DAO's have the potential to change the Future of Work

In June 2018, I wrote this on the future of consulting on my personal blog:

"I predict that the next BIG consulting firm will be a networked global community of individuals with skills, experience, certifications verified and lodged via blockchain technology. Clients will choose larger teams via global platforms based on specific requirements, availability, location, previous client and co-worker feedback, and cost but not the brand. Teams will be pre-assembled via AI-driven algorithms that propose the best possible team composition based on individual profile based psychometric, aptitude and personality data. These temporary teams will build unique tribe-like brands based on their achievements and how well they work with each other and their clients. Payments will be based on agreed deliverables, milestones or other KPIs and transactions executed via smart contracts again via blockchain."

Little did I know then about DAOs - Decentralized Autonomous Organizations. I admit I am a latecomer to the whole DAO world but realise that the potential of DAOs is something that can change the way we work in the future.

I always felt that traditional centralised organisations with a single leader/leadership team were extremely limited in their potential, or maybe not necessarily the best option for all who provide the labour and don't reap the results. Our current format served us well throughout the initial part of the industrial revolution because changes were few and slow. In the last 30 years, the pace has picked up. I managed plenty of business transformation initiatives to confirm how hard it is to change strategies impacting core values and objectives across an organisation with 1000s if not 100000s people. Still today, I think many successful business transformations result from pure luck. The luck of having involved employees that seem to believe in the same goals and a rather well adjusted and empathetic leadership team.

I have always been looking for something more stakeholder-driven rather than shareholder-driven. Why? Because talent makes capital dance, and in the end, the shareholders win big time.

In 2000, Jonas Ridderstrale wrote in Funky Business - Talent Makes Capital Dance: "...we are all condemned to freedom. We cannot delegate the understanding of what drives tomorrow's society to politicians and as usual is uninspired, and that's no longer good enough; talent doesn't want to work there; customers don't want to buy there."

Another book and the actual story of a democratic organisation that heavily influenced my thinking was Riccardo Semler and his company Semco. In the '90s, Semler turned his family's business, the aging Semco corporation of Brazil, into the most revolutionary business success story of our time. By eliminating unneeded layers of management and allowing employees unprecedented democracy in the workplace, he created a company that challenged the old ways and blazed a path to success in an uncertain economy. Employees decided when they wanted to come to work, what they wanted to work on and later even agreed on their salaries. What made Semler's success even more impressive was that Semco was essentially a manufacturer of machinery equipment and not a white-collar business. When Semler introduced his new organisation, the business community predicted he'd fail in less than 6 months. Instead, Semco went on to produce 40% growth year on year

As I write this, there are predictions that DAO's will disrupt the governing structures for a myriad of organisations in the wider community, including the establishment of political parties, insurance firms, venture capital funds, sporting teams, and publishers.

Though it is still early in the evolution of DAOs, they are no longer just a hopeful concept. They are real organisations managing billions of dollars of capital, providing genuine products and services to millions of people, and creating new ways for people to earn an income.

Watch this space!

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