Nine working groups form
Based on work done at the Wikimedia Conference 2018 in Berlin, eight thematic areas became nine and would define the discussions and work ahead: Advocacy, Capacity Building, Community Health, Diversity, Partnerships, Product and Technology (formerly just Technology), Resource Allocation, Revenue Streams (formerly there was only one group on movement resources, but to ensure income as well as distribution topics were given equal focus, those two were split), Roles and Responsibilities (formerly Power Dynamics, but a more neutral name was preferred).
A working group model based on the collective impact framework was chosen to enable all nine thematic areas to be explored in parallel. The aim of using this kind of model was to allow for broad Movement perspectives to inform thinking and to ensure active participation in the discussions from as many people as feasible. It was a new approach within the Wikimedia Movement to bring together so many individuals from diverse backgrounds and a range of cultural contexts to work for an extended period of time in working groups.
A Movement-wide call for applications to join the working groups launched in mid-June 2018 and ran for three weeks. Outreach happened across multiple channels via mailing lists, messaging groups, social media, and personal contact across the Wikimedia Movement. A total of 172 applications were received. Based on a set of criteria, the core team created a shortlist (91), with factors such as applicant role (staff, board member, or volunteer), expertise, geography, and gender identity all considered to ensure a diverse balance in group membership.
Movement Strategy Working Group model
A Steering Committee, consisting of members of the broader movement who were involved in phase I of Movement Strategy, finalized the selection of working group members, which was announced publicly on July 20. Initially, 88 individuals were selected to join the nine working groups, with each group made up of 8 to 15 members. Over time, the total number grew to almost 100 working group members as some left and new members joined. The working groups comprised volunteer community members, affiliate staff and board, as well as Wikimedia Foundation staff and board members.
Working groups officially started at Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town. Around half of the selected working group members were present at the event and were able to meet, get to know each other, and get ready for the work ahead. The core team hosted a Strategy Space for Wikimania participants to learn more about Movement Strategy, raise concerns, ask critical questions, and share ideas. Specific sessions were also dedicated to regional and thematic group members to share their perspectives on how the working groups could best connect and communicate with their communities. Feedback received during Wikimania made it clear that essential information must be translated to reduce language barriers that prevent participation in the process. In addition, more attention and planning is needed around how to manage outreach to the broader Movement and new voices.
Building the bridge as we walk on it - adaptiveness as part of the process
The design of the work in phase two was mapped out with a few milestones and lots of flexibility to accommodate for the variety of work needed on the nine thematic areas. Two of those key milestones were 1) sharing initial working group scoping documents at the Wikimedia Summit 2019 and 2) sharing draft recommendations at Wikimania 2019.
Planning was adaptive, which came with highs and lows. Adaptiveness allowed the process to accommodate the different pace of work of different working groups as well as to plan and execute requested in-person working group events relatively quickly. At the same time, being adaptive meant that plans kept changing, which led to a lack of clarity and, at times, confusion regarding the next steps. The core team did not always manage to communicate these changes to working groups members in a timely manner, which caused understandable frustration. It also made it difficult for working group members, particularly volunteers, to plan how and when they could contribute to the work.