Grant Proposal - Aave

Title

Real-time Community Health Analytics

Proposal Summary

RnDAO is requesting funding for a research project on Real-time Community Health Analytics for DAOs.
The project aims to provide insights for Aave that improves its ability to collaborate effectively and operate a thriving community.
We'll review existing academic literature, previous Web3 work, and collaborate with community leaders to identify the most powerful health analytics for Web3 communities and with special focus on Aave.
For this, we'll research different applications of Organizational Network Analysis, Pulse Surveys, and other techniques; build the necessary tooling (ONA and Pulse Survey bot); and analyse the data to provide insights to Aave.

Proposal Rationale

Like many DAOs, Aave depends on the health of its community and its vibez—yet understanding and measuring Community Health is challenging.
Today, DAOs are left to rely on the limited reporting provided by Discord or Discourse and a patchwork of "homemade" surveys to fill in the gaps. These solutions are time-consuming for community managers and contributors to use, and the results, hampered by poor indicators and/or poor sampling, are unreliable.
Perhaps even direr, the lack of real-time analytics leaves community leaders without established baselines to measure against to understand the impact of community-focused initiatives, monitor shocks to the system, or rapidly gauge the effects of system-wide changes (such as migrating to mainnet).
To address these limitations, RnDAO is launching a research project to explore techniques employed both inside and outside the DAO ecosystem to surface those requiring minimal administrative effort from DAO community managers and minimal disruption to DAO members. We believe this approach ensures more representative insights and paves the way for broad adoption of real-time analytics and benchmarking across DAOs.
Beyond Traditional Surveys
This research proposal focuses on the use of two critical techniques as a starting point:
Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) is a structured way to visualize how communications, information, and value creation occur through an organization based on interaction graphs. ONA has been shown to provide a wide range of insights to improve contributor retention, avoid member burnout, predict team performance and community resilience, identify key contributors, enable decentralization, and improve coordination. Although relatively new, ONA is gaining in popularity over traditional survey tools.
Pulse Surveys are frequent and automated micro-surveys that provide qualitative and quantitative insights. In traditional organizations, they have been shown to increase employee response rate and employee engagement with related initiatives. They're also used as a tool for culture design and implementing culture change. Lastly, Pulse Surveys significantly reduce admin work for community managers and related roles.
Although our initial focus is Community Health metrics, this sets the foundation for further applications. The combination of ONA and pulse surveys offers unprecedented actionable insights in real-time. Some of the potential applications and insights for Aave are:
  • Generate baseline metrics for Community Health / vibez to quantify and better understand the impact that a specific event is having on a community and/or sub-groups within the community
  • Predict which contributors are likely to leave the DAO and take preventive action (without breaching privacy)
  • Build funnels to track member onboarding and identify areas for improvement
  • Identify measurements of decentralization to serve as KPIs or Insights metrics
  • Monitor specific topics like contributor wellbeing, alignment, community experience, etc. in near real-time
  • Attract talent and investment with objective Community Health metrics instead of proxy metrics like member count or proposal count, or financial metrics such as TVL
  • Help new contributors find context-rich mentors outside of the existing pool of well-known but time-poor candidates
In addition to the initial research on Community Health, the potential applications mentioned above (and others to be found) can enable more effective and targeted efforts to build healthier DAO communities.
This research also helps reduce the tooling gap in DAOs compared to the employee and stakeholder experience at traditional corporations.

Project Description

  1. 1.
    Interview DAO community managers to identify key pain points in maintaining Community Health, defining Community Health indicators, and, subsequently, managing them
  2. 2.
    Host community discussions with other researchers and practitioners and triangulate insights across a literature review, which includes:
    • Review of recent work on DAO Health surveys (e.g., Talent DAO's work on survey questions for DAO health) and Blockchain Ecosystem Health (e.g., The Governauts and Token Engineering Academy's work on modeling Near, Ocean Protocol, and others on ecosystem health)
    • Review of recent scientific research on Organisational Network Analysis
    • Review of recent research on belonging, employee retention, burnout, sense of community, and social media's impact on wellbeing.
  3. 3.
    Select a set of data points for collection and a hypothesis for analysis
  4. 4.
    Build a data collection tool that combines Organisational Network Analysis with Pulse Survey functionality
  5. 5.
    Deploy data collection tool in the discord of participating DAO(s)
  6. 6.
    Analyze the insight on network structure and dynamics and provide a real-time indicator of Community Health
  7. 7.
    Agree on follow-up initiatives and experiments to improve the sustainability, inclusivity, and scalability of the community

Deliverables

  • Synthesis of literature review and a conceptual framework on Organisational Network Analysis applied to DAO community Health and Vibez to deliver insights on the sustainability, responsibility, and generativity of a community
  • Data analysis and insights on DAO Community Health, using the ONA and Pulse Survey data collection tool, to identify potential risks and challenges and create baselines to benchmark the evolution of the community
  • Workshop with DAO members to brainstorm initiatives and interventions to improve the resilience and health of the community

Risk Considerations

All raw data collected must be anonymized. All charts must be reviewed prior to publication to minimize exposure to social engineering by malicious actors.
Strong access control must be enforced and managed by a person with legal obligation to act in good faith. Additionally, we will comply with GDPR wherever necessary.
ONA has already proven its value in traditional organizations and social network analysis but, to the best of our knowledge, it has yet to be applied to DAOs. Consequently, as a research project in a new field (Community Health with the use of Organisational Network Analysis as applied to DAOs), there is a natural level of uncertainty. To mitigate this risk, we've decided to split the cost of the research among multiple DAOs.
The findings, especially early results, must not be taken for granted. Small errors in the model can lead to interpretations that have an outsized impact on the actual health of a community. Where relevant, we will employ a combination of industry best practices and existing solutions to better model complex systems and validate correctness.

Team

This research project is led by RnDAO, an innovation center focused on empowering humane collaboration through DAO research and tooling.

Team Leads

Danielo
Previously, Head of Governance at Aragon, 8 years experience in Organization Design consulting (clients include Google, BCG, Daymler, The UN, and multiple startups), and visiting lecturer at Oxford University.
Katerinabc
Ph.D. in Team Dynamics using Social Network Analysis, Teaching Collaboration, and Organizational Performance at Northwestern University (since 2016).
Co-organized Learning in Networks sessions at the International Conference of Social Network Analysis (2018 - 2020), and previously advised a people analytics company on social network metrics.
Thegadget.eth
Software Engineer. Previously, Product Manager at Neolyze (Business Intelligence Dashboard for Instagram).

Team Advisor

Sam
Previously, Head of Technical Research at Aragon. Previously, Lead Developer of the official JavaScript API for the Ethereum blockchain.
Note: Other RnDAO members will participate throughout the process in user research, literature review, tool development, and workshop facilitation.

Budget & Timeline

Budget

$30,000 in USDC (or equivalent)*
  • Academic Literature Review and User Interviews: $8,000
  • Data Collection Tool Development: $17,000
  • Data Analysis, Insights Report, and Community Workshop: $5,000
* the requested budget forms part of a total $90,000 target. Total project costs will be split across multiple, participating DAOs. For large communities (2,000+ members), project costs are bespoke.

Estimated Timeline

Week 1-6
  • Literature Review
  • Data Collection Tool Development
Week 6-8
  • Data Collection Tool Implementation
Week 8-10
  • Data Analysis and Report Creation
  • Workshop with Grant Sponsor team to discuss findings and recommendations