Grants:PEG/WM DE/Wikimedia Conference 2015/PEC Report
- Report accepted
- To read the approved grant submission describing the plan for this project, please visit Grants:PEG/WM DE/Wikimedia Conference 2015.
- You may still comment on this report on its discussion page, or visit the discussion page to read the discussion about this report.
- You are welcome to Email grants at wikimedia dot org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.
- Wikimedia Conference 2015,
main page of the conference in 2015
- Program and Engagement Coordination,
concept and job description
- Documentation and Follow-Up,
proper documentation and follow-up page of the conference
- Category:Wikimedia Conference 2015,
Wikimedia Commons category including photos and presentation slides
- Wikimedia Conference 2016,
time line for the program design process 2016
- 1st PEG grant report on the Wikimedia Conference 2015,
published together with Daniela Gentner (WMDE), the Logistics Coordinator of the conference
- Report of the PEC's efforts during Wikimania 2015
Compliance and completion
- Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
- Is your project completed?
- Did you use any of the grant funds?
Over the last years, a typical Wikimedia Conference proceeded like this: A program was created, participants arrived rather unprepared at the conference, presented and discussed important issues for three days and then left on Sunday. After the conference, the different strands of ideas, topics and conversations were not taken up, no one felt responsible to develop these strands any further; at least not in the open or in collaboration with others. Overall, a coordinated, outcome-driven approach was sorely missing. Only when it was time for the next conference, topics were brought up again, but mainly overshadowed by logistical discussions around venue, host, and color of the bikeshed.
The Wikimedia Conference is not the only conference that faces these issues: Keeping the attention and motivation for events and topics high is quite a common challenge within and outside the movement. As WMDE and WMF jointly agreed on hosting the Wikimedia Conference for three years (2015-2017) in Berlin, Nicole Ebber (Adviser to the Executive Director on International Relations at Wikimedia Deutschland) and Cornelius Kibelka (formerly known as Assistant to the Adviser to the Executive Director on International Relations at Wikimedia Deutschland, now Program and Engagement Coordinator for the Wikimedia Conference at Wikimedia Deutschland) took the chance to plan the conference with a broader and longer perspective for the first time. Nicole and Cornelius created an experimental concept called “Program and Engagement Coordination”. In this report, we describe the first six months of this experiment and provide a preliminary evaluation of it.
Please note that an extensive evaluation on this experiment is only possible after a complete conference circle of minimum 12 months. Long-term outcomes will only be fully visible after an even longer time period. Nevertheless, we consider this experiment as a success and hope that it encourages others to rethink their approaches to Wikimedia movement events in terms of stakeholder involvement, outcome orientation and satisfaction.
With this report – as well as the two previous ones – we share our experiences and learnings in a quite extensive manner so that people can learn from and build upon it. Besides these reports, we also strive to share our learnings in presentations, talks or personal conversations. We appreciate any feedback or recommendation regarding the Program and Engagement Coordination, because we strongly believe in the power of being learning partners in the movement.
The following section provides an overview of the tasks which were executed by the Program and Engagement Coordinator (PEC) from April 1 until September 30, 2015. Detailed information on the time spent on each activity can be retrieved from the timeline (see subsequent paragraph). Please note that the PEC already provided two extensive reports (one together with Logistics Coordinator of the Wikimedia Conference and one of the PEC’s efforts during Wikimania).
Generally, the activities of the Program and Engagement Coordinator can be divided into four areas
- Preparation and execution of the Wikimedia Conference,
- Documentation and post-processing of the Wikimedia Conference,
- Engaging with participants and supporting thematic ambassadors,
- Building programmatic bridges to other movement events.
Preparation and execution of the Wikimedia Conference
For details on the Wikimedia Conference 2015 itself, please check the report published together with Daniela Gentner (WMDE), the Logistics Coordinator of the Wikimedia Conference
Right after the beginning of the PEC’s contract on April 1, he engaged thoroughly in developing the project management plan for the Program and Engagement Coordination.
The PEC concentrated on the preparation and finalization of the program of the Wikimedia Conference, supporting the existing volunteer program team. The volunteer program team was composed of 12 persons with different backgrounds and started its work in November 2014. At the beginning of April, the volunteer program team had gathered broad input for the program, including some draft session descriptions, without any further prioritization.
The support of the PEC pushed the team’s dynamics after several months of existence. Together with some of the team members, the PEC developed goals and contents for the 29 conference sessions. Together with the team, the PEC finalized the program and built the whole schedule for the conference. While the team's efforts was valuable, it lacked structure, guidance and clear responsibilities, and would not have been able to finish their tasks without the strong support of the PEC. The PEC also took over the task of liaising between the speakers and the team members.
