Groupoid organization structure

  • The term

    • When I was studying math many years ago, I came across the term Groupoid, which in Linear Algebra means a set of things, with a relation connecting each 2 things with a 3rd one. I then had the idea that this mathematical structure could also be applied to organizations, to yield a group of people without a leader that act together as one
  • The purpose

    • There are many human enterprises, much bigger than a single person can tackle, for which organizations are formed. The problem is that in order for a group of people to work as one in achieving the big enterprise, there needs to be a way to:
      • Set the path for the group
      • Make decisions on actions
      • Cultivate shared values & culture in the group
      • Guide, mentor & monitor new members

      & to do all that, organizations are usually structured as an hierarchy

      • But an hierarchy results in having people at the top, that resemble lions in the savana – fully realizing their potential due to their degree of freedom – & people at the bottom that resemble lions in the zoo – taking orders & executing them without putting their full heart & brain to make the enterprise successful (see PG’s article)

      What if we could have an organization structure that isn’t hierarchical & yet meets the requirements for having a group of people working as one to achieve some big enterprise?

  • The groupoid structure

    • Parents
      • For each member in the group there are 2 other members called “parents”Their goal is to represent the group to the member by:
        • cultivating in him the group values & culture
        • guiding & mentoring him so that he’ll succeed in his work
        • setting the path for him & monitoring his progress

        When every new member joins the organization, 2 existing members that don’t have a “child” (or have just 1-2) will volunteer to parent the new member

    • Path
      • The group will always have a metro map of its path:
        • large stations for goals
        • small stations for sub-goals needed in order to reach the large stations
      • For every station there will may be sub-maps for the path to get to those stations
      • Each person may have his own map showing his own path
        • Parents will work with their child on his map
      • A tool such as “Ekkli” can be used to facilitate that
    • Dreamer
      • At least one member of the group should volunteer to be the dreamer – the person coming up with the vision for where the group is going:
        • What should be the goals
        • How exactly should they be like

        The dreamer needs to

        • Write blog posts describing the vision & goals
        • Have periodic meetings where the blog posts, vision & goals are discussed
    • Decisions
      • Whenever there are more than one option to do something & a decision needs to be made, the people involved will work together on devising:
        • description of the motivation & goal
        • map of the underlying assumptions
        • map of the options
        • experiments that can validate which option is best for reaching the goal

        An experiment should then be selected, & based on its result, the decision will be made

    • Progress & process
      • The group needs to make progress in its path toward its goals, & needs to learn along the way from reality whether its path is correctEvery week a new station should be reached, that involves an experiment that:
        • gets the group closer to its ultimate goalsinteracts with the world in order to validate or refute some hypothesis, & help the group learn whether it’s on the right path
    • Communications
      • A constant communication channel is required between the group members in order to ensure as much direct interaction between the members as possibleThe metro maps should be shared & collaborated on all the time, to ensure full visibility on the path of the group & each sub-group or individual within it
    • Values
      • To make the group successful, psychological safety is required, which basically means that people should have personal connection with each other & be nice to each other at all timeNo one should be afraid to say what he thinksThe group should collaborate on coming up on the best solutions for problems, & fight over which solution to useEmpirical experiments should be used to make decisions, instead of arguments & discussions
  • Experiment

    • I am just starting to build a group for an open-source project I’m starting (Web-Wide-Matrix) & going to try use the Groupoid structure for managing the group