Ashoka ToT

iTeamPlayers Open team of teams platform


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Essentially, framework change is a solution that can scale through technology and new ways of organizing designed to hone EACH skills in the context of trust and shared goals for common good providing omnidirectional value for team members without wrestling control from the individuals.

This is not a social network. It is a platform of participation for positive social change driven by self-updating team profiles and powered by deep learning and gamification. In other words, humans using technology to deepen the most human skills – empathy, creative problem solving, collaboration, caring, leadership and changemaking. The best way to leverage technology for achieving full human potential is through teamwork and being empathetic team players.

The idea:  a team of teams platform for participation in social change activities.  Rather than individual profiles, the architecture is teams based on real projects.  There is timeline, objectives, goals and milestone attainment.  

Each team member states what they are doing in detail which is verified by other team members, what skills they are using, and what are their individual goals for the project and the team.  Each individual also gives weekly status updates on the level of their utilization -- full, 75%, etc.  This can then open up the possibility for teamplayers to be hired to work part time on other projects where feasible.  Zipcar meets ToT.     

Each team member provides aspirational statement as to what they want to be accomplishing overall, and what projects/work they would like to do next, and when they will be available.   

Recruiting changes from contacting the person directly to contacting their partner to get insight about them, and then an introduction, if the opportunity deemed by the partner to be right.  Why guess when you can know!

Omnidirectional benefits include:

New way to monetize social entrepreneurship proof of concept products (crowdfunding)

Team members can provide expertise to other teams as available to earn extra money (Uber)

Equal value exchange with other projects in powering learning

Open source social change benefits society by accelerating change

Deepening EACH skills will increase value for individuals, teams and the world

Eliminates need for recruiting

Drives better team of teams performance

Better feedback loops for performance

If we design this as a framechange solution first, and use technology to achieve EACH, it will be more successful.

One possible go to market strategy is to build a prototype address the challenge of teachers and youth in Africa. The new organizational structure in middle and high school changemaker schools will involve creating teams of students, teachers, business leaders, media and policy makers to solve real world social problems. Students initiate the project, and teachers invite trusted advisors and every one leads to accomplish the agreed upon goal. Each team member reports on their work, expertise, and availability to participate in other projects. Project timeline, deliverables, and results are reported on collectively and shared on the platform. If successful, we scale up solution throughout Africa and with other Ashoka Fellows.

For me, Ashoka Fellow Parag Mankeekar's empathy game makes this a much more compelling solution for participation. Without it, there’s much less learning involved, and not as sticky which is really important to ensure.

In my view, whenever it comes to building technology, it is the trajectory at take off that is the most important thing that determines where you end up. What is most important is to define where you want to go first, right framework change solution first then figure out how technology can be deployed to empower it . It is not a good idea to shoehorn an existing technology to fit a solution.


Bob Spoer

How do you define a Team of Teams (this isn’t a test!)? What is an example of one that you have experienced or seen?

Here is an example of what is not a Team of Teams application platform, and why:
Clearly has many of the elements we talked about but missing the most important ones. Love their tie-in with Belbin model; my favorite for optimal team performance.
It is not team of teams since it is still individuals choosing to present data about themselves in the context of their work in teams. Not completely open and not team centric. They are compromising due to wanting to make more money as opposed to having an impact.

It is not a team self-identifying their work collectively for the greater good. Not every team member is required to be present for teamfit. And doesn’t say how much spare availability you may have or when your project is over so others can find you more seamlessly. Nor is any indication where participating individuals get paid for their own data, and data they bring into the system (anti-Facebook).
But the algorithm is there for team performance which is interesting.

TEAM COMPOSITION: Are there any specific roles and/or attributes that you believe are necessary for an effective Team of Teams?

We need openness in creating architecture of all things. But if we don’t have openness in work organization, we cannot realize the full potential of team of teams. Maybe the best way to get openness is that becomes the new social contract for all things, and get society beyond the tragedy of the commons.

TEAM COMPOSITION: Are there any successful approaches to creating a strong team that you would like to share?

We are still learning what makes strong teams. The best way to learn is to open source team work. This will then give us a data set as to why certain teams were successful or not.

This will not be possible to do in the private sector. This is a strong reason why Changemaker Economy will be the most powerful in the end. With shared goals for the good of all, there's less need for secrecy, less need for rules and professionals to interpret or enforce them, leaving more resources for the actual problem solving. The best teams will also be short lived. Open and fluid. To increase mobility, transparency about aspirations of team members would be key.

GOAL SETTING: In your opinion, how should we measure success for Team of Teams projects?

What percentage of work is spent in ToTs, and what percentage of work product is documented for others to gain knowledge and insights. Aside from this, measure the perceptions of team members around safety, dependability, importance of work, ability to make an impact, and structure and clarity of work. Do this every week. More often and open the feedback, the better ToT success.

Is there anything else related to Team of Teams you would like to share?

Inspired by Robin Chase's Zipcar concept. An open platform for participation which leverages excess capacity to create practical solutions for the good of all. When you combine networks with a platform, you create enormous value. The goal here is to create a sharing economy solution where users can monetize their own data, and projects and teams can be formed more easily to drive positive social change.


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