Another important liaison function was the communication with the two facilitators of the Wikimedia Conference, well known from the last conference in 2014, Anna Lena Schiller and Andreas Karsten. Their advice was more than valuable: Although they (as well as the PEC) entered the process too late to help shape it sustainably from the beginning, both helped to set the next steps for the conference program until the Wikimedia Conference. Anna Lena and Andreas supported the PEC in focussing on an outcome-oriented session design, such as enabling the speakers in thinking of the next steps after the conference. Following that, the PEC communicated in the two weeks before the Conference with all session hosts and participants to inform them properly and enable them to come prepared. Another step important to be mentioned was to look for volunteers in the German Wikimedia community who were interested in taking notes at the conference sessions for a good and insightful documentation.
During the Wikimedia Conference itself, the Program and Engagement Coordinator supported the logistics coordinator, the session hosts and speakers as well as the participants and volunteer note takers with all information necessary.
Another task of the PEC during the conference was conducting short outcome interviews with all speakers, including asking them about their next steps. These 30 outcome interviews improved the session documentation and the post-processing of the conference and gave the PEC good insights of the speakers’ perception of their sessions. These outcome interviews also helped to identify and encourage several speakers to volunteer to become contact persons (or even “thematic ambassadors”) for certain topics.
Documentation and post-process of the Wikimedia Conference
For the documentation of the Wikimedia Conference, please see the dedicated documentation and follow-up page
As Wikimedia Deutschland knows from previous WMCON experiences, documenting all sessions and their outcomes and publishing them online is key and a first essential step to get all conference participants on the same page. At the same time, it is the starting point to further engage them and also to show the Movement what actually happened at the Wikimedia Conference. Especially for events that guarantee their participants a safe space by not videotaping sessions and conversations, this is a vital duty for the organizers.
As explained above, the Program and Engagement Coordinator improved the documentation concept of last years’ conference, by adding important points as next steps and contact persons as well as by optimizing the structure and clarity of the texts. Thanks to the PEC, it was possible to ensure a high quality and full-text version of the documentation, large parts of it also approved by the speaker(s) of each session. This did not happen previously as time and resources for doing it properly were lacking.
After having written all texts, gotten approvals from most of the speakers for the texts, sorted all photos and kept order of all presentations, the PEC published the documentation on Meta on June 16, one month after the Wikimedia Conference.
Along with the documentation, the PEC identified and published eight main topics (Movement Roles, Partnerships & Resource Development, Public Policy, Governance, Grantmaking & Impact, Communication, Community Support, CEE/Misc.) of the Wikimedia Conference and their approved next steps. For some of the topics, certain next steps were quite concrete and foreseeable (incl. fixed dates), others were more vague and a more precise definition was still to be done. Along with identifying the main topics, the PEC identified and recruited several Wikimedians – volunteers as well as paid staff members of the Wikimedia affiliates and WMF – to become the “thematic ambassadors” of their topic and to carry their thematic torch throughout the year. These thematic ambassadors will keep the activity on their topic high, invite more people to participate, and are approachable by anyone. They are committed to dedicate time and brains into the topics to properly develop them further, and are supported by the PEC.
The main topics and their next steps can be seen on the documentation page of the conference. The PEC updates the page regularly.
Supporting thematic ambassadors and engaging with participants
One of the main aspects of the WMCON Follow-Up Process is to carry the topics of the Wikimedia Conference throughout the year. Ideally, topics of the conference would have been picked up and further developed by already existing working groups. This is hardly the case in the movement, as only a few (inter-organizational) groups on certain issues do exist, e.g. the Volunteers Supporters Network or the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU (FKAGEU).
So besides identifying important topics right after the Wikimedia Conference (see above), another important task was to identify and convince people to become “thematic ambassadors”. For some topics, these ambassadors were quite obvious as they fulfill the role ex officio. For other topics, many conversations and pointing out possible ways of support by the PEC were necessary to find and convince a thematic ambassador.
At the moment, for eight Wikimedia Conference Follow-Up topics 9 thematic ambassadors (our groups of people fulfilling that position) can be counted.
