Getting organized. Plus, Feb 23 at ANE!

Hi everyone,

It’s time for an update!

In this post:

  • Growing and improving our organization’s internal operations.
  • Developing efforts to broaden our impact without increasing capital requirements.
  • We will be giving a panel at Anthro New England on February 23, 2019!

Growing and improving our organization’s internal operations

We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes to improve how our organization runs. As you might imagine, it will take a lot of work to accomplish our goals. Increasing efficiency, scalability, and robustness are all paramount.

The best news here is: we now count 17 formal volunteers among our ranks!

That’s a lot of person-power – and it’s the responsibility of our management to make sure it’s used wisely.

To this end, we’ve been setting up a more formal power structure, making expectations associated with roles simpler and more actionable, and empowering our people to make decisions faster on areas they’re experienced in. Briefly, we have created six operating Groups – Outreach, Community, Infrastructure, Research, Corporate, and Personnel.*** Each unit reports to the Board, and each unit is advised by our Chief Volunteer Officer (CVO), a position commonly used in nonprofits roughly equivalent to a Chief Executive Officer.

The effort is already paying off, and our viewers will start to see a visible difference within a few weeks. I want to call attention to the following especially:

  • Our Community Group has taken over management for our Discord server, which has been growing at a solid rate through purely organic/word-of-mouth growth, and has developed a remarkably friendly and focused atmosphere thanks to both our great moderation team and fantastic users.
  • Our Infrastructure Group has been setting up more efficient and organized communication methods for our volunteers, and has also initialized servers for both a wiki and a forum. The forum will be managed by the Community Group. The wiki is currently being managed as a secondary effort of the Research Group (in addition to its primary academic role), but this may change as it matures.
  • Our Personnel Group has been implementing a much more efficient onboarding process for our volunteers, including development of easy-to-understand protocols and checklists. Looking forwards, it is now developing additional capabilities to help make sure our volunteers are working with each other optimally, including via a standing mandate to continuously observe and advise on possible improvements in interactions and work-flows.
  • Our Outreach Group is still developing, and several visual artists, writers, and videographers have enthusiastically offered their help. We’re still working on finding an ideal candidate for leading this group – but seeing solid progress nonetheless.

Developing efforts to broaden our impact without increasing capital requirements

As our structural improvements are starting to pay off, we’ve been able to look ahead and consider the best ways that the Freedom of Form Foundation can advance our mission. Many of these efforts are only now possible since we have broadened the base of people that can make key decisions!

As briefly alluded in the previous section, we are starting both a wiki and a forum. These have somewhat similar goals in terms of letting people collect and share knowledge, and start to figure out additional technical challenges that need to be overcome. However, the wiki is naturally more for organizing information. We hope that at some point, this wiki may become a reasonably authoritative source of information relevant to morphological freedom – but we know it will take a while to get there! On the other hand, the forum is intended more for active problem-solving, and open-ended sharing of ideas.

We’re also starting a talent-matching program, at the suggestion of our Chief Community Officer. In this program, we have begun working with small startup companies that can be considered allies in our mission, and matching them to key people within our social networks with needed skill sets. Actually, we have already made one matching recommendation under this program – prior to publicly announcing its existence! We expect this program could turn out to be one of the FFF’s key contributions to morphological freedom.

We believe the above programs will make our academic research more effective and efficient by accelerating the sharing of knowledge and ideas, and helping build alliances. Also, due to their negligible cost, we can start advancing our mission immediately before funding is sufficient for academic research!

We will be giving a panel at Anthro New England on February 23, 2019!

The third item to discuss today is that the FFF is hosting a panel at Anthro New England! This will be in Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday, February 23 from 3pm-4pm, in Panel Room 3.

Michael Norsworthy and Daniel Davies will be presenting. First, we’ll talk about our strategies and research areas of interest. After that, we’ll open the floor for questions and discussion.

We are also working on a bit of a surprise for attendees that should be quite interesting and insightful. As this development proceeds, we’ll tease a little bit more information – but hopefully without giving away the surprise too early!

We hope after attending our panel, you can help inspire others about what’s possible with the right effort – and to help Make It Real.

Kindest regards,
Michael Norsworthy, PhD
President and CVO, Freedom of Form Foundation

***Outreach, Infrastructure, and Personnel Groups are similar to what many corporations call Marketing, Information Technology, and HR. However after careful consideration we are giving them somewhat different powers and responsibilities that should enhance their ability to help the FFF operate and grow optimally.