[openspending-dev] [OpenSpending] Mission of OpenSpending

Tryggvi Björgvinsson tryggvi.bjorgvinsson at okfn.org
Wed Oct 16 10:50:44 UTC 2013

On mið 16.okt 2013 05:05, Friedrich Lindenberg wrote:
> interesting to see this discussion :) One comment I have would be that
> these statements are somewhat focused on the 'how' instead of the 'why'. I
> think (without much experience) that a mission statement should put its
> focus on the latter aspect. It's also hard to explain the 'how' in a
> sentence, which is why we end up with very abstract language ('map,
> analyse, understand, and display').

Hmmm... What I want to achieve with this is:

* Mission statement = What?
* Opportunities = Why?
* Areas of collaboration = How?
* Skills required = Who?

Then in the next "phase" (i.e. what we can do when we have this nailed
down) is to create our strategy with goals and measurable objectives.
That would be a more detailed "how". But we can't really do that unless
we agree on these four things (imo).

If the what, why, (generic) how, and why doesn't shine through we need a
better phrasing of each question/text. I think these should be really
short -- Elevator pitches. We could even try to go for "Twitter pitches"
(less than 140 chars) but I think that would be difficult without losing
too much information, but it would be interesting to try nonetheless.

Btw. I got an updated mission statement sent offlist yesterday. Here it is:

# Mission statement

OpenSpending is a community run project that aims to map, analyse,
understand, and display every government financial transaction, plan,
and contract.

> Perhaps something along these lines: "OpenSpending promotes participation
> in political processes, strengthens government accountability and fights
> corruption by making available information on government budgeting and
> expenditure processes in an accessible and detailed form to citizens,
> researchers, civil society and policy makers." ?

I think this is mixing up the mission and the opportunities. From this
would we could simplify the mission statement and the opportunities.

So here is an updated mission statement (I like explicitly naming
transaction, plans (budgets) and contract instead of budgeting and
expenditure processes, so I'm sticking to that). I also don't think we
need to explicitly state who our target groups are (or do we?).

I removed "is a community run project". After thinking about it, I don't
think it's necessary to state that, even though it's a fundamental part
of what we, as a project, are. I'll write up both versions (based on
Friedrich's text and based on the initial one) so you can choose.

# Mission statement (based on Friedrich's text)

OpenSpending aims to make every government financial transaction, plan,
and contract available in an accessible and detailed way.

# Mission statement (based on initial version)

OpenSpending aims to map, analyse, understand, and display every
government financial transaction, plan, and contract.

Then we have the opportunities. I'm also putting out two versions here.
One based on Friedrich's text (I would like a nicer flow than just a
"list" but I'm being dense and can't really phrase it that way -- I'm
now trying to see if this can be done in 140 characters or less but
that's probably destroying the goal of this text).

Friedrich, just let me know if I'm butchering your text.

Anyways, I also updated the initial version. Looking at it and talking
about the financial world around us, isn't really correct after leaving
the enterprise world to the the more experienced professionals ;-) So I
rephrased it a bit to talk about government spending (and shortened it
to less than 140 chars).

# Opportunities (based on Friedrich's text)

Increased participation in political processes, strenghtened government
accountability, and less corruption.

# Opportunities (based on initial version)

Everyone will be able to understand government spending, and use that
understanding to affect positive social and political change.

So which mission statement do you think is better? Which opportunities
As you can see everything is still very much floating so you can still
put in what you see OpenSpending as a project to be about and why you
want to participate in it.

This is going to be a long thread, but I think it is an important one.


Tryggvi Björgvinsson

Technical Lead, OpenSpending

The Open Knowledge Foundation <http://okfn.org>

/Empowering through Open Knowledge/

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