- Partnerships and Resource Development: Anne-Laure Prévost (WMFR) and John Andersson (WMSE)
- Public Policy: Dimi Dimitrov (FKAGEU)
- Governance: Tim Moritz Hector (WMDE)
- Grantmaking and Impact: n/a
- Communication: Katherine Maher (WMF)/Juliet Barbara (WMF)/Michael Jahn (WMDE)
- Movement Roles: Nicole Ebber (WMDE)
- Community Support:
- for the Community Capacity Development: Asaf Bartov (WMF)/Sati Houston (WMF)
- for the Volunteers Supporters Network: Raimund Liebert (WMAT)/Veronika Krämer (WMDE)
- for the topic of user-centred software development: Birgit Müller (WMDE)
Supporting these thematic ambassadors happened (and happens) in different ways. The PEC regularly checks in with the ambassadors, to see where he can offer his support and what could be the next steps. Some topics need more support, some less, depending on how stable the group is and how precisely the next steps are described.
The PEC supports the thematic ambassadors in different ways: Consulting the ambassadors what are their focusses, where they want to go with their topic, what are the existing (similar) initiatives or projects, helping to identify and to connect the right people with each other and, last but not least, advising regarding the next steps to be taken. Other ways of support are, e.g., proofreading texts, writing mails or creating wiki pages for the thematic groups. However, sometimes, it seemed too difficult to explain that the mandate of the PEC is strongly restricted to facilitating and supporting and not creating his own content or influencing it.
In many discussions one point became obvious: Many groups see the necessity to meet again (in some way) between the Wikimania 2015 and the Wikimedia Conference 2016, as the period is quite long and keeping motivation high seems to be difficult. Therefore, e.g., the FKAGEU group around Dimi organizes a meeting in Brussels for people interested in Public Policy work (Big Fat Brussels Meeting III). The Partnerships and Resource Development group wants to organize a camp with idea to write a grant application together (“grantathon”).
Building bridges to other movement events
Having worked in an international environment before, it's been exciting for me to discover how our organizations can develop and learn from each other, to move forward and unleash the movement's potential. In order to do so, you need people who understand the workings of the movement, who will create bridges between the various stakeholders, with a strong faith in their mission, a true personal alignment, deep human values and a capacity to see things from a distance.
Cornelius is just this kind of person: highly professional in the way he handles crucial topics, and a reliable support at various levels. It's been great having him around as a safety net to make sure we actually implement milestones and move forward in a concrete way.
When we drafted the PEC role, we knew that we had to put a lot of thinking into questions like: What helps to keep the motivation high of the involved people? What is the best way to attract new participants and involve further people? We also knew that there would be no one-size-fits-all answer but that we had to iteratively tackle this challenge according to how the process evolves.
We came up with the concept of “building bridges” to other movement events where people can meet, share updates and advance the eight main topics of the Wikimedia Conference together. Aside from keeping the motivation to work on these topics higher by providing meeting opportunities away from keyboard, these bridges can help surface blockers and information gaps as well as needs for decisions and collaboration. We consider this to be a promising method to better integrate the Wikimedia Conference and its topics in the Wikimedia movement discourses and puts an end to its being an isolated event.
During the grant period, two events were planned to be included in the PEC’s activities: Wikimania (just 9 weeks after the Wikimedia Conference) and the Wikimedia CEE meeting (beginning of September). The IberoConf, the meeting of the Ibero-american Wikimedia organizations and groups, was cancelled for 2015.
See the PEC’s Wikimania report for more details of his work during the event
As the PEC could only start working in April, it was too late to include WMCON topics in the official Wikimania program. Therefore, the PEC organized a day before the Wikimania itself – called “WMCON Follow-Up Day” – where all people interested could participate and contribute to the advancement of the WMCON topics. The PEC consulted with the thematic ambassadors whether they would be available to hold a workshop, taking the level of activity and progress regarding their respective topic into account.
Five thematic ambassadors (the VSN [Raimund Liebert, Veronika Krämer, Andrés Cruz y Corro], Dimitar Dimitrov, Anne-Laure Prévost, John Andersson and Nicole Ebber) agreed to offer 90 min workshops. This length was enough for at least discussing 1-2 aspects more deeply and eventually create a momentum for further activities. Movement people with ambition to contribute to one or more of the topics were invited (through mailing lists, by being announced in the official programme, advertising in the Wikimania 2015 wiki, social media), no restrictions were set or costs charged.
In total, around 50 individuals participated in workshops, which was a surprisingly high number. Almost all participants joined conversations and spoke up. It showed how important it is to have small discussion groups in a safe space and with dedicated time to discuss important issues. This allowed people to familiarize themselves with the topics and with the other participants. All ambassadors agreed that a productive and constructive working atmosphere was created. The outcomes were published on Meta or influenced the further work of the thematic ambassadors.
