Decision making

From OVN wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

See SENSORICA's doc on governance.


An open value network is a dynamic and diverse ecosystem with complex interconnected processes. Governance is the set of principles and processes by which the system is intelligently directed and developed by participants. Different types of sense-making, decision making, and responsiveness are needed for efficient and optimal conduct. The governance framework provides different decision making mechanisms that may be applied. Nodes within the network (i.e. different projects or communities) are free to adopt decision making processes that suite their culture and philosophy, as long as the results allow for a stable interface with the rest of the network.

What is a decision?

Definition: Decision-making can be regarded as a cognitive process resulting in the selection of a course of action (including the expression of an idea or opinion) among several alternative possibilities. Every decision-making process produces a final choice[1] that may or may not prompt action. See Wikipedia - Decision making


Making a decision is making a choice. Decision making presupposes free will, however the choice may or may not be free of influence. For example, the election process, which is a collective decision (actors are all citizens who vote) by an entire nation, is not free from influence. The opinions of voters (actors) are heavily manipulated by propaganda from different sides.

Degree of certainty

A decision is NOT choosing among different outcomes, because there could be risk involved, i.e. a suspected outcome is not 100% probable. The choice can be made knowing with certainty the outcome of some or all possible actions, or can be made in absence of certainty. For the second case, the outcome can be negative, positive, or neutral, which will affect the decision making process.

Random or analysis

Making a choice also implies some knowledge about the situation. The choice can be made at random. This happens when the actor(s) have no information on the situation and simply toss a coin. In absence of information we tend to rely on trust, i.e. follow the opinion of other individuals who are recognized to know more (reputation). This can also happen when other decision making mechanisms are absent. The choice can be educated, a result of an effort of analysis. Voluntarily biased analysis amounts to manipulation and to an influenced decision. There is a distinction between genuine analysis and understanding and false/deceiving analysis and explanation.

Actors and scope

A decision making process has actors (individuals involved in the decision making process) and scope (the group of individuals that are affected by the choice).

  • Some decisions only concern the actor: what I will eat for dinner.
  • Some decisions only affect others: the policeman to give or not to give a ticket
  • Some decisions with a very few actors have a broad scope with important consequences: a tyrannical regime, but also representative democracies
  • Some decisions involve the entire society and have a society-wide scope: a referendum, presidential election (which is influenced - see below)

Kurt advocates a governance equation which automates access to group decision making processes.

Need to consider actor's competency.


making up one’s mind, according to a set of criteria and implementation, which can be done in various ways. Some decisions become effective as soon as they are uttered (ex. the decision of a judge).

reversible decisions (ex. getting married) and irreversible decisions (ex. commit suicide). Reversibility can be only partial, because decisions have consequences that cannot be reversed, as we cannot reverse time (ex. after a divorce- the reverse decision to getting married, the family estate gets divided).


Refers to the thing the decision is made on.


  • allocation of resources - some type of resource
  • modifying the governance - some norms
  • exclusion of an affiliate (a member)

Types of decisions

See SENSORICA's doc about decision making



Implemented by Tiberius Brastaviceanu during the early days of Sensorica, influenced by discussions with other Sensorica affiliates and observers see original document on Decision making.

  • A space for suggestions was created, where members could propose something new, discuss and rate different opinions. The implementation was a Google Moderator embedded in a webpage on SENSORICA's website.
This was used a bit in the beginning (2011, 2012) but not very much afterwards. A lot of propositions and discussions were carried out on Sensorica's general mailing list. Some discussions were carried out on G+, very few on Facebook.
  • A space for decision making was created where issues were presented and decisions ware made by voting. This space is a webpage on Sensorica's website, using an announcements template, and voting was implemented using Google forms enbedded on this page.
Only a few decisions have been made. The data was recorded in a folder on SENSORICA's database (Google Drive) named Decisions forms. Affiliates also had the option to subscribe to page changes or announcements to get an email every time a new decision is published on the decision page.

Based on spheres of activity and impact, decisions are addressed within the appropriate membrane through a process of awareness, coordination, informing, and feedback. A recipe book of "governance patterns" is in development to support swift and adaptable configuration of decision making framework.

These patterns include:

  • Sphere of activity: project or intention space (membrane)
  • Scope of activity: range limits of governance (time, type, overrulings)
  • Required capacities: skill sets or contribution types relevant to sphere
  • Allocation strategy: how are tasks and needs described and fulfilled in sphere
  • setting collective targets - via workgroup, deputies, or network
  • identifying crucial needs - via workgroup, deputies, or network
  • gathering proposals (open space style)
  • entering into contracts (enterprise mode)
  • posing agreements (non-dominium)
  • individual initiative (free agency)
  • Collaborative framework: nature of engagement and value creation in sphere
  • open participation / free flow
  • designated team / membrane
  • designated roles / accountabilities
  • private work tracks
  • Decision-making framework: default mode for collective sensing and resolution
  • self-determining - autonomous, within basic network guidelines
  • subsidiary - subject to an encompassing body or governing board
  • counseled - subject to formal response from peer body or board
  • executive - subject to express determinations from an exec role
  • network - subject to ongoing adjustment by network input
  • Governance around decision framework: self-organization and/or oversight
  • Coordination/Informing Process: transparency and publication / synchronization
  • realtime visibility
  • scheduled updates
  • dedicated liaison
  • indeterminate
  • Feedback Process: response and adjustments by peers during implementation
  • Execution Process: key permissions, accountabilities, metrics
  • Feedback Process: response, rating, reputation following results
  • public comment threads
  • p2p interaction on record
  • scheduled open hearings
  • formal rating system (per result)
  • formal reputation system (per participant)

Decision Types and Tools

Decisions amongst a group of stakeholders can be reached through many different participatory mechanisms. Most familiar is "majority rules" yes/no voting. Other systems like Consensus encourage deeper inquiry and alignment to reach agreement from all affiliates.

A comparison of different types:

Online Tools

See also

Links for decision making documents from individuals and organizations close to the OVN model.

From Bayle Shank

From Sensorica affiliates

Folder - Governance and decision making

Some important docs

Other docs