[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Dariusz Jemielniak darekj at alk.edu.pl
Mon Mar 18 10:41:21 UTC 2013

On Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 11:24 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo)
<nemowiki at gmail.com>wrote:

> I disagree. The "horizon for strategic planning" in the case of business
> is just making profit, so you can build dams or power plants with a 50 or
> 100 years timeframe in mind, sell them all ten years later to buy banks or
> other big factories in a new sector and start again (cf. creation of Enel
> as told by Paul Ginsborg). That's exactly the opposite of what donors want
> for an endowment, and the point you're missing in your last reply to his
> point: it's reasonable to be unable to produce a meaningful long-term
> strategic plan for the sort of activities and objectives that the WMF has,
> but not for Wikimedia in general.
>  In fact in <https://meta.wikimedia.org/**wiki/Wikimedia_Trust<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Trust>>
> I defined the aim as *negation* (or rather, the complement) of the 5-years
> strategic plan; more on the page.

I think we differ in understanding what strategic planning (or, more
currently, management) is. "Horizon" refers to time, not money. Business
organizations need purpose and strategies just as much as NGOs. I've
consulted both for profit and not-for profit organizations in the area of
strategy, so I can honestly say that my experience is simply that the time
horizon for a strategy cannot be very far in the future in industries where
technology determines fundamental changes (and in our case these relate to
the presentation of data, data input, telepathic communication, brain
implants - all viable in less than a century).

Contrarily to what you may seem to imply, the constraints of strategic
planning do not stem from profit/non-profit division, and they apply
equally to WMF and the Wikimedia movement in general, as well as to any
other organization which may be fulfilling Wikimedia mission.

In any case, I'm not sure what your point is - are we seriously arguing
whether in the practice of strategic planning for NGOs time horizon for
STRATEGY (not vision) can be set for 100 years? If yes, let's agree to
disagree, as I don't think I will be able to persuade you. I encourage you
to follow up on this in literature/consulting though.



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