Aside from the Follow-Up Day, the PEC participated in a (more or less) spontaneous ComCom meeting and supported the WMF Communication team’s in planning the next steps around the WMCON topic “Communications”. Additionally, the PEC also attended the CEE meet-up to give further advice for the programme developing process of the CEE meeting in September. Also, the organizing team of the Wikimania 2016 was able to win the PEC over to be the liaison between WMCON and Wikimania 2016.
Wikimedia CEE Meeting
Thank you, Cornelius, for helping so much during the hard times while preparing the programme with your insightful comments, considerations and patient support.
Before Wikimania, the Program and Engagement Coordinator was asked by the organizers of the CEE Meeting if he could advise the CEE organizers on certain issues, especially the program development process, and could be part of the program team as an advising member. This request indicated quite clearly that the movement community had noticed, accepted and (at least partially) understood the role of the Program and Engagement Coordinator.
Together with Nicole Ebber, the PEC shared essential material for the program developing process based on WMDE’s experience from previous Wikimedia Conferences. He also attended the CEE meet-up during Wikimania in Mexico and provided further advice for the program and the grant application process.
However, due to organisational issues of the CEE meeting, the advice was not applied as intended. The program development process took much longer than expected, as there was no official leader (or chair) determined for the program team and several members hesitated to take next steps. The final program was finished only days before the conference itself. However, the PEC did not despair and moved on, facilitating a video conference call for the program team. He gave some important pieces of advice, e.g. that facilitators were essential for ensuring result oriented discussions at the end of each session. The PEC received the feedback that his input was valued by the program team.
The program of the CEE meeting focused much on program-related issues, like writing and article contests, education programs, technical tools, low-cost projects, etc. and were only distantly related to the WMCON topics. Therefore, it was hard for the PEC to create direct links to WMCON topics. However, a conference like the CEE meeting offers good opportunities to discuss WMCON topics and processes with movement members. The PEC initiated conversations with chapter representatives (especially Wikimedia Poland, Wikimedia Serbia) and motivated them to participate in the WMCON Follow-Up Process. Results of these conversations will hopefully be seen in the coming weeks.
The PEC gave a presentation to explain his work and to gather input for the WMCON 2016 program. He will share his feedback also in the CEE meeting’s upcoming PEG Grant Report to improve next year’s meeting.
What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects? Consider the following questions and respond with 1 - 2 paragraphs.
What went well?
A good thing about PEC-MAN is his devotedness to good documentation, including highlighting of learnings. Even though I did not take part on Wikimania this year and was 10 000 kilometres away from the epicenter of discussions, Follow-Up Day documentation and PEC activity report helped me to stay tuned. Furthermore, being passionate about central issues in the movement, I have really enjoyed how the Program & Engagement Coordinator of Wikimedia Conference has taken some of the responsibility to keep these discussions alive throughout the year.
- 1. Reflective process management of the PEC concept
The whole concept of the Program and Engagement Coordination for the Wikimedia Conference was an experimental idea of Nicole Ebber and Cornelius Kibelka. There has never been a position like this before in the Wikimedia movement. Therefore, the concept was developed in an experimental, reflective and iterative way. We could not plan every step from the beginning, but adjusted according to the results and experiences after each phase. On top of that, several people provided feedback on- and off-wiki, and helped us to shape the scope of the endeavour. These feedback circles allowed us to steadily adjust and iteratively design the project outline.
- 2. Best documentation ever so far
The documentation quality also benefited from the introduction of the PEC – a dedicated person who had “budgeted” sufficient time for an extensive documentation which went way beyond last year’s transcripts. Thanks to the work of the documentation volunteers and the valuable input by several speakers, almost every session has an extensive and speaker-approved summary. Now, every participant or other interested people can reference to and work on the WMCON topics.
3. Successful experiment: First tracked follow up of the WMCON ever
WMDE introduced the role of the Program and Engagement Coordinator for the first time and this concept has proven to be very valuable throughout the whole process. As far as it was possible at his late entry date, the PEC took over the main responsibility for creating a coherent and qualitatively enhanced program for the Wikimedia Conference, based on the input the program team provided. Participants and speakers quickly accepted the role of the PEC.
At previous conferences (2012, 2013, 2014), no outcomes – not even smaller ones – were recorded. This changed for the first time in 2015. The PEC tracks all post-conference results on one central page for an accessible, brief overview, while the discussions and outputs are kept on each thematically dedicated page.
