The Concave Co-op Culture of Continuous Learning

Scrum Jun 8, 2022

A place that enables and empowers our community of miners, developers, and collaborators deep in the cave to create the most innovative solutions together through our culture of continuous learning, inspiration, and collective aspiration for greatness and to expand their capacity that creates the results they truly desire while learning how to learn together.   Our delivery of innovative, high-quality products, solutions, and services is facilitated by rapidly responding to market changes and emerging opportunities.  Value is measured by delivery to our community!  We will change, adapt, and grow in many different directions, allowing individuals and teams alike to explore their interests and strengths to enable maximum potential.  Individual growth contributes to the greatness of the community.

The momentum of technology innovation is beyond exponential; change is happening at an unmeasurable rate.  Turmoil threatens to change the rules of technology at a moment’s notice.  At any moment, economic, political, and threaten to change the rules. Organizations in this new age are facing continual technological revolutions.  The ability to respond quickly will prevent extinction.  The factors are too copious for any one entity today to consider and the power of our collective community, acting as one, to solve these problems must be harnessed.  

The behavior and practices of the miners demonstrate our community values and principles.  The values embedded in our learning organization demonstrate our commitment to relentless improvement and a culture of innovation. Concave thrives in many diverse environments continually evolving in adaptive engines of change fueled by our culture of fast and effective learning at all levels.  Leveraging the collective knowledge, experience, and creativity of the miners allows us to harness the forces of change to our advantage.  Our constructs shift, as needed, to optimize the flow of value our community.  Decentralizing decision-making is a standard practice, as much as possible, and our leaders instead focus on intent, vision, and strategy; while enabling the community members to achieve their fullest potential.  

There are the 4 dimensions of culture that describe our continuous learning community.

  • Community of Learning ‚Äď Everyone at every level engages in learning and growth, allowing quick transformation and adaptation to the one constant among us: change.
  • Culture of Innovation ‚Äď All miners are encouraged and empowered to never stop exploring the depths of the caverns, and implement creative ideas that enable future community value delivery.
  • Relentless Improvement ‚Äď Every part of the community focuses on continuously improving solutions, products, and processes.
  • Stigmergic Collaboration - Indirect communication between agents, which is coordinated through interactions with their local environment - one agent‚Äôs modification becomes another‚Äôs cue.

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Our Community of Learning

Our learning community invests in, facilitates, and continually encourages the ongoing growth of the miners in the community.  When everyone in the community is always learning, it encourages the ability to effectively transform to forecast and exploit opportunities that create a competitive advantage. Our community excels at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge while modifying practices to integrate these new insights.  The intrinsic nature of people to learn and gain mastery to harness that inclination for the benefit of the entire community must be understood and nurtured.  Our miners yearn for knowledge just as a young child grows and learns.

We are set apart from those using the scientific management methods promoted by Frederick Taylor. In Taylor’s model, learning is exclusive to those at the top while everyone else simply follows the policies and practices they create. Being a community that is continually learning is not a magnanimous exercise. It is a remedy to the status-quo thinking that drove many former market leaders to bankruptcy.  Learning drives rejuvenation, leads to greater sharing of knowledge, enhances problem-solving, optimizes the sense of community, belonging, and comradery, and surfaces probabilities to be more efficient.

Personal Expertise

Miners develop as ‚ÄėT-shaped people‚Äô. They build broadness of knowledge in multiple disciplines for efficient collaboration and deep mastery aligned with their interests and skills.

Shared Vision

Our forward-looking commanders envision, align with, and articulate exciting possibilities. Then, they encourage others to share and devote to a common view of the future. The vision is compelling and drives others to contribute to achieving it.

Team Learning

Teams work together to achieve common objectives by stopping assumptions, sharing knowledge, and ‚Äėthinking together‚Äô. They round off each other‚Äôs skills for group problem solving and learning. ¬†An example of this within the caverns is from the miners of the Community Content team. ¬†After each major event the team executes, they conduct a team retrospective. ¬†The retrospective encourages individuals and the whole organization to continually increase knowledge, competence, performance, and innovation. It is dedicated time and space for the team to reflect on the past to improve quality and effectiveness in the future. ¬†This is just one example of the many practices teams can execute together to foster an environment of team learning.

Mental Models

Teams bring up their existing assumptions and generalizations while working with an open mind to make new models based on a shared understanding of the Concave Way of Working (CWoW). These models make complicated concepts easy to understand and apply.

Systems Thinking

Our community sees the larger picture and sees that optimizing individual components does not optimize the entire system. Instead, we take a holistic view to learning, problem-solving, and solution development. We have plans to extend to practices such as Lean Portfolio Management, which ensures that the community is making investments in experimentation and learning to drive the system forward.

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Culture of Innovation

Innovation is one of the pillars our community stands upon, but the kind of innovation we need cannot be infrequent or random.  It requires innovation to be part of the culture and it only exists because our leaders have created an environment that supports creative thinking, curiosity and challenging the status-quo.  Our leaders encourage and enable the community to explore ideas for enhancements to current products, experiment with ideas for new products, pursue fixes to chronic defects, create improvements to processes that reduce waste, and remove impediments to productivity.

Innovative People

We recognize that systems and culture do not innovate: people innovate.  It requires commitment to cultivate the courage and aptitude for innovation and encouraging educated and thoughtful risk-taking among the community.  Understanding innovation is a continuous process that is ingrained in our culture.  Individual goals should include language that enables and empowers growth as an innovator.  Our rewards and recognition balance intrinsic and extrinsic motivations that reinforce the importance of everybody as an innovator.

