[foundation-board] CEO Update for August 2016

Pavel Richter pavel.richter at okfn.org
Fri Aug 12 16:17:40 UTC 2016

Dear All,

Please find below and attached an update on important developments here at
Open Knowledge International. You can find the text as a Google Document

Highlights from our Projects


   In Frictionless Data, we have increased communications through
   publishing and promoting blog posts regularly as part of Frictionless data
   on http://okfnlabs.org/. This includes detailed walkthroughs and
   tutorials. We have also produced a series of case studies designed to
   highlight other groups and organisations who are using Frictionless Data
   specs in interesting or unusual ways. We have made huge progress in
   formalizing new formal working relationships with the following groups:

      University of Pittsburgh

      Pacific NorthWest National Laboratory

      University of Bath


      UK Data Service

      Government of Northern Ireland

      Open Data Institute


   A substantial amount of work has been committed to revising the budget
   of OpenTrials as we were underspent in year one (due to delays in
   hiring). The Arnold foundation agreed for the underspend in Year 1 to be
   carried over to Year 2 in full except for the events underspend (but we can
   apply on a case by case budget for this). Pavel gave a pitch for Phase II
   funding in Houston, Texas with the Arnold Foundation, pitch can be found
   The launch date for OpenTrials is set for 10th October, 2016 in Berlin
   at the World Health Summit. Also, sessions has been accepted for IODC,
   Madrid in October, and Cochrane Colloquium, Seoul also in October.
   We have started work on OpenTrialsFDA prototype for the Open Science
   Prize and have extracted the approval history for drugs from Drug at FDA
   website (initial part of OpenTrialsFDA project)
   Work on normalizing the trials locations’ names, so we can have a better
   view on where they have been conducted in have started. Also, we have set
   up a webapp (re:dash) where researchers can query our database directly.
   This has been used extensively by the team in Oxford and they’re starting
   to write a paper with what they’ve found. User testing has been set up to
   start in mid-August with doctors and researchers. We are also in
   conversation with AllTrials looking at ways we can work together.

   We have received comments from the EC for the first FutureTDM project
   review meeting, and we are happy to inform the board that the project thus
   far has fully achieved its objectives and milestones for the period. The
   project is in a very good shape and it already shows promising results of a
   high quality. Furthermore, it seems realistic that the project through its
   careful analysis and stakeholder engagement will contribute to the
   reduction of legal and technological barriers resulting in increased uptake
   of TDM in Europe.

   Technical development and design work have begun on the new
platform for Global
   Open Data Index (GODI). We are in discussions with the Web Foundation
   (WF) regarding convergence of our methodologies. WF have begun data
   collection for 2016 and will therefore not use our data. The plan is to be
   better prepared to converge in 2017. Research on GODI’s methodology is
   complete and dataset research and partnership building is starting (with
   the National Democratic Institute and the Open Contracting Partnership on
   board). Internal research has also begun. Community planning is starting
   and will kick into high gear next week

   Regarding AODC & Direct Support, one project, HeHe Labs has been
   completed and submitted its outputs from the initial contract.

   The network voted during the 2016 Summer Camp to explore several options
   for School of Data (ScoDa) to become independent from Open Knowledge
   International. We’re working with the Steering Committee and Open Knowledge
   to explore in detail the process which will lead ScoDa to become its own
   organisation, and the relationship with Open Knowledge International going
   forward. More will be shared on this topic when information becomes
   We are working on a new branding and  revamping ScoDa’s website with the
   aim of professionalising ScoDa’s visual identity ahead of IODC. We have
   been invited to take part in the Data Literacy Conference that will take
   place in Aix, France, on September 23-24. Meg and Dirk will run a keynote,
   while Cédric will run a workshop.

   There is no update on OpenSpending at the moment. The main activity is a
   handover process between Cecile LeGuen and Diana Krebs who is taking
   over the management of OpenSpending.



   Business has picked up again with about £100k of work signed for the
   next three months. This should allow us to accumulate some profits to
   balance previous month's poor performance. We've reduced our fixed costs by
   reducing team size. Also, we've created a 30 day free trial CKAN program
   with 17 signups so far. We will work further to automate CKAN deployment
   and provisioning to get to a fully self-serve offering. There has been
   increasing interest in CKAN as tool for internal data management and
   sharing inside organizations. The WWF will be one of the first customers
   testing out that use case.

   Viderum's financial situation remains tight due to the last few slow
   months. I will prepare a financial report before the September in-person

   Regarding transition, all former OKI customers except for two have now
   had their contracts novated to Viderum.



