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Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Toolkit/Discussion guide/In-person

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The following discussion is closed.

Cycle 1 of the discussion is now closed for analysis and sense-making, and the toolkit information may change for Cycle 2. Please join us soon for the next cycle of discussions.

This page explains how to organize a discussion about Movement strategy at an in-person event.

In-person discussion (cycle 1)


At least 5 people minimum. Note that if you have more than 25 people, we recommend you have an experienced Facilitator run the discussion, or have additional facilitation support to better manage small group work and questions.

Overview agenda


During a 2-hour discussion, participants will do the following:

  • Review the strategic briefing and discuss the key points that resonate with the group
  • Explore what accomplishing the vision looks like
  • Generate ideas about what is our best way of reaching our vision
  • Cluster similar ideas together
  • Identify themes and write theme statements (1 sentence for each theme)

Detailed agenda


Here is a recommended agenda for the discussion. While you may choose to run the conversation differently, this has been designed for your use.

Helpful hints:

  • Depending on how many people are attending, you may want to break into multiple sub-groups. We have noted what parts lend themselves to this type of break out.
    • If the group is 5-7 people, we recommend you keep it whole group throughout
    • If the group is 7+ people, we recommend you use a mix of whole group and small group work. Small groups are generally best at 3-5 people each. This allows for deeper discussion followed by sharing with the whole group.
  • The Discussion Coordinator should identify a Facilitator BEFORE the session, so that the Facilitator can prepare and is ready to lead the discussion. (The Discussion Coordinator can also choose to be the Facilitator but this is not a requirement.) The other roles can also be identified beforehand, to save time, or at the beginning of the discussion. However, please try to be inclusive and ask for volunteers.
Time Activity
15 min Opening
  • Introductions
  • Identify roles: Scribe(s)
  • Share the Friendly space policy
  • Share the concept of “parking lot” - when ideas that are not part of the main topic are brought up, they can be written and set aside for future review and discussion

Prepare for the discussion

  • Share the agenda
  • Share the goal of the meeting: We will be working together to discuss the overall direction of the movement and generate an initial list of major themes and their meanings.
30 min The world in 2030 - what does our movement look like?
  • 15 min: Share the 30 slides in the Strategy Brief - encourage pre-reading of this info.
  • 15 min: Discuss the key ideas that you found interesting or important to think about before the discussion.
20 min Exploring our shared vision

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.

  • Have everyone silently write their own short answers to these questions, then share out with the group (whole group):
    • 10 min: What would this look like?
    • 10 min: What are the biggest hurdles that prevent us from reaching our vision?
40 min

If more than 2 hrs is available for the discussion, this section can be made longer so that more themes can be generated

Achieving our vision - small groups
  • 5 min: Break into small groups
    • If less than 7 people, keep 1 large group
    • For 7+ people, break into sub-groups of 3-5 people, ideal 4 in each group)
    • Each sub-group should identify a Scribe
  • 25 min: Give everyone the following prompt; write it on the board or flip chart paper:
    • Prompt: What do we want to build or achieve together over the next 15 years?
      • If the group doesn't understand this, some potential other ways to think about this question are:
        • What will guide our work together over the next 15 years?
        • What impact or change do we want to have on the world over the next 15 years?
        • What is the single most important thing we can do together over the next 15 years?
        • What will unite and inspire us as a movement for the next 15 years?
        • What will accelerate our progress over the next 15 years?
        • What will we be known for in the next 15 years?
    • Generate ideas, describe what this looks like.
      • Suggestions:
        • Have every person write their own ideas on sticky notes to capture each individual idea (1 idea per note). This allows you to more easily cluster similar ideas later.
        • Have one person capture it on paper or flip chart paper as people discuss
      • As a small group, what are the common threads between these ideas?
        • Cluster similar ideas together
        • Give this cluster a name (what we are calling a theme)
  • 10 min:
    • For each theme, write a simple sentence describing the theme. Write down 1-3 key words that defines this theme statement.
      • Example 1:
        • Theme statement: We should spread access to knowledge through educational institutions.
        • Keywords: education, access
      • Example 2:
        • Statement: We should explore new kinds of knowledge spaces, embracing innovation in order to survive and thrive in 2030.
        • Key words: innovation, knowledge
      • Example 3:
        • Statement: Wikimedia stands for a purity of knowledge and facts, untainted by commercial interests or political agendas, and promotes a knowledge culture of balanced information and cited sources.
        • Key words: independence, verifiability, facts matter
    • Identify a Reporter(s) who will share out with the whole group.
10 min Achieving our vision - share out
  • Each sub-group shares out its themes to the whole group.
  • Action item: Give copies of all theme statements to the Coordinator for the summary.
5 min Close
  • Facilitator shares what will be happening in the next cycles and how they can further engage in the conversation.
  • Action items
    • Identify who will post notes to the project-wiki
    • Take a picture of the group to post on project-wiki and to submit with summary
  • Thank you!