- 4. WMCON Follow-Up Day was a huge success
We consider the WMCON Follow-Up Day at the Wikimania 2015 in Mexico City a huge success. In total, 50 to 60 people participated in the pre-conference day. This amount is higher than expected, especially for an event that was not part of the official program and wasn’t hosted in the official conference venue. The participation was not only very satisfying in terms of numbers, but also in terms of participants’ activity: Around 90 % of the participants discussed and engaged actively. Depending on the session, 10 to 20 people participated. This amount of participants created a really productive and effective working atmosphere in a safe space. The latter enabled participants to express one or more of their thoughts aloud. The WMCON Follow-Up Day is a good example how Wikimedia Movement events can be a platform for the climax of engagement, meaning that active but virtual conversations and processes can be concentrated and summarized at real life events. On top of that, they offer a space to discuss next possible steps in a much easier way.
- 5. Building bridges approach shows first signs of success
The PEC made great progress in finally establishing the Wikimedia Conference as part of the Wikimedia movement discourse. The idea of building bridges to other movement events worked better than expected. The WMCON Follow-Up Day at Wikimania was a success, and the involvement of the PEC into the organisation of the CEE meeting proved, that the building of these “programmatic” bridges are important. The involvement of the PEC in the Wikimania 2016 program team as a program liaison for WMCON topics is a further improvement of this.
What did not go well?
I had the possibility to experience Cornelius' work in two different ways. First, as a participant of the Wikimedia Conference, and secondly as part of the Wikimania 2016 organizing team. In both cases it has been very useful to have a person who had the task of stimulating, gathering and finding the best way to put in practice the movement's ideas and needs. Sometimes it's difficult for us to turn conversations into real plans, but the presence of Cornelius facilitates a lot this task. The continuity of his role is also essential, since it allows to make longer-term plans knowing that there will be a stable person who will help in accomplishing them.
- 1. Late entry of the PEC
Due to several reasons – mostly due to the fact that WMDE only took over being the conference host in January 2015, after the original host pulled out – the PEC could only start quite late, only six weeks before the Wikimedia Conference itself. This period of time was too short to create a more focused conference program (as planned) or to focus on issues like session lengths or the matching between session and target group. The latter issue will be resolved by involving the participants of the WMCON16 much earlier than in previous years.
- 2. Not everyone understood the role of the PEC
One of the biggest tasks for the PEC was explaining his own role. One of the reasons for that is that this role never existed before and even outside the movement you rarely find such a position – it is an experiment. Thanks to the mentorship of Nicole Ebber and the selective support of Andreas Karsten, it was possible to continuously check what the next steps are and what is to be improved in an iterative process. However, the PEC’s role was designed to be a facilitator and supporter of the process – as in facilitating ideas and consulting with the involved participants – but was often understood differently, on a more operative level. Providing more clarity on the PEC’s role and his tasks is one of the reasons for our extensive reports and proposals. After the first six months of experience, it will be much easier for us to adjust and apply the PEC’s position in the future.
- 3. The process is much slower than expected
In general, we expected the process to be faster and outcomes earlier to happen. Independently from the topics, it took a lot of time to discuss and agree upon the next steps with the people. We learned that tackling difficult issues with relevance for the movement takes quite some time. Despite the fact that most of the involved ambassadors are paid staff, not everyone could assign enough time to be involved as much he or she wanted. For a variety of reasons, long term commitment and international coordination for the topics people brought to the conference is not always determined as a priority for movement affiliates. As the process took so much time, the PEC had to de-prioritize certain todos, like the plan to create and share a collection of methods for concrete support of the thematic ambassadors as well as to publish more blog posts and regular updates. A possible solution could be the more concrete support offers for thematic ambassadors, better expectation management, more precise communication, and increase of staff time for the PEC (from 0,7 to 0,8 FTE).
- 4. Mainly staff members from “Global North” organizations are involved
Most of the people participating in the engagement process after the Wikimedia Conference are (paid) staff members from the Wikimedia Foundation or Wikimedia chapters. We assume that they are the only ones who can make sufficient time to be involved in a such an extensive, long-term process. It seems that volunteers are more focussed on programmatic-related issues. We are concerned that almost everyone involved comes from the “Global North”. Certainly, most affiliates come from the “Global North”, and almost only affiliates from the “Global North” have staff to be involved. More diversity among the involved participants would be appreciated. A possible solution is stronger commitment of the PEC in promoting the WMCON topics among affiliates from the “Global South”, to create smaller working packages and to provide a toolkit with concrete support measures.