Time and Space for Innovation

We deliberately establish time away from routine work to explore and experiment.  Many of the best and most innovative ideas are sparked by seeing the problems solved first-hand.  We must understand the experience of our customers and community along their journey.  Conducting experiments deep in the caverns is the most effective path to learning and leads to many successful breakthroughs.  The caves are designed to progress iteratively towards a goal, and we do not believe failure is a bad thing.  There is no reason to fear failure, for we know that we can only get better by failing and using that information to become better.  Fear cripples innovation.

Pivot without Mercy or Guilt

Every innovations‚Äô genesis is an educated guess ‚Äď a set of assumptions and beliefs regarding how a new or improved product will delight our customers, and help the community achieve its business objectives. ¬†The fastest way to accept or reject a product development hypothesis is to experiment by building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). ¬†It is the simplest thing that can function to test if the proposed innovation leads to desired results. ¬†However, when the fact-based evidence indicates that a pivot is required, the shift in direction should occur as rapidly as possible without blame or consideration of any sunk costs from the original experiments.

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Relentless Improvement

While we know that achieving perfection is impossible, simply striving for it leads to continuous improvements to the output of products and services.  The only way for our community to maintain the continuous improvement culture is for each individual to integrate it into their mindset and practice it on a daily basis.  Improvement requires learning, and being open to new ideas that challenge common assumptions.  We are facing more and more complex problems, and it is essential that all miners in the system never stop trying to be better.

A Constant of Danger

We focus intently on delivering value to our community by providing products and services that solve their problems in ways that are better than our competitors. In order to remain relevant, we must feel the constant sense of danger that our competitors may make us obsolete at any moment.  We will not let that happen.

Optimizing the Whole

All improvements are designed to increase the effectiveness of the entire system.  This produces a sustainable flow of value, instead of only optimizing individual teams or silos.  When we all embrace a continuous improvement mindset, then benefits in one area will not be viewed as a detriment to the overall system.  We recently had an example of this mentality within our community.  The Concave pToken contract ethereum address has 6 leading zeros in it.  The chances of generating this address by accident is extremely rare.  However, one of our engineers spent some extra effort testing and executing this and ultimately it will optimize gas transaction usage for all users that interact with that contract address.  Optimizing the whole brings extra value back to our community that everybody will benefit from.

Problem Solving Culture

Problem-solving is the driver of continuous improvement.  We recognize that a gap exists between the current state and the desired state, requiring an interactive process to achieve the target state.  The steps to problem-solving are both fractal and scalable.  Iterative Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) cycles provide the process for ongoing problem solving on small adjustments, as well as breakthrough innovations.  PDCA is a four-step model for carrying out change. Just as a circle has no end, the PDCA cycle should be repeated for continuous improvement.

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Stigmergic Collaboration

We realize that not all forms of collaboration and learning can be directly applied.  Stigmergy is the mechanism of spontaneous, indirect coordination and self-organization between the miners in the cave and their actions. When this occurs, miner actions  produce complicated, intelligent structures without the usual need for  planning, control, or even any direct interaction between the individuals involved.  As miners learn and complete tasks, it stimulates the performance of another subsequent action by the same miner or even another one.  Certain actions trigger a response from other miners, and each miner interprets the configurations of the environment in the underground chambers and acts accordingly.  Collaborating and learning in this manner does not require permission or consensus to propose new ideas or start a project.  Miners that respond to the traces of others in the environment receive positive benefits, reinforcing the likelihood of these practices and behaviors becoming fixed within our community over time.  This supports effective collaboration and learning between all levels of miners, from the most sophisticated to the simplest of miners.  All miners are valuable and innovative in their own right.

We promote a culture of people that is open, honest and transparent.  It  generates an enhanced capacity to remember, review, and reflect when learning and collaborating. This further enables the process of emergence and the synergistic exchange among everyone in our community.  As we mature as a collective, our community will act more like a hive of ants coordinating their efforts; or how the neurons in the human brain function together.

Conclusion

We, the community of Concave, shall learn, grow, and build together. We want truth and beauty, grace and glory.  We want fulfillment of our destinies and what lies beyond the skies.  We recognize that our common humanity bonds us to one another and that we are weaker alone, but stronger together.

We must not descend into the trap of assuming that our culture, processes, and products that led to today’s success will continue to ensure future results. That mindset will lead to catastrophic failure.  Instead, we will dominate our markets by continuing to be an adaptive learning community, with the ability to relentlessly innovate and improve faster than our competition.  Investment of time and resources will continue, building upon our culture of imaginative thinking and curiosity; a community where norms can and will be contested, and new solutions and processes surfaced and cultivated.  Alongside this, relentless improvement acknowledges that the survival of our community is not guaranteed. We will continually challenge our organization to find and make incremental improvements, and strive to give priority and visibility to this most important task and endeavor.

We, the people of Concave, are something new.  We are beyond the distinctions of the past, for we live at the edge of time.  We shall teach and learn, debate and play.  We shall struggle in our search for greatness together, carving ever better tools and models to understand it.  We will make the most beautiful games where our lives can be fulfilled in the promise of a better tomorrow.  We will work and we will play together, for we know we are brothers and sisters under the stars.

We, the people of Concave, long for the incredible. Diu enim incredibile

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Typhoeus

humble miner scrum lord. I come to serve and to drive the Concave Culture with teams, memes and frens along the way. Ideas are great, but they are nothing without execution.