[Discussion] [OBRA] Contribution Efficiency System (CES) - Areta


Provide a brief summary of your initiative

This proposal introduces the Contribution Efficiency System (CES) to improve governance efficiency and decision-making for Safe token holders. The CES, initially an enabling tool for OBRA, focuses on transparency and accountability of initiatives. It streamlines OBRA onboarding, milestone setting, progress tracking, and outcome reporting to SafeDAO.

Our aim is to evolve from manual to automated processes, enhancing governance effectiveness in line with key performance indicators like reduced onboarding time as well as clear and effective processes in milestone setting, tracking and reporting.

Aligned strategy:

Provide a brief summary of your initiative

Strategy 5: Increase governance participation

Funding request:

What resources are being requested from SafeDAO in USDC?

50.000 USDC

Relation to budget:

State the requested funding as a percentage of the total initiative budget (e.g. if you ask for 50k for Strategy 1: 25%)


Metrics and KPIs:

Which metrics and KPIs will the initiative be measured against?

The KPIs for our initiative are currently under development and may be adjusted based on feedback from discussions. Find our starting point below:

  1. OBRA onboarding process takes under 15mins [Onboarding]
  2. Milestone setting process for OBRA initiatives is rated min. 8/10 in quality [Milestone setting]
  3. 90% of OBRA inititiatives give updates on time [Tracking]
  4. Delegates need less than 10min to understand updates [Reporting]

Initiative description:

What is the initiative about?

Currently, SafeDAO faces the challenge of decision-making overload for delegates and guardians, who juggle multiple roles and lack time and attention. They often wear multiple hats (own projects, committee roles, multiple delegations) and face a scarcity of time and attention.

This is especially problematic within the information-heavy environment of SafeDAO and is expected to become larger with activity-fueling milestones like the upcoming first OBRA initiatives and a potential token transferability event. While OBRA lays down an excellent framework to enable external contributions, it also presents new needs for processes and capacity to manage these contributions.

Key issues include:

    1. Proposal and Decision-Making Overload: “Too many proposals of too many DAOs.”
    1. Information Overload at the Proposal Level: “Proposals are great, but take a lot of attention and effort to fully digest.”
    1. Lack of Standardized Information Flow: “I need (and want) to invest extra time in understanding necessary background information and conducting research for informed decision-making.”
    1. Curation Complexities: “I find it challenging to identify and participate in only the essential decisions for me.”
    1. No Clear Guidance / Barrier to Entry for Outside Contributors: “I find SafeDAO interesting, and would love to see if I can contribute, but don’t have the time to digest all the forum information / don’t know where to start.”

Without a solution, SafeDAO could face:

    1. Bloat of Decision-making: Decision-making becoming so bloated that governance contributors lose the necessary context for effective governance, leading to excessive delegation and concentration of influence in a few hands who may not create real impact.
    1. Ineffectiveness of Initiatives: The lack of clear onboarding processes can prevent initiatives from operating at their best. They may find themselves spending more time trying to figure out how to contribute, report, and comply with procedural requirements, instead of focusing on building and executing their core activities.
    1. Lack of Accountabilty for Initiatives: Without proper tracking and concise reporting mechanisms, initiatives might fail to deliver effectively, significantly reducing their impact on SafeDAO. This lack of oversight could foster a culture where the emphasis is more on securing grants or funding rather than being actively engaged. This phenomenon has been observed in numerous cases across the industry, where initiatives prioritize funding acquisition over active contribution and achievement.

As SafeDAO approaches a pivotal moment with the start of OBRA, advancement of milestone 5 (token utility), paving the way for potential token transferability, it’s vital to engage active parties and re-engage those who have become inactive due to the complexities mentioned. This engagement is fundamental to the governance of Safe DAO and pivotal for its future as activity will likely only increase.

This proposal aims to improve governance efficiency and decision-making for Safe token holders by developing a Contribution Efficiency System (CES).

Initially, the CES will serve as an enabling tool for OBRA, equipping it to meet transparency and accountability standards in its initiatives.

This will involve establishing key processes for OBRA initiatives to facilitate communication to SafeDAO and delegates, as well as their operational management. As an enabling initiative to OBRA, we aim to:

    1. Establish clear onboarding and milestone setting procedures and material for initiatives
    1. Implement effective progress tracking mechanisms
    1. Facilitate comprehensive reporting to SafeDAO.

This will enable informed decision-making regarding the impact and potential discontinuation of initiatives.

To bring the CES into effect, we propose a three-staged approach:

    1. Validation and Day-1 System Launch: Conduct further research and interviews to validate our identified enabler elements in OBRA, incl. best practices in onboarding, milestone setting, tracking, and reporting.
    1. System Improvement: Create a comprehensive system to set up enabler elements, incorporating feedback from token holders and initiatives. This involves developing key processes for onboarding, milestone setting, tracking, and reporting.
    1. Operational Implementation and Management: Implement the Contribution Efficiency System (CES), testing it with stakeholders and rolling it out. This includes the operational management of it for the first season.

