2015 was a great year for Open Knowledge, full of opportunities and challenges. We started many exciting new projects such as Open Trials, Budgets EU and the Route to PA, we had personnel changes (and a new CEO, Pavel Richter), and also we’ve refined our name to Open Knowledge International. In addition, we developed a community roadmap to help and strengthen the Open Knowledge Network and move it towards self governance and more effective collaboration in 2016.

Why do we need a community roadmap (and how is it different from a strategy)?

“A community roadmap gives direction to your community program. Your community strategy describes your destination. The roadmap helps steer you there. ​Roadmaps often look like project plans, detailing specific activities and the resources required. Roadmaps mark milestones in a community’s journey, making tracking progress easier.” – Community Roundtable e-book

Building a community roadmap for communities of knowledge and tech is hard work. Most guides for community building on the internet look at community members from a commercial perspective as users of a product or consumers. In the case of the Open Knowledge Network, we see our community members as influencers, innovators, contributors or leaders in their thematic and/or regional communities. What unites us is a common purpose of learning, sharing and creating powerful new forms of open knowledge. In the last two years we saw steady growth in the Network. In order to accommodate the needs of the evolving network, we should adapt and improve how we work together. We look forward to embarking on that journey with you.

The community roadmap examines 8 different competencies and allow us to reflect on our work and make it even better. It looks at Strategy, Leadership, Culture, Community Coordination, Content & Programming, Policies & Governance, Tools and Metrics & Measurement. The roadmap work will help us align priorities, better organise and plan within the network, communicate values and value throughout the Network.

Open Knowledge Festival 2014

This is why we decided that the first quarter of this year will be dedicated to community and network reboot. We see the Open Knowledge Network as a place for exchanging visions and ideas. We see Open Knowledge International as a central body that creates some of these ideas, but more so as a place that helps make connections between people with similar ideas, and helps promote other ideas and connect people from different parts of the network.

Every journey begins with a single step, so we decided to start with the basics: updating the network structure and procedures, taking into consideration every competency of the roadmap. In the next couple of weeks we will clarify our policies about how can anyone be a part of the Open Knowledge Network, either as a local organiser, or a leader or member of a local group or a chapter. We are clearly defining the responsibilities that each role has, and also adding the support that Open Knowledge International can provide at each level. We want to set clear expectations and continuously strive to work better together.

Until we will have clarity on those policies, we will not be able to process any new applications for local organizers / ambassadors. We will get back to those applications in March.

This month we will also take care of some long needed content updates to our website, newsletter, and blog, promote more widespread use of our discuss forum and refresh and rethink the use of our different wikis. This will all be done in coordination with the Network: we will share the guidelines for a community consultation on the guidelines our discourse forum. All members of the Network are welcome to participate. After the consultation is over, we will publish these guidelines on our website , hopefully by mid February.

We will update on the development of the community roadmap regularly. Be sure to follow our Twitter account and the community forum to get updates on time.

As of January 1st 2016, Neal Bastek and Mor Rubinstein are working as the community coordinators / facilitators. Please email them at network@okfn.org for more questions or just raise them in the community forum!

Looking to hear your feedback and hope that this will take us one step forward as a community.

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360Giving Data Lab and Learning Manager, ex OKF International Community Coordinator