- 5. Gap in funding continuation and challenges of the “Project and Event Grant”
Due to the experimental aspect of the Program and Engagement Coordination, only the initial six months of the project were funded. We believe that the long term impact will only be visible after a complete conference cycle of (at least) 12 months. Additionally, the flow of a “Project and Event Grant” is challenging: While the project report is due 60 days after the end of the project, the report is the foundation for a follow-up financing. This creates a gap between the end of the 1st financing period and the start of the 2nd one. To avoid this gap, the PEC spent time on extensive reporting (one report together with Logistics Coordinator of the Wikimedia Conference and one report of the PEC’s efforts during Wikimania), which therefore couldn’t be spent on creating better ways of supporting the thematic ambassadors. To circumvent this gap in the funding period at least for 2016, we are aiming for a two year agreement with gapless renewal of funding after one year. We would like to see the WMF Community Resources team to consider finding a solution for the issue of gapless multi-year funding.
Project goal and Measures of Success
We are all very busy rushing from one event to another. So much so that it is very easy to forget to follow up on a certain discussion or conversation. The result is usually that we keep talking about the same things over and over again. In this regard Cornelius' work is like a catalyst. He not only guarantees you won't forget what was discussed, but will help you structure it and make sure next time around the conversation continues right where we left off. His role means we finally have a chance to finalise processes. A skill we so urgently need.
Copied from Grants:PEG/WM_DE/Wikimedia_Conference_2015#Plan
In the past, the Wikimedia Conference itself has always been a kind of monolith, a one-shot instead of being an episode in a series for the Wikimedia movement. As the mandate to organize the conference has previously been assigned from year to year, there has never been a link between each conference. In the previous years, participants were hardly able to get a profound understanding of the conference goals and topics. Instead, they focussed on exhausting discussions around the hosting and logistics. They were not aware of what was expected from them and what kind of preparation and participation was suitable for certain sessions and decisions. Participants were not encouraged to preparatory discuss conference topics inside their organizations to form opinions and to get the appropriate mandate to decide on certain issues as an official delegate. Decision making processes were slow, non-existent or became inefficient. Activity literally just died on Sunday afternoon, after the last participant had left the conference venue. In the end, no one felt responsible for post-processing the results and keeping the conversations alive.
This changes for the first time, as the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland jointly agreed on WMDE being the host for the conferences in 2015, 2016 and 2017. As of now, the conferences can be organized with a long-term perspective regarding logistics and contents, with specific goals and with proper involvement of all affected parties. For the first time, there will be a dedicated staff member/contractor (“Program and Engagement Coordinator”) whose task it will be to establish a facilitated and supported engagement process about the conference’s topics before and after the conference. This includes preparation, wrap-ups and post-processing of conversations and decision-making processes of conference topics. Our goal is to secure sustainable involvement of key movement stakeholders as well as to build bridges to future events (esp. Wikimania). Additionally, venues and accommodation and further organizational matters can be kept at lower price, by ideally cooperating with the same service providers through 2017 and negotiating on three year contracts.
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 paragraphs.
As far as it is possible to assess this after six months’ work, we made very good progress towards the project goal. The Wikimedia Conference had – in contrast to previous years – actual outcomes, which were tracked and recorded by the Program and Engagement Coordinator. He ensured that main topics are discussed and developed in the months following the conference. Participants and speakers got engaged and motivated to work on them. Parts of the program of the Wikimedia Conference 2016 will be build upon the outcomes of the main topics led by the thematic ambassadors. In retrospective, we are confident that we have achieved our goals to make the Conference productive (by having outcomes) and sustainable (by ensuring to use these outcomes next year).
The plan to build (programmatic) bridges to other events was fully achieved. The integration of WMCON topics into the Wikimania took its first step, the CEE meeting followed. At the moment, it’s already foreseeable that WMCON topics will play a part in next year’s WIkimania program, as the PEC has been asked to be a liaison for the Wikimania program team. Ideally, in the next years the thematic ambassadors will carry the WMCON topics to other movement events by themselves, enabled and facilitated by the Program and Engagement Coordinator.
Measures of success
- List the measures of success exactly as provided in the approved grant submission, and evaluate your project according to each measure listed there.