We see the CES as a critical element of SafeDAO’s progress towards milestone 5, token utility, and potential transferability in the future. It’s vital to re-engage inactive token holders and enable active participants to take part in discussions that improve the governance quality level of SafeDAO vs. mere decision-making.

The urgency of addressing these challenges is underscored by lessons learned from other DAOs. Case studies, such as the Arbitrum Short-term Incentive Program, reveal the risks of decision-making overload due to outsourced participation programs. Similar challenges faced by Arbitrum DAO led to an overwhelming decision-making load, multiple initiatives attempting to fix the breaking points afterwards, and delegates being overwhelmed, leading to skewed decisions towards either the loudest or the most politically adept initiatives. Our goal is to proactively address these issues, aiming to stabilize and strengthen SafeDAO’s governance system before it encounters similar challenges.

Current Status:

Does the offering (product/service) already exist or is the funding used to create it?

We have conducted primary research to determine the key breaking points in Safe Governance, and more specifically OBRA. We achieved this through our active involvement in governance, including co-authoring the latest OBRA proposals (Link, Link), shaping the last token transferability milestones (OBRA and Token Utility), and sharpening our thesis through 1-on1 interactions with many of the DAO’s delegates and guardians. This enabled us to gain valuable insights into the current state of governance and breaking points in outside contribution.


What risks does the initiative entail?

The primary risk of this initiative is that improper execution could add an additional layer of confusion rather than facilitate the intended outcomes. To mitigate this, we plan to (1) employ a structured and transparent approach that integrates insights from best practices in the space, and (2) ensure that the CES is launched only after thorough iteration with its actual users (token holders) and receiving a positive assessment as a significant improvement through a quality survey.

Timeline and milestones:

Provide a detailed timeline or roadmap, include key milestones

Milestone Phases Timeline Deliverables
Phase 1: Validation and Day-1 System Launch S2 Sprint 1 DAO Contribution Efficiency Mapping
Delegate/Guardian/Initiatives Interviews
Hypothesis Testing
Phase 2: System Improvement S2 Sprint 2-4 Onboarding and Milestone Setting Process (incl. communication, facilitation of information flows, information elements)
Initiatives Progress Tracking Mechanisms (incl. tracking criteria, interaction channels, overview dashboard)
Reporting Standards (incl. reporting framework, output channels, communication)
Phase 3: Operational Implementation and Management S2 Sprint 4 Qualitative Iteration of CES
Guided Roll-out with Selected Parties
Leading Token Holder Interaction Points

Given the limited timeframe of the first OBRA season, we aim to work in an iterative manner and move from manual processes to automation with an ambition to complement OBRA capabilities already in the first session.

Initiative lead:

Who is the accountable initiative lead? (individual or organization)

The initiative will be led by a dedicated team from Areta. We are an ex-McKinsey/Blackstone team specializing in complex governance processes and strategic transactions and have had the privilege to work for some of the leading companies and DAOs in the crypto space.

Examples of our work include leading the first cross-ecosystem growth initiative for Uniswap and Arbitrum, the first acquisition of Coingecko, the sale of Solscan to Etherscan, and the strategic wind-down of Gro DAO.

We have been very actively involved in SafeDAO’s governance, including co-authoring and contributing to the latest OBRA proposals (Link, Link), shaping the last token transferability milestones (OBRA and Token Utility), had many interactions with Guardians on- and offline, and see ourselves as long-term supporters of the ecosystem.


How many individuals in total will be working on this initiative and what role do they have? Please provide a brief background of the team members, highlighting their relevant experience and expertise

We work in a team-based approach leading strategic projects across ecosystems. For the 4-month project duration, Areta has will staff a comprehensive team, including a part-time partner, manager, and additional associate/research resources. The budget ask for this set-up reflects a discounted rate to our normal pricing demonstrating our commitment to the SafeDAO ecosystem. Additionally, to minimize the risk for SafeDAO, there is an option to terminate the initiative at any point if Areta’s performance does not meet expectations.

The initiative will be led by me, Bernard, co-founder of Areta. I bring to the table my experience from leading the Uniswap-Arbitrum Ecosystem Program, active involvement across DAOs, and professional background from McKinsey. My primary focus will be on establishing well-structured processes and effective communication. Among our research resources is Fin, who has prior experience at Delphi Digital and supporting governance initiatives within Areta. Profiles of the rest of the team you can find here.

