Objective Setting

Considerations for how objectives can be set within the community and incentivised

Objective setting involves the process of how objectives are defined, measured, selected and incentivised.

The challenge setting process used initially in Catalyst is an example approach that combines objective setting with the funding categorisation process. Funding categories are an example approach that just looks at what focus areas are in each categorisation which determines the types of proposal which can be included in each one.

Defining objectives

To define the objectives the community can look to gather data, insights, feedback and problems from the ecosystem to help inform the creation of objectives that add value or improve the ecosystem, community or wider society.

Objectives will most effectively be defined by people who are well informed of the different factors involved for the area they are focussed on. In many cases there could be multiple factors or options worth considering to create a well informed objective.

Measuring objectives

With a new objective in mind the next step will be define ways in which the objective could be measured so that the outcome from funded proposals can be audited. The better that objectives can be measured the more accurate the result can be on determining whether that objective has been met by the funded proposals execution.

Defining ways to measure the outcome of a given objective for auditability would not mean creating an exhaustive list. There will often be many ways an objective can be met that are direct or indirect through another approach. Proposers looking to tackle a certain objective would ultimately be responsible for defining how they intend to measure success against meeting the objective.

Selecting objectives

As different individuals and groups submit objectives for the community to review the next stage for the objectives will be selecting which ones are highest priority.

It is important to note that it is perfectly possible for hundreds or thousands of objectives to exist from different individuals and groups. Each objective will come from different values, cultures and perspectives on what is important in their own environment as well as the wider ecosystem.

Due to the amount of possible objectives the community will benefit from democratically voting on which objectives they believe are most important. A number of voting approaches could be used such as upvote, abstain and downvote or a ranking based approach.

The community should be able to express feedback and reasoning behind why one or multiple objectives may be higher priority than others. Improving the dialogue around objective setting will help the wider community understand the different perspectives that exist around the different objectives.

Incentivising objectives

Incentivising objectives means finding out what could be offered to help encourage anyone in the community to try and solve any of the objectives set by the community.

Financial incentives

An easy way to incentivise meeting objectives is to incentivise the community to submit proposals for financial reward. There are a number of approaches:

  • Proposal based funding - Funding can be provided to people who submit proposals with ideas on how they look to solve the objectives that have been set. With proposal based funding it is important to consider the implications of using objective vs category based funding categorisation.

  • Rapid funding - Funding could be provided in small bursts to individuals or groups trying to execute against a given objective. Full time Catalyst or Cardano contributors managing a community led treasury could be a great option for managing this type of distribution.

  • Paid as full time contributor - Certain objectives could justify having people from the community being paid full time to work on meeting that objective.

Outcome based incentives

In some circumstances the outcome of meeting an objective can be enough of a reason to incentivise the community to collaborate on achieving it. For instance one objective the community could have is around a public good to support the cleaning of trash and plastic in beaches and rivers of a local area. This objective may not need a financial incentive and instead may attract volunteers to support the initiative based on a mutually desired outcome.

Reputation or non financial reward based incentives

Meeting objectives within some communities could involve being issued credentials as a reward that helps to increase someones reputation or status in a given community. Alternatively there could also be non financial rewards such as getting access to certain groups, information, meetings or any other activity that could be a good incentive for someone to help with supporting an objective.


  • Defining, measuring and selecting objectives can be done independently from any considerations towards funding categorisation.

  • There are more ways than just financial incentives that can encourage people to support different objectives.

  • Objective setting could influence the ranking of proposals at the voting stage which produces an incentive to address the most important objectives without needing to attach a budget to the objective.

  • The objective setting process used in the Cardano community can function independently from the Catalyst funding categorisation process and the objectives data still imported and used.

Last updated