|#||Measure (as proposed in the grant)||Results according to our survey||Compliance|
|1||80% of participants approved that the conference improved the understanding of grants, fundraising and finances in the Wikimedia movement.||24 % strongly agree, 61 % agree ( = 85 %)||Complied|
|2||80% of participants approved that the conference contributed to reaching a shared understanding of the movement’s strategy||30 % strongly agree, 46 % agree ( = 76 %)||Not complied, explanation given in the previous grant report|
|3||80% of participants approved that the conference made satisfactorily clear the significance of sharing and collaboration in the Wikimedia movement||51 % strongly agree, 43 % agree ( = 94 %)||Complied|
|4||80% of participants approved that the conference’s capacity building workshops helped to improve the common knowledge and capacities.||Not measured, explanation given in the previous grant report|
|5||80% of participants were satisfied with selection of topics.||27 % strongly agree, 54 % agree ( = 81 %)||Complied|
|6||80% of participants were satisfied with quality of contributions.||27 % strongly agree, 59 % agree ( = 86 %)||Complied|
|7||80% of participants were satisfied with communication from program team before conference.||47 % strongly agree, 38 % agree ( = 85 %)||Complied|
|8||80 % of the participants could satisfactory seize the conference to share knowledge with other Wikimedians||66 % strongly agree, 32 % agree ( = 97 %)||Complied|
|9||80 % of the participants could satisfactory seize the conference to gain knowledge from other Wikimedians||70 % strongly agree, 27 % agree ( = 97 %)||Complied|
|10||80 % of the participants could satisfactory seize the conference to better understanding of each others views.||54 % strongly agree, 41 % agree ( = 95 %)||Complied|
|11||80% of participants were satisfied with communication from organizers before the conference.||70 % strongly agree, 25 % agree ( = 95 %)||Complied|
|12||80% of participants were satisfied with support from organizers during the conference.||86 % strongly agree, 12 % agree ( = 98 %)||Complied|
|13||80% of participants were satisfied with the conference venue.||75 % strongly agree, 23 % agree ( = 98 %)||Complied|
|14||80% of participants were satisfied with accommodation.||75 % strongly agree, 20 % agree ( = 95 %)||Complied|
|15||80% of participants were satisfied with social events.||50 % strongly agree, 44 % agree ( = 94 %)||Complied|
|16||In the time between the conference and September 30, 2015, there is a continuous exchange about at least 3 major topics of the Wikimedia Conference 2015 (e.g. in working groups, discussions, special events etc.).||Of the eight identified major topics, for at least six of them (Movement Roles, Parternships/External Grants, Advocacy/Public Policy, Communication, Community Support, Governance) there was a continuous exchange in terms of discussions, working groups, WMCON Follow-Up Day sessions or similar.||Complied|
|17||30% of the 2015 conference participants engage in the structured follow-up process 6 months after the conference. Engaging means participation in working groups, discussions, special events etc.||Around 26 % of the WMCON participants took part in the follow-up process as of October 1, 2015||Not fully complied|
|18||Topics of the Wikimedia Conference have a continuance at the Wikimania in a dedicated track or space (as qualified by dedicated Wikimania sessions, participation of 2015 conference participants at the dedicated sessions, etc.); this might be applied to other subsequent conferences as well.||The PEC organized a WMCON Follow-Up Day, attended by 50-60 participants. Furthermore, there were special meet-ups for the Communications Committee and the WMCEE network. The PEC was present at the CEE meeting.||Complied|
|19||For Wikimedia Conference 2016: minimum 50% of the 2016 program activities pursue major topics of the 2015 conference or build upon related outcomes/ follow-up work of the 2015 conference.||This will be an important quality measure for the Wikimedia Conference 2016, which will be reported in the report in July 2016. At the moment, this measure of success is not measurable yet.||n/a|
|20||50 % of the 2015 conference topics lead to concrete outcomes (e.g. documented next steps or wrap ups, learning patterns, established working groups, continued discussions, joined activities, binding decisions) -- either at the conference itself or between the 2015 and 2016 conference||For six of the eight major topic next steps were defined. Concrete outcomes, as defined in this measure of success, were achieved at least for Advocacy/Public Policy (brainstorming ideas for the Global Advocacy Strategy), Governance (publication of WMDE's Executive Transition Report), Communication (Reorganization of ComCom), Community Support (publication of the Community Capacity Development initiative; publication of the VSN working paper)||Complied|
|21||At the 2016 conference minimum 80% of participants which have also attended the 2015 conference report that the 2015 conference led to tangible outcomes for their work.||This will be an important quality measure for the Wikimedia Conference 2016, which will be reported in the report in July 2016. At the moment, this measure of success is not measurable yet.||n/a|
Cornelius was a fantastic partner for us following the Wikimedia Conference. He helped us follow-up on our presentation on building communications capacity for the Wikimedia movement and engage people within the community to make it more meaningful. Thank you, Cornelius!
Provide an overall assessment of how your project went according to these measures.
There are three kinds of measures of success for this PEG grant:
- Program-related metrics for the Wikimedia Conference itself (#1-#10)
- Logistics-related metrics for the Wikimedia Conference (#11-#15)
- Follow-up Process-related metrics (#16-#21)
The first and the second kind of measures (#1 to #15) were already assessed in the previous report, including suggestions for improvement. A first assessment of the Follow-Up Process-related metrics can be found in the Wikimania report of the PEC.
