[okfn-advisory] Revitalising Open Knowledge and role of the Council

Laura James lbjames at gmail.com
Wed Apr 11 13:29:31 UTC 2018

Mark, Paul,

Thanks for speaking with some of us today, and recognising how things have
been, externally, in the last 3 years.  Also thanks to other Council
members for insightful questions.

I think you should consider what you, as the leadership team, need or want
from advisors such as ourselves. Both from what you said, and reading
between the lines, you face fairly significant challenges, and so must
prioritise with care. Attending to the Council may or may not be a priority.

The Council is a mixture of more and less active 'open' leaders and
experts, and Chapter representatives.  You owe the latter some time and
consideration, I think. The rest of us - most of whom joined before 2013 -
may or may not be useful or relevant to the current state of the open
knowledge landscape, and/or the challenges you face. If we are not all
useful, I am not sure that you should feel a duty to 'repair relationships'
with us - this is hard and time-consuming work. (Speaking for myself, but I
am fairly certain also for some others, we would understand if you chose to
focus elsewhere, if we are not what you need.) Also, are there other key
people who are not on the Council, who could provide sage advice?

If you want to work more with us, I am left with some thoughts/questions:

You described the projects underway, but not the rationale for them. Are
the current projects what you want to be doing, or simply legacy you are
stuck with? Is there strategy behind their selection, or is it just
'whatever we can get funded'? Are there things you want to be doing, but
need assistance to secure funds or partnerships? If so, could some of us
help? (Some Council members, if willing, may be able to help repair damaged
relationships with key funders or stakeholders, as they can lend reputation
and confidence.)

You described advocacy around open as being the work of individuals now
around OKI and the network, rather than a core task. If this is still of
importance, even if distributed and informal, what are the key issues or
messages? If Council members wish to help, how can they get involved, who
should they connect with? (Many Council members are open advocates of old,
and this may be an area where we can assist informally with little
investment from OKI, but to some good effect.)

If the strategy is in flux, and you are reassessing the landscape and
potential gaps or opportunities, that might be something concrete some of
the Council could assist with, collectively or individually.  As noted
today, the movement has evolved and changed. Reclaiming the centre may well
be impossible, but there are likely still some gaps where an organisation
with good staff and long standing reputation may be able to add value.

Good luck. Open Knowledge is a challenging thing to shepherd and support.

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