[Foundation-l] Report from Frankfurt – October 2006

oscar oscar.wiki at gmail.com
Thu Oct 26 00:13:27 UTC 2006

i forgot to put the links in, but here is the article:
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Report_from_Frankfurt_-_October_2006 (it has
a discussion page ;-)


On 10/26/06, oscar <oscar.wiki at gmail.com> wrote:
> ==Report from Frankfurt – October 2006==
> <center>''Imagine a giant with a golden head, a brass chest, iron legs and
> feet of clay; to develop this into a sustainably developing living
> organization while preserving the essence of its life, such is our
> mission.''
> (paraphrase and wink by the author of these lines are both released under
>  How to get all the people invited to the retreat in Frankfurt from
> October 20-22 2006 together, 21 wikimedians, comsisting of the full current
> Wikimedia Foundation board, the Foundation officers, representatives from
> the Chapters, plus one external invitee, how to get them to debate
> constructively all the major challenges currently faced by Wikimedia in the
> daytime, conversations which inevitably continue in the evening at and after
> dinner and as usual deep into the night, and yet also how to have them all
> awake and sharp again at 9am more or less punctually every next day – and
> all that for three consecutive days? It was done. It happened. And I was
> personally very happy with the shared enthusiasm and devotion I encountered
> as well as with our excellent facilitator, without whom things would have
> certainly run far less smoothly and efficiently as they in fact did ("we
> should seriously consider appointing facilitators on-wiki for fundamental
> debates" i thought).
> well, we were supposed to do some real hard work, and we managed to do it
> together.
> At the closing day, when it was discussed that some kind of report
> ("comprehensive, yet not too long") should be made to inform the community
> about what the ''cabal had been doing this time'', my partner elise was of
> course not around to prevent me from volunteering (she did of course
> complain just now when i started to write these lines), so it's me who
> happens to be the one to have written these lines ;-)
> ==Expectations and Vision==
> On the very first day a list of expectations and desired outcomes was
> sketched together, which comprised:
> *Build trust
> *Stronger organization (giant with clay feet)
> *Directions for organizations and chapters
> *Practical outcomes
> *Clear understanding governance as supports mission and fundraising
> support
> *Help the group moving towards sustainability
> *Role of Wikimedia Foundation, support projects
> *Know each other better
> *Shared understanding and agreement
> *Honesty that leads to peace
> *Have some fun
> I daresay, all of these were effected in some way or another; if there
> were some difficult moments as well, we also had a lot of fun working
> together.
> Nevertheless, even when working hard, much time was consumed by getting
> attuned to the topics and sometimes to each other as well, so let me here
> express the often heard plea for a next follow-up meeting: a next step,
> building on this first one. In my humble opinion a crucial next step as
> well, because apart from bringing more detail in a practical sense, it will
> also allow for much more in-depth discussions on many topics and concepts we
> work with, yet often seem to lack the time for real investigation together
> all too often.
> ==Strategies and Objectives==
> In search of defining clearer strategies and objectives, among the
> important themes we immediately agreed to focus upon were:
> *Sustainable organizational structure for Wikimedia, Foundation and
> Chapters (make a disctinction between Wikimedia as a movement and the
> Wikimedia Foundation)
> *Leadership in spreading free culture
> *Global perspective, international involvement
> *New standard-setting
> *Legal clarity
> *Multi-projects
> Other themes were decided to be discussed at a later stage, "first things
> first" was mandatory, we couldn't do-it-all in one weekend.. Among these
> topics was a "Knowledge" versus "Content" discussion, which though very
> important is just not as urgent as many other topics.
> Pretty soon it became clear there was an essential agreement about a great
> many things, some of which soon led to the new wordings of our vision and
> mission statements, that the board is currently working out in detail.
> Many organizational models were drawn and discussed, finally their number
> was brought back to a handful, containing all essential bodies present and
> desired. In all models there appeared an "advisory board" as well as at
> least one ''blob'' named "council", one model even had three such ''blobs'',
> in other words: ''to be continued''...
> ==Priorities==
> With the help of a ''SWOT'' analysis model (analysis through assesment of
> Strengths versus Weaknesses, and Opportunities versus Threats, and combining
> the four pairs of these), strategic objectives were defined in all areas
> concerning "our business", we came up with 7 categories: ''organizational,
> operations, finances and fundraising, program development, public relations
> and messaging, technology, and legal''.
> ::::<small>Did you ever try a complex voting system with wikimedians IRL?
> I can tell you this is fun, not just the voting, but also, just like
> on-wiki, observing people voting. IRL there is more to see however, because
> each person bodily participates. In our case, there were the seven
> categories mentioned above, each with two or more topics attached below:
> there were 33 of such topics in total. Each person was given 3x3=9 votes to
> prioritize these topics as tasks-to-do, either within 3, 12 or 24 months.
> "Having a longer coffee-break" because you voted soon was not appreciated to
> be an incentive ;-)</small>
> I will spare you all the details and instead give a summarized list of the
> urgent to-do topics agreed upon (mind you, since they imply ''action'', all
> these begin with a ''verb''), in alphabetical order:
> *Clarify and redefine each committees' scope, role, authority and
> obligations
> *Clarify requirements for chapters
> *Clarify role and function of each of the private mailing lists
> *Create events committee
> *Create relationships with educational partners
> *Design a road-map for Wikimedia technology
> *Develop regional conferences and programs
> *Expand the board
> *Improve analyses of projects and users
> *Lobby governmental educational groups
> *Manage customer/donor communication and relations
> *Start (re-)organization and where necessary staffing
> *Structure and organize PR
> *Update Bylaws
> ==Implementation==
> Since the meeting clearly agreed upon the strategic objectives and their
> priorities, but had as such no authority to implement them officially, all
> of these were at the end of the meeting "given into the hands of the board",
> and I can tell you the people present are as anxious as you to see stuff
> starting to be implemented one by one.
> ==Conclusion==
> Anxious for the further implementation of the hard work we did together,
> as well as for the follow-up so many hope will take place, I am confident
> that the first step of solidifying the "giant's feet of clay" into some more
> sustainable substance was in fact taken properly. Yet it is a first step and
> many more must follow on the same path, which will step by step involve many
> more people than the 21 at Frankfurt last weekend. Our main goals remain
> unchallenged, although the exact wording may vary slightly, so we need your
> help as well throughout the next stages of reorganization and expansion.
> May I challenge you to envision boldly what we can accomplish together,
> just as we were asked to do at the offset of the retreat? Can you imagine,
> within 12 months: "30 Chapters founded" - "500 Servers operational" - "An
> office per continent" - "100,000 Articles reached in 10 European-language
> projects" - "Wikimedia becoming the new standard for knowledge" - etcetera
> etcetera etcetera... Can you imagine...[[edit]]...?
> Let's make it happen.
> oscar

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