Since I came into this collective, I've been trying to answer one question to myself and to others: What is Edgeryders? I've been in an interesting position to try to understand this, as I've been trusted to come in to the core, while not being a director, employed or really in any way dependent on Edgeryders – financially or socially.
For a few months now, I've been on track to become a director of Edgeryders. My time looking at Edgeryders with one foot on the outside is coming to an end. So I thought I'd make the best of it and write down some thoughts before I drown in group think.
I've come to the conclusion that I think we are in fact less strange and hard to pin down than we tell ourselves. I'm going to paint with broad strokes here. Please allow some blue-sky thinking and take my absolutes with a grain of salt – I just find it easier to think when allowed to indulge in grand statements.
Here is what I think we are doing:
Our mission is to make it easier to think and and act together while retaining personal autonomy.
Collective thought and action without the right tools is expensive. It often leaves little room for autonomy, which is also expensive. We lower the cost and overhead of collective thought and action with replicable online/offline community building methods, and make collective sense-making accessible through innovative tools and practices.
Meanwhile, we constantly strive to improve autonomy of the individual in the collective while also maintaining bonds of trust and commitment. We don't like having bosses, we like thinking and acting together, but we also recognise that no boss is worse than the tyranny of consensus.
Our drive towards unorthodox organisational structures come from striking this balance, rather than from an ideological commitment to decentralisation or direct-democracy principles.
Finally, we believe that a network that balances these things can act as an extension of the intelligence of every individual in the network. Because of that, we are eager to connect to and incubate communities on the edges to extend the reach of our sensors into the world as far as possible. But to keep this collective intelligence as sharp as possible, we're honing our skills in community management, netiquette and empathy to keep our network healthy.
Our commitment to this mission can be traced in circles within circles of how we work. It is our vision for a better future, the philosophy that informs our research, the methodology that guides our community-building and the tenants upon which we build our own organisation.
What do you think about this mission statement? Does it ring true to you?