Following the above mentioned measures, we consider the project being successful. Over the last six month, there has been – and still is – a continuous exchange around the WMCON topics, actual outcomes were produced and the Wikimedia Conference has become an integrated event for the Movement discourse by having built programmatic bridges to other events.
However, we have expected a higher number of people participating. Around 44 WMCON participants (or 26 percent) of 168 WMCON participants participated in different ways to push (contributing to online conversations, attending the WMCON Follow-Up Day, email exchange, video conference conversations etc.) in the WMCON Follow-Up Process. Interestingly, another, similar sized group of 38 individuals contributed to the Follow-Up Process: People, who did not participated in the Wikimedia Conference 2015 themselves but were interested in joining the debates and processes. On the one hand, the involvement of non-participants is very encouraging and has been one of the goals for the PEC, on the other hand the ratio leads to the question whether affiliates picked the right representatives to attend the conference. In 2016, the PEC will work on ways to create higher participation among the WMCON participants.
If you were to plan a similar project, would you measure it differently? If yes, please explain how.
Generally, we have chosen a good mix of quantitative and qualitative metrics, which will lead the way to actually see whether our project was successful or not. For the next Wikimedia Conference, we would use the same or similar metrics, especially to have comparable results. Regarding the program-related metrics the actual wording may change, as they depend on the actual program of the conference. Regarding the Follow-Up Process-related metrics, we will be working with our Partnerships & Development team and discuss qualitative metrics for the outcomes. Since this has been the first step in this PEC experiment, the current metrics focussed on creating anything after the Wikimedia Conference, not taking the quality or necessity of it into account.
Thanks to Cornelius we could bring the Wikimedia Conference to the next level: He not only supported the program design process for the conference itself - thanks to him we also have useful and complete documentation of all sessions and for the first time systematic links to other conferences, such as Wikimania or the CEE Meeting. We, as a movement, need to keep up our fruitful conversations also after and in between conferences and make sure that they go beyond the the small group of the Wikimedia Conference participants. Cornelius in his position is a great facilitator for that.
This section ties this project to Wikimedia's broader goals, and shows what the project accomplished.
What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic goals? Please answer in 1 -2 paragraphs and include specific measures of impact such as the number of readers or editors reached by a particular project, or the number of articles edited or improved.
All participating organizations and groups are committed to our common mission. They come to Berlin to become even better at the work they are doing. The conference can motivate them to start new initiatives and improve their impact. They are learning from each other, building capacities and they contribute to movement and strategy related conversations that are aimed at advancing the movement as a whole.
- The Wikimedia Conference was a perfect place to support leaders and decision makers of movement organizations in order to allow for the building of mutual trust, motivation, and empathy that enables them to solve conflicts more easily.
- The program of the Wikimedia Conference supported and encouraged movement leaders to tackle important strategic issues of the Wikimedia movement, as the conference provided a safe and creative space to exchange opinions and created the environment to make informed decisions.
- The sessions of the Wikimedia Conference supported movement organizations in their organizational effectiveness, by providing capacity building workshops as well as opportunities to learn from each other and to share knowledge. Participants pointed out that learning and sharing knowledge were two of the main benefits of the Wikimedia Conference.
- The follow-up process of the Wikimedia Conference, facilitated by the Program and Engagement Coordinator, keeps conversations about important movement topics ongoing. This helps not only to increase the sustainability of the Wikimedia Conference – as the next Wikimedia Conference’s program will be build upon the outcomes of the follow-up process – but helps also to increase the impact of the conference and its related topics.
- The topics of the follow-up process affect all Wikimedia organizations. Discussing them, improving them, producing outputs, and supporting collaboration will lead to outcomes that we consider having a positive impact on all Movement organizations.
It is in the interest of the Wikimedia movement to ensure a highly productive and sustainable Wikimedia Conference. We consider the creation of the position of the PEC and concentrating on outcomes as well as participant involvement have enabled to movement to take a huge step forward towards this goal.
Thanks to this new approach, the Wikimedia Conference is not a single, isolated event anymore, but part of the Movement discourses and started to be seen as a long-term process, connected to other movement events.
Reporting and documentation of expenditures
All details on the expenditures have been reported already in the previous report.
- Nicole Ebber (WMDE), Adviser to the ED, International Relations; Curator of the Wikimedia Conference
- Cornelius Kibelka (WMDE), Program and Engagement Coordinator for the Wikimedia Conference