Feedback and impact are buzzword bingo words lately. There are few articles or grant applications that miss mentioning them. Rightly so. Feedback is core to change and true engagement in any organization or community. This part of the much needed global pulse check as we move towards a more interactive and collaborative world. Your responses to the community survey informed some of our January team meeting sessions and have infused our plans for the year. (Thank you.) Last month we wrote about who the Open Knowledge community was based on your community survey results. Digging into your feedback has truly provided us perspective. We’ve been quietly planning and rethinking.

Data is only bits until you analyze, make some observations and action it. I focused on reviewing your responses to to key questions: what do you think is critical for Open Knowledge and what needs improvement? From that review, I made a top 10 priority list of things that the we could do to better support your Open Knowledge experience:

The Open Knowledge Community Top 10:

  1. You attend events and want more.
  2. We need to make it easier to Get involved in the Open Knowledge community and any associated projects. You want Open Knowledge to be diverse and inclusive.
  3. Open Knowledge should provide more community resources.
  4. We connect you to each other in the global open knowledge space. You want us to make this easier for you.
  5. Open Knowledge is a community of data makers and folks who want us to provide ways for you to gain more technical skills or do skillshares.
  6. You want want us to keep the momentum on lobbying for policy and advocacy.
  7. You want us to be more transparent about our work. And, you want to us to transparently share stories about open data – both the good things and the barriers/things that don’t work.
  8. You want to join us on the important journey to support and teach governments, businesses and civil society to open data.
  9. Your Open Knowledge needs more translation. (Quick plug of thanks for all the folks who offered to help on this!)
  10. You want us to build spaces for more open collaboration and involve you.

metal words

In your own words

We want to give you voice. Here are some community quotes about what you think is critical and what’s need improving at Open Knowledge:

Connecting the movement worldwide for international projects. – Nuno Moniz

The connections between OKF activists in different countries are not very strong in my experience. I think it would be good to find ways to link people working on similar issues in different countries. Not sure what are the most effective ways to do that, though. Joonas Pekkanen

Solutions for global challenges like justice,climate changes,cultural matters. Judith Mutange

Fighting lobbies and, at a technological level, interoperability and trust. Ana Alice Baptista

It’s difficult to join projects which are already running at full speed (not just OKF ones), but your more developed ones already do a good job of marking tasks as “easy for new contributors” so my only suggestion would be to encourage projects to do this (more), it’s really helpful. (Anonymous)

Building ICT skills so more people can participate outside of privileged cities.(Anonymous)

Making communities aware, making everyday Joe aware that he can hold the government accountable, that he can read the latest research and that these are basic rights he should be fighting for. Nevelina Aleksandrova

More local makers meet-ups, help improves data-literacy as part of the commons of web-literacy. Yann “shalf” Heurtaux

One point that I see clearly is that OKFN used to be focused more on technology, while now it’s much more about advocacy, which isn’t my core interest, so I ceased to be as involved in OKFN’s activities as I was before. This is illustrated well by the changes in line-up of OKCons. (Anonymous)

Constructing a clear narrative that goes beyond open data, and articulates a clear critique of the alternative ways intellectual property and knowledge sharing is, and might, develop. (Anonymous)

I don’t contribute enough. I think it would perhaps be useful to have a little more on terms of ref, how to engage and why etc if this was clearer up front you would know your obligation and perhaps be able to execute it better. (Anonymous)

The open knowledge foundation likes stories of success – that’s good so.But open knowledge foundation does not like stories of obstacles, barriers, difficulties. that’s not so good. (Anonymous)

Bringing in a wider group of people – diversity not just in gender, geography, language and race but also in terms of occupations, interests, backgrounds. OKFN is doing great work but the open knowledge concept is still much more widely applicable than the areas we have been focusing on so far!. (Anonymous)

Some communities use Stackoverflow, Ideascale or Ideavibes to keep feedback loops open. As your community leaders, we need to find better ways to know the pulse and give you more opportunities to shape Open Knowledge. We’ll keep looking into how we can better provide these avenues. If you have ideas on this please share on the OKFN-Discuss list, add a note to this post or contact us.

Next week: I’ll share some details about how we will incorporate your feedback with clear, shareable actions. You’ve given us a clear mandate. We aim to co-build with you.

(photo credit: Heather Leson (October 2013) The Crystal Sustainable Cities Initiative: Safe and Sound Exhibition)

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Heather is Community Engagement Director at the Open Knowledge Foundation, based in Toronto. She's passionate about global storytelling, citizen voices, excellent software, crisismapping, collaboration, localization and open everything. Learn more at @heatherleson or