   The reversal of unrestricted Grant allocations has given us a year end
   saving of £150,000;

   There is reduced profit level from £430,000 down to £40,000 giving
a corporation
   Tax exposure of £8,000 as opposed to £86,000 (this is part of the
   unrestricted grant reversal);

   We are working with a new travel partner (agency) who is helping us to
   identify better rates for NGO’s which will in effect, reduce our travel

   We have developed and released an accurate Timekeeping and Staff
   Forecasting Tool;

   We delivered the Forecasting and Budgeting Tool and it is now been
   utilised by project and line managers;

   A new onboarding and offboarding process was also delivered;

   We conducted an appraisal revenue and are also ready for next phase in

   The End of Year Accounts in progress;

   The Month end accounts is delayed due to team illness. We should be back
   on track next week.

Funding Omidyar Network

We have submitted a revised proposal for a renewal funding. We are seeking
£570K  for 2017 which we think is a realistic number after conversations
with Andrew and Martin. Pavel will go before Investment Committee of
Omidyar and defend the proposal on 28th September, 2016.
Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has authorized a grant in the
amount of $500,000 for the Global Open Data Index ( GODI), Community
support and Organisational capacity building.
Arnold Foundation

We currently have funding from the Arnold Foundation for OpenTrials project
until March 2017. We are seeking for long term funding for OpenTrials and
possibly other projects. Pavel visited Houston to build a relationship with
the foundation.
Ford foundation

We have identified Ford as a key perspective funder for OKI. We are set to
approach them about funding the Tax Justice project as they are very
interested in such programs.
StaffCurrent live vacancies

The following may be found at https://okfn.org/about/jobs/:


   Developer Advocate - Portfolios Team

   Junior Designer - Technical Team

   Project manager - Portfolio Team

New Staff


   Anastasia Kalashnikova joined OKI on 1st July as Operations Assistant.
   She is a versatile member of the Operations Team, working part time as
   Personal Assistant for Mark Gibbs while dividing her remaining hours
   between supporting the Finance and HR teams.

   Yotam Manor joined OKI on 27th July as Web Developer for Frictionless
   Data project on a contractual basis.

   Sierra Williams started formally at OKI on 8th August as Communications
   Manager. Sierra will help shape OKI’s strategy around community relations
   and facilitate an ongoing exchange of ideas between volunteers, Network
   partners, and the Open Knowledge International staff and management.

   Diana Krebs will formally start on 22nd August as Project Manager
   (General). She will take over the management of OpenSpending project with
   Cecile’s resignation.



   Cecile LeGuen has resigned from OKI. Cecile's last working day at Open
   Knowledge was on 8th August, 2016.

Changes in Staff role


   Paul Walsh has joined the Leadership team permanently as Head of
   Technical Product. Paul’s addition was expedited due to Sander’s temporary
   departure. His presence completes the Leadership Team and will ensure that
   the technical elements of projects are included in planning. He will also
   offer input around the future of this crucial area of the organisation.

   Mor Rubinstein will be supporting Pavel in running the newly named
   “Capacity Team” (formerly known as “Office of the CEO) by taking over line
   management responsibilities for all current employees  (Oscar, Lieke,
   Danny, Sierra), as well as anyone who will hired in the future. She will
   not only help with the more formal parts of line management (such as
   granting holiday requests or signing off on sick leave), but also support
   the Capacity Team in terms of reporting, budgeting and planning. In
   addition, Mor will be managing the Community & Network work within the
   Capacity Team.


Sweden and Japan has signed OKI’s  Chapter MOU and are own their way to
becoming OKI’s 10th & 11th chapter! Mor, Katelyn and Oscar are also working
on the Unconference for IODC in Madrid in October.

The next in person meeting of the Board is on 14th September, 2016; venue
is yet to be confirmed.
Autumn  Summit is taking place on 21-23 November, 2016 in Thessaloniki.

I will send the next CEO Update in the middle of October. Please do give
feedback on these reports, so that I can provide you with the information
that you require.
What I have been thinking about / what’s concerning me this month

(I add this section to the CEO update based on a recommendation by Helen)


   The negotiations with Omidyar were very central for me this month; not
   only because Omidyar is an important funder, but also because it is the
   second time I used our overall strategy and project approach with a funder
   (the other one was Hewlett, of course). So it's been a very important
   learning for me, and I will use them to tweak my presentation / delivery.

   The handling of Cecile leaving the organisation was a useful experience;
   I think every organisation needs to be able to let staff go in a regular
   and constructive way, and I am happy that we have Mark on board to help
   with this.

   My major concern this month was the ongoing struggle to get the project
   managers to a point where they are able to take over full planning and
   execution responsibilities for their projects. That is something that will
   be ongoing for a while, but currently, the resistance to change is bigger
   than the willingness to learn new ways. So this is something we (Mark, Paul
   and I) will need to work on a lot.

   And I was planning for and looking forward to my trip to the Arnold
   Foundation (I am in Texas while I write this - and it is HOT out there),
   because they are the only of our funders I have not really been able to
   build a relationship with. So this trip is not only about the future
   funding for OpenTrials, but also to build a long-term relationship with the
   Arnold Foundation.
   - And I am looking forward to my upcoming holidays!!

Kind regards

Pavel Richter
Open Knowledge International
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