[okfn-discuss] new brand, new website: coming up next week

Laura James laura.james at okfn.org
Sat Apr 12 16:57:56 UTC 2014

Hi Tim,

Many thanks for the fast feedback :)

I've included some responses below, and also added to the wiki page:

On 12 April 2014 15:19, Tim Davies <tim at practicalparticipation.co.uk> wrote:

> *1) A concern about process*
> The Open Knowledge (Foundation) is, I think, widely understood as a broad
> movement made up of WGs, Chapters, and many other volunteers as well as
> core team. Developing a new brand was an opportunity to have an inclusive
> conversation about what the community and core organisation understand by
> open knowledge - and it seems, with this brand being presented as a done
> deal, that opportunity has been missed.
> Reading the responses of the 2013 survey that were shared on the OK(F)
> blog, I also don't seem these reflected in the final core purpose and tag
> line.

The community survey gave us lots more raw data than was shared on the blog
summaries, of course.  We took all of this information, plus the outputs of
interviews and discussions, to create the summaries of who we are and what
we do:

We then took all of that and created words which are simple and
understandable, succinct, and appealing to a broader public audience.  We
are working on the brand, and other communications materials, to make sure
we have a clear, exciting and engaging presentation of open knowledge for
new audiences, because it is important that others can discover the power
of open, to get more data opened up and make it used and useful.

Because the tagline and so on are short, they can only represent part of
the incredible diversity and range of the Open Knowledge network.

Short is important. New people encountering a new thing (in this case, Open
Knowledge and the ideas of the open movement in general) usually only give
it a few moments before forming a judgement about whether it is interesting
or appealing. We do not have long to excite them about the power of
openness! Clear and understandable for non-specialists is also important.
There's just so much to explain, it can be overwhelming or confusing, and
we know from feedback that we can seem very academic, or very technical, to
people, who then get put off.

(More information:

> Is there an openness to reviewing and more widely consulting the community
> on this new brand before taking it as fixed?
> We've heard from many of the Chapters and Local Groups that communications
are a big challenge and that simpler, clearer words are much needed. We
hope that what we're sharing here is helpful and we hope groups will want
to adopt (and adapt) the words, and to use the graphics and logo - but this
is a free choice. The Open Knowledge Network is very diverse, with many
different groups working in different ways, in different countries and
fields. We look forward to discussing how these words fit with the plans
and ideas of Local Groups and Working Groups, and working out together how
best to tackle our communications challenges. That might be with these
words - or with others we can create.

For Open Knowledge Central, the new brand will help us in our work, where
communicating to a wider audience is vital, and we're going to be moving to
the new brand across our activities during 2014. For the network of local
groups and working groups, the brand is available for use, we hope that it
will be useful in communicating to new audiences, but it's a choice for
each group when and how they use the various brand elements.
 So yes - we expect to discuss with the community in the coming weeks and
months :)

> *2) Data and tech-centricity*
> The motivation, core purpose and tagline are more tech-centric and
> data-centric than the OK(F) community is, risking sidelining other aspects
> of the open knowledge community. For the tag-line just to be about data
> seems particularly problematic.

You're right that the focus is on data. That is an area where openness has
particular power which is understandable and interesting to folk outside
the open movement and the tech scene today, and so it meets our needs for a
short, clear message which is understandable and appealing to new

> *3) Understanding the difference of data, information and knowledge*
> The motivation and core purpose statement appear to conflate date,
> information and knowledge and use them interchangeably - but they are
> importantly distinct. I would argue there needs to be a recognition of the
> distinction of data, information and knowledge in order to develop a
> coherent theory of change and purpose.

I totally agree - for our theory of change (and we could debate whether we
have one, or several!), we need clarity and distinction around these terms.
But the short phrases forming part of our brand aren't our theory of

We've been thinking a lot about impact and theory of change in recent
months actually, and look forward to talking more about that.

> *4) Analysis of power*
> The core purpose emphasises 'informed choice' as the primary means of
> securing change - but does not address the need to change the frameworks in
> which individuals are making choices. I think there is a much stronger
> political critique of power to be found across the open knowledge movement,
> and this is currently entirely missing from these statements.

I think we are in agreement here - we know there's lots of work to do in
all kinds of areas to secure the future we want to see.

The core purpose does have two other bits that I feel are pretty important
(and which appeal more to me, personally, than the line about 'informed

A world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.
A world where information and insights are accessible - and apparent - to

But this is about brand and communications, not what we might work on in
the coming years. It's about helping new people get open, and get into
open.  It's about how I can persuade my neighbour to post his village
history online with an open licence so others can benefit from his
researches. It's about how I'll get my cousin to write to her MP to demand
access to public procurement information. And so on :)

Thanks again for the thoughtful blogpost - it's only with feedback like
this that we can learn and do better! Look forward to continuing these
discussions - around branding and more.

Best regards,

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