Roles for in-person workshops


To help conduct a meaningful, productive discussion, we are recommending that you ask people to volunteer for each of these roles. This role definition allows all participants to stay focused on the purpose of the discussion and adhere to the Friendly space expectations.


  • Before the meeting: Share the suggested reading, purpose, and agenda with discussion participants
  • At the meeting:
    • Welcome everyone
    • Encourage volunteers to fill the roles
    • Thank everyone
  • After the meeting:
    • Ensure the summary and raw notes get posted


  • Create the discussion space:
    • Identify volunteers for each of the roles
    • Share and help everyone observe your organization’s Friendly space policy (or use this one: Friendly space policy)
      • Some core agreements for group discussions:
        • No put downs.
        • This is a brainstorm session — All ideas are accepted and noted
        • No ideas are bad ideas
        • Individuals each have a voice (turn) and can volunteer more than one idea.
        • One idea at a time.
        • Everyone not sharing their idea should be listening and be respectful of the participant.
        • Participation is voluntary, if an individual does not want to share an idea, they have the right to pass.
    • Share the concept of “parking lot” - when ideas that are not part of the main topic are brought up, they can be written and set aside for future review and discussion
  • Prepare for the discussion:
    • Share the agenda
    • Share the goal of the discussion
    • Share any prepared materials
  • Guide the discussion in a timely manner, encouraging all to speak and participate
  • Keep neutral and help others reflect on points being made
    • Avoid bias
      • Trust the process, yourself and others
      • Set expectations, ground rules and enforce them
      • Listen with ears AND eyes (i.e. watch for non-verbal cues)
      • Engage appropriate reflection—when to rephrase, when to talk, when to listen
      • Do not be overly directive or providing answers
      • Allowing “think-time” for different styles of processing and participation
      • Being comfortable with interpersonal “messiness” and silence
      • Being authentic/self-disclosure AND accepting feedback
      • Stay neutral/non-judgmental - try to avoid judgement statements such as "very good," that's right," or "I agree" as much as statements to the opposite.
      • Attend to tracking/detail and linking to the big picture
      • Show appreciation for all participation that meets the agreed upon guidelines, not just those things that you might find especially interesting.
    • Normally the Facilitator does not participate in the discussion. If you wish to share an idea, be sure to say when you are stepping out of Facilitator role and into participant role.
  • Identify action items and assign responsibilities for completing them
  • Help group summarize the key themes


  • Take notes of key ideas, capturing the participants’ exact phrasing to maintain integrity of the idea
  • Use flip charts, sticky notes, or online shared docs to write notes
  • Include action items and who is responsible for each item
  • Keep in mind the notes are available to everyone at this event
  • Discuss if raw notes will be made public, and ask group if they should be personalized or anonymized
  • Take pictures of flip charts, stickies, and other offline notes
  • Take a picture of the group to share with your summary


  • When the whole group splits into smaller sub-groups, each group should have a Reporter to share that sub-group’s work with the whole group
  • Ask for 1 or 2 Reporters per sub-group


  • Share your ideas and be creative!