If you’ve spoken to me recently and asked what I’m up to it’s likely I’ll have said “strategy” (with a more or less weary tone). That’s because I’ve been working on the Wikimedia UK strategy since the new year with a few other trustees of Wikimedia UK, and the support of staff and the work previously put into developing our strategy (so thanks to everyone who’s contributed at all the stages of this process, we list some resources we used including from WMUK, the WMF, Charities Evaluation Service (CES), etc.).
We want you to contribute
First off, we’re inviting comments from the community and I’m keen that we construe that community widely (I want to invite new people in!) – so if you’d like to comment this is the starting point https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Engine_room#Community_consultation_-_Strategic_Plan_2014-2019 and you can also find out more about what we do (and join as a member or look at volunteering). We’re consulting on everything – from our vision values and mission, to our goals (the outcomes we want to achieve), and how we measure against those (our outputs), right through to how our activities relate to them and will be assessed.
Thinking about what we’re trying to achieve – the process
While it’s been quite a lot of work, I’ve actually quite enjoyed the process of working through what is it that we want to achieve and mapping how that relates to the type of organisation we are, and the outputs we produce towards those desired outcomes. If you’ve never been involved in such an activity, I slightly hesitate to recommend it but it’s certainly a very valuable thing to do (and of broad applicability across a range of sectors, including academia).
This was something I had a bit of experience from with my internship experience at Nominet Trust on measuring ‘value’ (or ‘impact’) in third sector social media projects, as well as my blogging for them subsequently. It’s also allowed me to think more about the work I do in analytics – and in particular in mediawiki/wikimedia context data – and their usefulness to measure outputs, as well as my experiences of using mediawiki for text based resources on the ORBIT project and how we might develop ‘narrative based’ output measures. I’m not going to describe the model, etc. here but I do encourage you to take a look and comment if you can.
Open Impact – Moving Forwards
One of the things that particularly interests me about what we’ve been doing is that our strategy is open, we’re very unusual in that our entire model is available from our Wiki, and we’re very happy to talk about what we’re trying to achieve and how. This openness helps us learn from others better (anyone can comment on the talk pages, we’re accountable to our community, others can help us build our strategy with us, etc.), and share our experience (indeed, this is one of our goals).
So one of the things I’m interested in is talking to other organisations – primarily community oriented third sector organisations (I don’t know if Mozilla would consider themselves third sector, but that sort of organisation is certainly included). I’d love for WMUK to be in a strong position to talk about Open Impact – the ways that strategy writing, programme delivery and evaluation (together, not separately), and evaluation reporting are open, and bundled up into how we see our impact.