Federated Decision Making is fundamentally about a trade -- one group asks another to vote on whether to expend resources to meet a member's need. As you can read from the attached document, the model grew out of a perceived political gap.
Looking at decision making in government, it's clear that 'government by the people for the people' doesn't always work. Is there an alternative to the delegated model where a representative makes decisions on behalf of the population. With technology is should be possible to give people the information to vote for their preference real time.
The Federated Decision concept explains how this might work. If it can be modeled and prototyped to shadow political decision making, it will be a great source of validation and perhaps the foundation for a new model of voting and possibly peaceful shift in how government knows the will of the people.
As I thought more about applying the model t commerce in response to Tiberius' comment to this post, the economic relevance became clear, not only for commerce, but it also dawned on me that representatives are making decisions with economic impact all the time. When the Federated Decision process compels the representative to vote in a certain way -- and the voice of The People has to be compelling, because government is there for The People -- then those who voted made an economic decision. So escalating a vote on an issue that cannot be resolved locally to another group that will vote on the issue necessarily means asking a broader audience to shoulder some of the burden. That is a costly ask.
Thus characterized as an economic request, naturally the other group is going to want something in return or at the very least experience a shared benefit to the investment. The weight of this request also helps to keep the resolution and fulfillment of issues local, which fosters self-sufficiency of the kind that makes communities resilient. This is one example on how Federated Decision Making can impact the definition of a transaction, one that is not simply fulfilled with a purchase order but that rather has value proposition for all stakeholders.
Another example is the transformative power it can have within siloed organizations. Those of us who work in large companies can attest to the selfish dynamic of groups trying to meet their commitments and so not having time or will to help your group out with something. Each group is measured on its commitments, and rarely can you pull resources away from that, unless of course you have something to provide in return. Today, horse trading to get what you want is hard. We’re not very good at taking a feature request from another group and prioritizing it as-is because it usually impacts my resource pool. If we do take it, we have to make it our own, i.e. re-invent it, so we can get credit for it, and build it into a future release. Thus we take the idea and ignore the need. That way the apple cart is not upset, and there is a planned execution instead of an interruption. I win, you lose. A zero sum game.
Federated Decision Making won’t make all those dynamics go away overnight. It does, however, provide a robust infrastructure for forwarding requests to those who can help with a value prop for al. Since everyone is a voter -- not just the hierarchical manager - the group’s opinion about how helping a segment in their ranks can be brought to bear. It introduces a mechanism for leveling across product backlogs, and this is very important for an agile enterprise because it can improve collaboration and raise quality across the whole portfolio. The infrastructure provides real time feedback based on new information, which kills the NIH (not invented here) syndrome and allows for decisions to shift.
So both on political as well as economic fronts – and the two are deeply intertwined – Federated Decision Making can help move civilization into a more robust model with openness of information and trade of value.
This concept grew out of experience executing software development projects using the Scrum model. Scrum allows a team to be self-organizing, and to make decisions locally without outside interference. The agenda is set through a product backlog, which is prioritized by a Product Owner.
Federated Decision Making seeks to emulate the power of local decision making and execution as it applies to the management of community issues, while at the same time introducing a scalability component required by the function of government.
The trigger was watching the movie 'Gasland' where it showed how the decision of the administration to except small but environmentally disastrous hydraulic fracturing gas drilling operations were except from the Clean Water act. Clearly the will of those impacted by the decision in over 20 states was not accounted for, and many have been hurt and our lovely countryside has been damaged and scarred. Clearly decisions were diametrically opposed to what people would have wanted. We have to find a way to stop that kind of disconnected decision making.
Here, let me give you an example of the power of Federated Decision Making in an natural emergency: The Mississippi is flooding to record levels across two states. The Army Core of Engineers has determined that in order to save a city, the levy must be exploded at a strategic spot within a certain time window to allow excess water to overflow into the country side and relieve enough pressure from the city’s levy’s so they will hold. The downside, however, is equally catastrophic to thousands of farmers spread out over the valleys that normally never get flooded. How to make this decision? Who can make it, and do they have the authority? The decision impacts land across two states, many voting districts with very different constituencies.
With Federated Decision Making an ad hoc voting group is created whose members are those who meet certain criteria. For example, they are property owners and/or residents of the impacted area. There is a time window for the vote, and a 60% approval is needed one way or the other. So the horse trading begins, and people vote. As long as the window hasn’t closed and the 60% threshold isn’t reached, people can change their votes. For example, from day to day the impact assessment changes. One day it is 50,000 acres of farmland flooded, the next it is 250,000 because a critical level is predicted to be reached. The voting population changed, various stakeholders and interest groups have been making their arguments, spouses have changed their partner’s opinions, and so on. The vote is dynamic, real time up to the last minute or when the threshold is crossed and sustained for a certain amount of time.