in the future and that value creation will become a more distributed process, to reflect a truly resilient network). But should this particular contribution (cleaning and organizing the space at CTS in Montreal) be logged on SENSORICA, or should we have a local value system which integrates with other local value systems, forming a glocal value system, a rhizomatic structure?

I was thinking of value networks as being fractal structures (an  open value network can be an affiliate of another open value network). This is also part of the growth model. A value network could be defined as a set of activities that are organized around a cluster of interests. SENSORICA is structured around sensing, interests around sensors are powerful enough to structure our activities. SENSORICA will probably become a network of two networks, one structured by interests around sensing and sensemaking for agriculture and food and another one around sensor technology for biomedical applications. So we have a structure emerging from clusters of interests.

BUT to topic of this message is to point out to a second structure, which is driven by physical proximity. Steve already pointed out to us the need to distinguish between the local network and the global network. (...) Proximity and local context sets in motion a particular dynamic that can be different than what goes on in other locations, hence SENSORICA is a rhizomatic structure, but also daily local activities can generate gains and losses that affect mostly locals, and less remote affiliates of the network.

Please take a moment to reflect on that...


[1] This hasn't been decided yet within SENSORICA!

[2]