Organizing with Purpose Conference Session:

OD in DAO? Early Observations About Distributed Autonomous Organizations from an Organization Designer

Sarah Sonnenfeld joined by members of talentDAO

Keynote Presentation 


Sarah Sonnenfeld (left) has led teams and advised clients at start-ups and some of the world’s most respected companies. Sarah brings tools from organization design, behavioral science, network analysis, futurism, and classic business strategy: her radar is always searching for the glimpses where the emergent becomes tangible. Before founding Alsephina Consulting, she ran the North America division of the People & Organization Practice at Boston Consulting Group. Sarah lives in Boston and holds a BA from Harvard and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth. She is an affiliate practitioner with the University of Southern California’s Center for Effective Organizations and the author of “The Zig Zag Imperative: A New Way to Think about Strategic Vision.”

Lisa Wocken (right) is a DAO educator/researcher and founding member of talentDAO. Prior to talentDAO, she recently completed her PhD in Organizational Leadership and founded Bolster Leadership building leadership development products aligned to the DAO ethos. She is an adjunct instructor at the University of Minnesota and is actively researching leadership in the decentralized world of work with talentDAO. Her background includes leadership development, teaching and coaching. She led digital executive education and enterprise leadership development at Cargill and Target during times of peak transformation. Her work is informed by behavioral science, positive psychology and neuroscience to help develop workers for the future.

What are Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)? And how might we as organization designers be experimenting in this highly emergent space?


What are Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)? And is there a role for us as Organization Designers (ODs) in DAOs? We’ll peek into a highly emergent space to see various ways people are talking about DAOs, experiment live, and discuss what they could mean for us as organization designers and the traditional organizations many of us are part of. We’ll also get a chance to talk with members of talentDAO, a community of organizational scientists, strategists and researchers building the world’s first decentralized community-reviewed publication protocol for the social sciences and applying what they learn to help the DAO ecosystem thrive Highlights of the session will include:

    • What is a DAO? Sarah will share a practical set of definitions
    • What are some examples? Glimpses may include DAOs focused on communal fundraising, talent, play-to-earn
    • What’s new & what’s not: a look through the STAR framework
    • AMA: Ask Me Anything with members of talentDAO
    • What interests us for our current organizations
    • Resources for exploring more