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

Mark Jaeckel jaeckel_m at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 14 10:18:12 UTC 2014

Hello All,
I'm not doing anything directly for OKF but am on this list historically. I personally and based on branding experience within top 100 london agencies, would as many say, simplify, shorten... 'data' isn't required in the line, nor is 'world' etc etc. These should be part of the lower messaging hierarchy, mission (internal), vision (internal) and positioning statements (external)
Something like: "Opening up information"Is simple, non specific but frames the offer, opening it up for exploration, peoples imagination, sounds positive and will draw people into reading more.
For me all the straps offered up so far as too specific, literal and or long. All of it is good stuff, but should be deeper within the messaging hierarchy.

Mark Jackel
Creative Director

Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:07:42 +0100
From: rufus.pollock at okfn.org
To: okfn-discuss at lists.okfn.org
Subject: Re: [okfn-discuss] new brand, new website: coming up next week

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

Hello Laura, all,

Hey there, only just saw this thread (I often go email cold-turkey on weekends ...) 
Thanks for sharing this update. The new logo looks great. However, the more I read and reflected on the new brand content I did have some concerns I thought might be worth raising for discussion. 

Hugely appreciate the engagement here :-) This is not a simple thing we’re all trying to do and feedback - esp constructively critical is both time-consuming to give and really valuable!

I've blogged them in more depth at http://www.timdavies.org.uk/2014/04/12/data-information-knowledge-and-power-exploring-open-knowledges-new-core-purpose/ but essentially, they relate to the 'Motivation, Core Purpose and Tag Line' rather than name and visuals, and boil down to:

1) A concern about processThe 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.
Is there an openness to reviewing and more widely consulting the community on this new brand before taking it as fixed?

So this is a tough one: we obviously did quite a bit of consultation at several points including in the Autumn. Part of our decision here was to try and work with an org outside of the Open Knowledge Foundation who would drive the process, and, in particular help provide both expertise and an outside view. We also had to live with constraints of time and resource whilst moving forward something that a large amount of feedback over last couple of years had told us was an issue :-)
 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. 

Hmmm, this is a tough one. I have to say I hadn’t read it this way so this is useful (in fact other feedback I’ve had on the tone has been that we don’t emphasize tech enough ;-))

I certainly don’t see any move or narrowing down here. We’re about promoting, creating, sharing, ... open knowledge.
Our challenge here though is to try and be clearer and more specific - definite feedback we have had is that to those outside the existing “open” movement, things weren’t very clear.

Looking in a bit of detail. Core purpose is:
<quote>A world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.A world where data frees us - to make informed choices about how we live, what we buy and who gets our vote.
A world where information and insights are accessible - and apparent - to everyone.This is the world we choose.</quote>
Here you have “knowledge”, “data” and “information” all there. I don’t think the data in the second line is supposed to indicate some big change just a variation in vocabulary :-)

Re the tagline, the challenge here is to have something super succinct and to have something that means something more widely. Currently we have:
<quote>See how (open) data can change the world
Usually used as:Open Knowledge: see how open data can change the world</quote>
We could imagine a variation like:
See how open knowledge can change the world</quote>
The issue here will be repetition when we put the name e.g.
Open Knowledge: see how open knowledge can change the world

And also the challenge that knowledge (potentially) is not as clear as data to many folks.

3) Understanding the difference of data, information and knowledgeThe 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.

Whenever, this distinction comes up I always think of the Frank Zappa track on Joe’s Garage :-)
I think the question here isn’t whether there is such a distinction or whether its important but “who” needs to recognize this distinction? I think we want to try and convey the importance of what we are all doing to a broader community, going beyond those who already “get it”. Especially in a short explanation I’m not sure that the distinction will matter as much as being simple and once someone is interested one can go further.

For example, I often explain that our work involves 2 parts a) getting “data/information opened up” b) working to make that data “used and useful” or, more specificlaly, creating and supporting the tools, skills and communities to turn that open material into insight, into “open knowledge”.

cf also here http://blog.okfn.org/2013/05/01/open-knowledge-much-more-than-open-data/

4) Analysis of powerThe 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. 

Good points Tim. As you know this is something now being discussed in the community for some time (from me personally see things like http://blog.okfn.org/2012/09/13/managing-expectations-ii-open-data-technology-and-government-2-0/).

I think the question here is that our community here is quite broad and I’m not sure there is clear consensus on what exactly that political critique exactly is.
I think the brand info does make clear that we think that open knowledge and open data are about empowering people, esp those who currently aren’t so empowered! e.g. we have “A world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.”

Do you have some specific suggestions about what would be better in the core purpose? e.g. would you prefer something like:
“A world where knowledge empowers us to hold power to account and shape how our societies work”

The tricky thing here (as I’m sure you know) is keeping it succinct and punchy whilst still covering the main bases.

I hope these thoughts (developer further in the blog post) are useful feedback. 
They are really useful. We know this is a tough process because we know there are a lot of different opinions, a lot of things we want to convey and a need to be super-simple and super-clear esp for an audience beyond the current “open core”.
 Although I'm not currently active facilitating a working group or in other volunteering within the OK(F) community, the new Core Purpose statement certainly does not excite me to get more actively engaged again in future, and I fear it will alienate others too. 

That would obviously be a concern :-)
We want people to feel excited and engaged - both hard-bitten veterans like yourself :-) and those completely new (and unaware) of "open".


In a spirit of constructive dialogue,
All the best
Tim Davies 

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