[foundation-board] Strategy process - a request

Marcus M. Dapp (OKF) marcus.dapp at okfn.org
Thu Sep 27 15:27:19 UTC 2012

Dear board members,

first of all, thank you for the valuable discussion, Becky, Jane, and
Gavin! We also think that doing "the right things",
i.e. setting goals and direction, needs to be done first to be able to
focus on "doing the things right".

In the last board meeting, the decision was made that the ET present a
strategy document
at the next meeting in December (with as much as possible of this discussed
before so the Board meeting
can be the sign-off of this initial process!). On behalf of the ET I'd like
to give you a brief update and overview
on how we work on strategy (1), where we are and what you can expect from
us this month (2).

*1) Two challenges to address*
The ET is working hard on 2 fronts currently:
a) to develop improved management practices in the ET and within the org
b) to develop a direction and goals to guide the org into the future.

To a large extent a) can be done without having b) fully in place, yet we
need to work on both in
parallel. To do that, we adopted the approach outlined here:
We are now working on producing the necessary analyses and documents step
by step and by priority.
(This document is not the reference anymore, please do not comment there.)

*2) Update mechanism*
We decided to send out a monthly strategy brief to you -- the first in
about two weeks time.
Each brief will give you a (new) set of documents that we produced until
then. We know the documents to be
dynamic as many steps/aspects in the planning process are interrelated, but
we ensure that the documents
sent out are of sufficient maturity to be of use for the board. Internally,
we treat the mailings as 'milstones'
in our planning process.

The list for October is not finalized yet, but expect to receive at least
the following:
* An updated *Identity statement* including vision, mission, etc. NEW: We
will also make a first proposal
for a values&principles statement as part of the core documents as it has
been missing until now and we
think that one strength of NGOs like the OKF is to make their aspirations
* An *organisational chart* that provides a home for all of our current
activities and that introduces a clear
managament level below the executive team. This is of high priority to
improve internal communication,
cooperation and an important step towards establishing clearer job roles
across the organisation -- and it will
help to communicate to the outside world what we are doing.
* A '*process chart*' that completes the org chart. While the org chart is
a static document with areas,
roles, etc. the process chart describes how activities and projects 'move'
through the organisation. We
aspire to have a high level document that captures all aspects of the OKF,
with additional documents
specifiying the details to be produced later. Just one example: How does a
project move from a Working
Group into experiemental stage (in "Labs") and later with growing maturity
into "Services"...?
* Brief *Role descriptions* for each member of the executive team (one

*3) Strategy development requires a team effort.*
We are planning to work intensively on strategy over the next month and
have planned a significant amount of
online and in person time including a 4d in person meeting in late October

There are many plausible routes to deliver our vision for open knowledge.
Imagine a 3d matrix: one axis covers
all the approaches we could take (writing code, writing blogs, training,
campaigning, publishing, lobbying, etc),
one the domains (gov, geo, science, hardware, carbon, humanities, etc) and
one the stage of the data pipeline
(publish, process, use). Any point on that matrix would be a valid path to
our mission, but we must pick which
ones and also ensure we can be resourced and sustainable. The profusion of
options is why we are investing
time and effort here, although we do not intend to map the whole landscape!

We hope this email gives you a better sense of the work plan and direction
regarding our current work on
strategy and general management. We would be happy to receive any questions
or comments.

Thank you and best regards,

(Please do not comment in the gdoc above as we moved on and are not using
that version anymore.)

Dr Marcus M Dapp
Foundation Coordinator

Open Knowledge Foundation
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