Recommendation 3: Partnerships as part of a Distributed Vision
Q 1 What is your Recommendation?
The partnership model employed by the Wikimedia Movement should be based on a vision of distributed and decentralized work, in which organisations functioning as strong, sustainable nodes of the network are responsible for leading and stewarding partnerships (of a given type, in a given thematic area, etc.).
This partnership model, agreed upon by different movement entities, should define roles for such key organisations, which then should be supported in becoming sufficiently sustainable. At the same time, the model should be based on a vision of collective impact and support of weaker entities in the movement by these core organisations.
Q 2-1 What assumptions are you making about the future context that led you to make this Recommendation?
The Wikimedia movement, in order to be sustainable, needs to include multiple organisations that are strong and sustainable and have the capacity to act as important nodes in the Wikimedia network.
Such nodes can play the role of regional or thematic leaders - ones that understand their role as supportive of other, weaker movement entities.
Such a distributed model is better from a “hub and spokes” model where centralised power rests with one entity.
With regard to partnerships, this means that within the Partnership Framework we can identify key organisations that lead work on different types of partnerships.
Current examples of such distributed responsibility include WMDE’s work on Wikidata or WMSE’s current project to increase its capacity to support content partnerships.
Q 3-2 Who specifically will be influenced by this recommendation?
This recommendation will apply foremost to a group of Movement organisations that will have the capacity to play the role of leading organisations for certain types of partnerships.
It will also influence other Movement entities that will be able to receive support in running their own partnerships.
In particular, attention should be paid to supporting Partnership work done by individuals in the community. In many regions, these individuals initiate and sustain important partnerships. The work is often fuelled by their individual passion and sense of purpose. Yet they face multiple challenges, for example related to lack of legal identity (and related to this, they can often be perceived as not serious or significant enough). Cooperation with a designated, other Movement entity that is tasked with supporting Partnerships would make the work of these individuals more sustainable.
Q 5 How does this Recommendation relate to the current structural reality?
This recommendation builds on existing examples of chapters that are taking on a leading role in partnership work - such as WMDE work on WikiData or WMSE work on tools and infrastructure for content partnerships in the GLAM area. These examples should be examined and evaluated in order to develop - within the Partnership Framework - a plan for distributed work on partnerships by different Movement entities.
Q 6-1 Does this Recommendation connect or depend on another of your Recommendations? If yes, how?
This recommendation strongly connects with recommendations that relate to capacity to do Partnerships. This recommendation proposes measures that will help deal with these capacity issues.