DIVERSITY IN GOVERNANCE – A WAY FORWARD
In lieu of my weekly pulse, we wanted to share thoughts related to the important conversations of the past weeks about racial and cultural sensitivity on NEAR, and what we hope are the opportunities for the entire global community to have its voice and growth represented in a diverse NEAR Digital Community (NDC).
With the formation of the NDC there is an opportunity for real diversity in our governance. Because of this, we believe we can and should explore together what we want/mean by diversity, and what measures should be taken to ensure inclusiveness. Additionally, the very real issue of racism and bias in Web3 merits exploration and clear protocols around language to ensure there is clarity. As an ecosystem, we have an opportunity to re-explore our community policies and code of conduct to reflect and address claims, remediation and reconciliation (whenever possible).
This post is not written from a place of authority, but as a sounding board for us to explore how to best move forward towards a healthier ecosystem. Ultimately, we do hope for an NDC that is based on respect, healthy collaboration, and a culture free from prejudice, racism and bias of all forms.
Research shows that diverse organizations tend to be more innovative and grow faster. In a recent article from the Harvard Business Review, it highlighted the varying ways in which a diverse team contributes to better performance overall:
“Most importantly, we found that the most-diverse enterprises were also the most innovative, as measured by the freshness of their revenue mix. In fact, companies with above-average total diversity, measured as the average of six dimensions of diversity (migration, industry, career path, gender, education, age), had both 19% points higher innovation revenues and 9% points higher EBIT margins, on average.” - Harvard Business Review
The NDC may well be a very tangible opportunity for us to show how a global community on the blockchain can lead to self-governance, innovation and diversity. The result, should we choose to agree with the data, is that our diversity may be a superpower for our self-governance.
It’s important to recognize that the world is represented here on the NEAR Protocol, and that racism and bias exist IRL. Therefore, though it’s uncomfortable and sad, the odds are very high that it exists in some form or another – whether we are aware of it or not – on the blockchain. We as a community also believe that the blockchain, in order to thrive and build, needs to be honest and proactive with itself. And, we share that creating a stronger, antifragile blockchain is our shared goal. So, it seems reasonable that we should trust that understanding each other, and how acting with respect towards everyone will support our growth.
We assume in writing this that everyone wants to grow and that taking non-defensive positions and building better communication and relationships will help us globally.
Key points about diversity, awareness, and the community:
– We hear that the verticals that have been created on the platform (how we are all separate without one way of sharing) mean we really don’t have a very good sense of each other and our cultures around the world. This means we can miscommunicate, leading to a lack of understanding, mistakes, and few chances to learn.
– We hear that people have experienced bias and aggression based on different cultures, race, age, and professional experience and this has caused professional pain, and fatigue, and now deeply offended and have a deep lack of trust in the NEAR community. Many community members have felt excluded and voiced that bias (and in some cases racism) is a block towards building and growing within NEAR. Many community members want to see all of us on-chain address these issues directly so we can speak from a more informed place of collaboration.
– At the same time, we hear there are those who want to see NEAR focus more on the technology, and focusing on cultural representation comes at the sake of growth. Many feel surprised that they had insulted other cultures, and want a way to measure accusations and have clarity about what language is offensive so that the rules are clear.
– We also hear there are those who see cultural engagement as the best way to onboard and build out Web3 to lead toward massive adoption and innovation. Many believe we need a both/and way of seeing growth – you can have cultural heritage represented while also building.
– Ultimately, we hear the community as a whole wants to collaborate and build together – and that has not diminished.
The Community wants to move towards a shared understanding of/planning for diversity – so we are supporting you through these actions:
– We have developed an NDC Regional Communities Group to focus on the frameworks needed for communities to apply for funds from the Community Treasury (CT). It is a collaborative, non-competitive group that is starting to develop the best path forward for regions to self-govern. Please let us know if you know leaders in your region who should participate.
– Develop a global group to help us create truly excellent NEW community guidelines (Q1) that reflects and outlines the needs of all communities with clarity. Additionally, the new guidelines can offer clear, process-oriented ways to identify and address all claims of bias, prejudice and racism toward transparent resolution. Please let us know if you want to be involved in this action.
– We are 100% committed to promoting global leaders to run for office! We urge you all to organize around representation and voting. We will begin to make a call for elections and need candidates to be put forward. Please work with us to organize in your region.
– Host a “TOWN HALL” (Q1) with our media partner, NEAR Week to explore racial and cultural sensitivity with the goal of being great partners. This is an attempt to create more connection and listening. We will bring an expert to help us understand the language and best practices we can implement to become a healthier, more aware global community in Web3. Please let us know if you have thoughts or ideas for this action.
We are here to listen and to respond as best as possible in developing a governance process/framework that is strong and inclusive. If you have ideas or suggestions, please share them here or reach out to us!
Again, thank you. We hope this is a chance for a new dialog, new ideas, better understanding and most importantly, respect for each other and building together. A diverse and inclusive governance is possible only with engagement and listening, running for office and getting out the vote – the GWG will provide the frameworks around this engagement, though it really needs you to make it happen! GET INVOLVED!