Additional support/resources:

Are there any resources (non-financial) requested from the Safe Ecosystem Foundation or the core contributors? (e.g. expertise or integration into Safe products)



Hi @bernard,

Thanks for taking the time to shape up this intent. I understand the value a CES could deliver; however, I don’t think SafeDAO is at a stage yet where we need a system like this.

To me, the current Guidelines and Governance Hub provided sufficient clarity to be a delegate and now intent lead. I don’t experience the key issues you mention, as participating in SafeDAO has been highly straightforward to me (out of dozens of DAOs I’ve participated in).

I can see a CES being useful after running one or two OBRA seasons and identifying precise needs, but this seems too extensive for now. It might be helpful to scope a smaller intent to shadow the first OBRA cycle, harvest learnings, and pinpoint and create a final OBRA report at the end of the cycle.


Hi @LuukDAO,

First of all, appreciate you taking the time to digest our proposal, esp. given your insights as one of the more involved Guardians :pray:t3:

And thanks for the feedback on the part „Onboarding & Milestone setting.“ I’ve provided my responses below. Would love to continue the discussion to sharpen the edges in the discussion phase as this is what it’s for.

Re Onboarding:

For the first level of informative onboarding that you are describing („What proposal to post and when?“), I do totally agree - this is not the biggest issue to solve (given we have set up the OBRA 101 Notion page now, and there is sufficient info on the forum).

However, while being on the less important front of our proposal. I do think it is important to differentiate between parties who have been actively involved in SAFE for months, and those who are outsiders. It would be wise for us to do a good job in creating a pathway for these outsiders to join the DAO in the future. We aim to attract the highest quality contributors for the long term, recognizing that they may not always have the capacity to initially delve deeply into our initiatives, although that would be ideal. This is a factor we should consider as we think about expanding OBRA and is crucial to have in mind from the beginning.

Throughout the last weeks, I have spoken with several high-quality parties active in other ecosystems who signaled they’d be generally interested in exploring OBRA, but don’t have the time to fully understand it or simply didn’t have SAFE on the map for this.

Re Rest of the proposal:

Would also be curious to get your opinion on the rest of the proposal if time allows. Milestone setting, Tracking, Reporting, Accountability, etc. From my first hand view and convos we had within SafeDAO, we see these as crucial elements and currently there is nothing out there.

Re Working model

Fully agree here with the working model and benefit of starting with the first OBRA cycle. One I think it’s crucial, because simply some of the essential processes that we are describing do not exist yet, and two this gives us a big advantage of being able to build iteratively and live along the initiatives.

Our ambition is to keep this initiative as MVP as possible and we are not married to the scope, expecting the discussion period in Phase 0 will result in some adjustments :slight_smile:


Hi @bernard,

Sorry for taking a bit longer to give more input! It’s been a hectic week.

I agree that we want to attract high-quality contribution parties; however, I do believe that most Web 3.0 service providers are aware of Safe, given it’s nearly impossible to operate on-chain without touching Safe Wallet in one way or another.

I don’t have a concrete suggestion, but I would imagine something in the direction of:

  • Reducing the scope to create an S1/S2 OBRA Report, harvesting progress, learnings, and all stakeholders’ reflections.
  • From these insights, I would imagine we can A. Create an improved process for OBRA strategy budgeting and B. Create a strategy for sourcing potential service providers for critical initiatives that aren’t picked up yet and provide ways to improve OBRA contributor operations.
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Thanks @LuukDAO, that’s valuable feedback on the Onboarding part of the proposal. On this, I fundamentally agree with the approach of generating learnings with the program and then iterating going forward.

However, I have a different view on the suggestion that we should merely observe during the first season, then actively generate learnings and take action afterward. I strongly believe that the key elements of our proposal (i.e., Milestone Setting, Tracking, Reporting, Accountability, etc.) need to be established from day one. Community funding programs in this space have often fallen into the trap of prioritizing funding first and structuring later. Countless examples have shown this to be a costly mistake. As a co-author of the latest OBRA iterations and from insights gained in discussions with parties involved in community calls, I view our proposal as a crucial enabler for OBRA. Always happy to share more context on these in our TG chat, to not overblow this thread.

Similarly, although it’s not a core part of our proposal, I have a very different view regarding the ecosystem’s awareness of what is happening in SafeDAO. Just because service providers use Safe as a product does not necessarily mean they are aware of the DAO’s activities, often due to their limited attention span. My perspective might be biased based on my conversations, but I wanted to point out that there’s still significant potential to bridge this gap

That being said, I really like your idea of creating an OBRA Report on top of it with practical implications on how to improve OBRA going forward (e.g., processes, budgeting, etc.). Will spin some thoughts on how to include this as part of our proposal as additional value add. We are probably the party in the best position to publish this after the first OBRA season.

Happy to discuss further details in the call on Wednesday or anytime in our open TG chat :slight_smile:

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