Independent Goal & Objective Setting Process
Reasons an independent goals and objective setting process benefits both Catalyst and the wider community
The goal and objective setting process does not need to be tied to the funding categorisation process within Catalyst. There are a number of benefits of having a goal and objective setting process for the Cardano ecosystem that operates independently from the Catalyst process.
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In a separated approach the Catalyst process would pull in the goals and objectives from this independent process. That information could then also help guide voters when they are deciding how to vote for the budget weighting for each of the funding categories. Proposals would be able to link to the goals and objectives that their proposal is trying to achieve. Integrating community voted goals and objectives offers an effective way to improve decision making for category budget weighting decisions and which proposals to vote for based on the priority of each of the goals and objectives set by the community.
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Independent process

Advantages
  • Dynamically changing - An independent goal and objective setting process doesn’t need to be in sync with round based funding. Instead it can be completely dynamic in accepting changing information and new goals or objectives. A separate process would mean flexibility to present changes immediately to the community. Goals and objectives could be reprioritised dynamically and this information can be used integrated into any stage of the funding process. Goals and objectives could also be easily imported into other funding approaches such as rapid funding. This adds flexibility on where goals and objectives get used in the ecosystem. Goals and objectives could also be integrated in to other incentives used in the community to achieve objectives.
  • Continuous engagement - An independent system for goal and objective setting can incorporate more tools and processes to encourage better discussion, feedback and debate on defining the the goals and objectives and the prioritisation. With funding categorisation there is a need to agree on a final categorisation for proposals to use in a funding round. An independent process for goal or objective setting doesn't have fixed deadlines for being defined. Instead the process can encourage increased engagement and feedback from the community to better inform the quality of the goals and objectives set.
  • Increase quality and coverage - Creating quality goals and objectives that are well informed is a difficult task that requires constant feedback and reflection to determine whether a goal or objective is still relevant and whether any recent objectives have already been achieved. By having an independent process for goal and objective setting a stronger focus can be placed on why a goal or objective is being added. Objectives can better include how it can be measured and how effective any efforts been so far in meeting that objective. The better these tasks can be measured the higher the confidence will be that the community is effectively solving high priority objectives. Removing funding categorisation out of the objective setting process means the efforts around defining which proposals can be submitted and what budget is available can be removed and dealt with separately. Mixing goal and objective setting with funding categorisation leads to the issues around promoting competitive, changing and specific categorisation.
  • Scaleable & inclusive - An independent goal and objective setting process can allow for a wider range of goals and objectives to be present and included in the funding process. This is achieved because no constraints for what goals or objectives must be included for a proposal. This makes the goal and objective setting process more inclusive to smaller communities and voices that want to showcase their own objectives. Although lower priority goals and objectives may not influence the ranking of proposals in the Catalyst process they could at least be integrated into the proposal information so that the community is then at least aware the a proposal is looking to support a different objective. By allowing a wider range of goals and objectives to exist it offers a better chance for smaller voices to be heard and for impactful goals and objectives to have the chance to be seen and considered.
  • Effective integration into Catalyst - An independent goal and objective setting process can be effectively integrated into the Catalyst process. First of all the goals and objectives are a source of data that can be useful to influence decisions around the budget weightings used on the funding categories. As an example if there was lots of objectives around the governance of different open source protocols then this could influence the community in deciding to increase the budget weighting for a category such as ‘Governance & Identity’. For the voters the benefit of an independent goal and objective setting process is that a more diverse range of goals and objectives could be attached to proposals which are looking to address a mixture of objectives. Higher priority community goals and objectives are also good candidates for being part of the ranking algorithm that determines how to order the proposals in the voting experience. This will help the community easily find the proposals that are addressing the most prioritised goals and objectives. Separating goals and objectives from the funding categorisation means the community gets all the benefits of prioritising important goals and objectives but then can also get the benefits of using recurring, inclusive and broad categorisation.
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Issues
  • Unexpected outcomes - Having a more dynamic goal and objective setting process independent from the Catalyst process comes with the benefit of flexibility and speed however this could also lead to unexpected outcomes. For instance in some cases the goals and objectives could change in a short time frame. If this happens near the voting period it could lead to sudden changes in which proposals are ranked higher than others. This can influence who ultimately gets funded. This is a good thing as it means the process is more dynamic to changing requirements however the implications of this are that the community would need to have a high confidence that the objective setting process is legitimate and not easily gamed.
  • Lack of implementations - Currently there is no community created solutions that help with democratic goal and objective setting that are interactive and allow for constant feedback and discussion. This is a short term issue that can be addressed by the community.
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Example usage situations

Proposal submitted solving an important problem
A team submits a new proposal that looks to address upcoming issues around quantum computing and its implications for blockchain technology. They highlight the reasons why this is an importance goal for the community to resolve due to the negative implications on the security of parts of the Cardano blockchain. With goal and objective setting that is separate from the funding categorisation process this goal and relevant objectives could be presented immediately into the process to start gathering feedback from the community. If the community votes on the goal and objectives as being higher priority the rank of the goal and objectives can more immediately influence the funding priorities and voting preferences. This example helps to show how new emerging goals and objectives could be introduced fast and easily and not need to change the funding categorisation.
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Recently launched solution solving existing objective
A new open source solution gets launched. The solution solves an existing objective of bringing smart contract access to hardware devices. The impact of achieving the objective could result in the removal or reduction in prioritisation of that existing objective. Allowing these objectives to change dynamically in their prioritisation will help the community to become more aware of what proposals in the Catalyst funding process are the highest priority at any exact moment in time.
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New information emerges regarding an existing objective
A natural disaster could occur and results in more data and insights into problems around water and food access. If the community has goals and objectives that exist around improving these areas in society then their importance based off recent events could influence the priority of those objectives. Having a system that constantly accepts new information would be an effective way to allow the community to dynamically prioritise areas of increased importance. This is especially useful when potential solutions might be available to be funded that can help achieve these objectives.
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Summary

  • There are a large number of benefits to having an independent goal and objective setting process that makes it more flexible and faster to incorporate insights, feedback and a changing environment into how goals and objectives are set and integrated into the funding process.
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Outline
Independent process
Example usage situations
Summary