The eight prosocial design principles provide guidance for dealing with people who regularly ignore relevant advice (or consistently refuse to seek or give advice) and therefore regularly cause downstream problems for others as a result. Such situations are obvious for all involved. A persistent breakdown of collaboration either results in a significant change in behaviour once the downstream problems are recognised, or in the non-cooperative person leaving the organisation.

The Beauty of Collaboration at Human Scale: Timeless patterns of human limitations

At the level of small (human scale) groups, the NeurodiVenture model provides a set of first principles for creative collaboration that can be implemented in appropriate ways to accommodate local needs. The prosocial principles (Atkins et al., 2019) that are part of the NeurodiVenture model not only provide guidance for collaboration within the group, but also for collaboration with other groups, and thereby they pave the path for the development of collaborative bioregional networks of NeurodiVentures and other human scale groups.

The Beauty of Collaboration at Human Scale: Timeless patterns of human limitations

Individual competency networks are one of the three ingredients of the collaborative (not secret) sauce of good company. The other two essential ingredients that define the NeurodiVenture model include eight trust-reinforcing organisational principles and rituals and eight more generic tailored 8 prosocial core design principles.

The NeurodiVenture model is the result of incremental evolution. The eight trust-reinforcing principles and rituals are not unique to our approach and have proven their worth in various contexts to catalyse collective intelligence: ​

  1. A clear purpose, a long term perspective, and revenue sharing instead of salaries
    ☞ resilience
  2. Twenty-six critical thinking tools (backbone principles) to support the purpose
    ☞ an inclusive culture of thinking and learning
  3. Employee ownership and zero debt
    ☞ no distractions by stakeholders with short term motivations and hidden agendas
  4. An intensive 12-month induction and on-boarding process
    ☞ a foundation for mutual understanding
  5. ​​Organising around the talents and needs of specific people
    ☞ ability to benefit from an incredible diversity of talents
  6. Relying entirely on equitable team-oriented incentives and zero individual incentives
    ☞ elimination of in-group competition
  7. ​​Operating an advice process instead of hierarchy
    ☞ maximising learning opportunities ​
  8. Open source intellectual property
    ☞ no barriers to flows of tacit knowledge

At S23M we started with these eight complementary principles and rituals as an initial minimal viable operating model. Then several painful lessons from attempts of interfacing with the neuronormative social world prompted us to add a missing generic principle, to clamp down on toxic social power dynamics. The tailored core prosocial design principles we use:

  1. ​​Trusted relationships within the group and strong understanding of purpose (to support an open and inclusive neurodiverse and creative team)
  2. ​​Fair distribution of costs and benefits
  3. ​​Fair and inclusive decision-making ​
  4. Fast and empathetic conflict resolution
  5. ​​Authority to self-govern ​
  6. Appropriate relations with other groups
  7. ​​Tracking agreed upon behaviours (a working advice process minimises the need for tracking)
  8. Graduated responses to transgressions to prevent a person or a subgroup from gaining power over others (appropriate focus on fair and inclusive distribution of resources minimises the need for coercion)

Our established undocumented practices meant that we already had implementations for 7 of the 8 prosocial principles (Atkins et al. 2019) identified by Elinor Ostrom (2015), Michael Cox and David Sloan Wilson, but we were missing the 8th principle “Graduated responses to transgressions”. We have qualified this principle as shown in the list above, to remind us to stick to an incremental approach when extending trust to candidates who are still in the on-boarding phase, and still in the process of unlearning W.E.I.R.D. social norms.

The Beauty of Collaboration at Human Scale: Timeless patterns of human limitations

Applying evolutionary science to coordinate action, avoid disruptive behaviours among group members, and cultivate appropriate relationships with other groups in a multi-group ecosystem (the work of Elinor Ostrom, Michael Cox and David Sloan Wilson).

With the needs of autistic people in mind, the original pro-social design principles from Elinor Ostrom have been modified (a) to emphasise trusted relationships over strong group identity, and (b) to limit the legitimacy of coercion to a narrow use case.

Operating Model and Backbone

Related reading,