Getting to the Root of the Idea: How the Movement Strategy Recommendations Were Finalized

A small group of Movement Strategy Process participants, including former working group members and the core team, finalized the Movement Strategy recommendations in March 2020.

They dived deep into the content, reviewed the feedback, combined overlapping ideas, and eliminated redundancies. A key focus of their work was to make the basic intent behind the recommendations and the language clearer. The result is a revised, refined 40-page document that features 10 recommendations and 10 underlying principles and outlines a guide for change for how we will collaboratively build the future of our Movement. The Movement Strategy core team would like to take you through how this happened and how decisions were made.

Gathering feedback from across our Movement

In early 2020, Wikimedians across the world provided feedback about the near-final set of recommendations. We were pleasantly surprised by the level of engagement – from online contributors debating ideas to affiliates hosting dedicated in-person and virtual events with their communities. Wikimedia Argentina hosted a regional meeting for Latin American affiliates. Wikimedia France supported salons in 11 countries to enable richer and more diverse input from French-speaking communities. The feedback that came in was rich and broad, and you can read a summary report of it here

After Movement conversations closed in February 2020, the focus shifted to reviewing and integrating this feedback to improve and finalize the recommendations. A team of people who have participated in the Movement Strategy Process volunteered to do this work. They brought with them diverse perspectives from different parts of the world and the Movement, including from online communities, affiliates, and organizations, alongside vast experience as former working group members, writers, and reviewers.

The recommendations under the microscope

The general approach taken was to review and discuss feedback from communities, affiliates, and the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to identify ways to improve the recommendations. The group started by looking at the recommendation “Create Cultural Change for Inclusive Communities” together and then reviewed the feedback received in sub-groups. Then they conducted a group edit to incorporate feedback and make the language clearer and, thus, the intent of the recommendation more explicit.

By going through each recommendation, the team was able to identify overlaps in the content and discuss as a group whether to combine certain ideas or recommendations.

For example, it was evident that “Create Cultural Change for Inclusive Communities” contained a lot of general points about the kind of change being proposed overall. So the team decided to break up this recommendation and share its fundamental intent across many recommendations. Much of this was also merged with “Provide for Safety and Security”, which has become the recommendation “Provide for Safety and Inclusion”. “Foster and Develop Distributed Leadership” and “Invest in Skills Development” also shared many similarities and were combined to create “Invest in Skills and Leadership Development”.

Another example is the recommendation “Prioritize Topics for Impact”, which became “Identify Topics for Impact”. Here, the title and the content was adjusted to make the intent of the idea clear and also underline that the free will of Wikipedians to choose their subject would not be infringed upon.

Polishing ideas and global thinking: The criteria, experience, and expertise that guided the revision work

To integrate feedback and finalize the content, the group focused on:

  • Revisiting and clarifying the original ideas behind the recommendations. Rather than adding more content to answer questions that had been raised, the team instead used the feedback to get to the heart of the original idea and make this clear. In other words, the original idea itself needed to answer the question or comment that was put forward.
  • Adjusting the language so it is clearer and easier to understand.
  • Identifying and deleting process-related redundancies.
  • Looking at which topics may have been overlooked. For instance, the recommendation “Promote Sustainability and Resilience” did not make any reference to environmental sustainability; this was rectified based on the feedback provided.
  • Drawing on the incredible skills and knowledge each member of the group, particularly those who were in working groups, has cultivated over the course of this process. This has evolved alongside the recommendations and has been informed by conversations with Movement stakeholders.

The group also checked whether the values that underpin the Movement are well reflected. This led to, in one example, making it clear in the text that editing will not be compensated, which had not been stated outright in earlier versions of the recommendations. Once all of the previous 13 recommendations had been reworked, the team checked for consistency across them all before moving on to the principles and finalizing those. 

To help the team with this work, a three-day in-person meeting was organized in New York City from March 10 to 12. 

After almost two years of working to understand our Movement and engaging in discussions with stakeholders, the team who worked on finalizing the recommendations has developed profound insights into the opportunities and challenges we face on a Movement-wide level. Much like the recommendations, their perspective has shifted from looking at the Movement through nine thematic areas to now thinking about it on a global, interconnected scale, and this also guided their work when finalizing the recommendations.

What’s next

We are now (April 2020) putting the finishing touches on recommendations, including having the language copy edited for clarity. The content will then be translated and published herelater this month. We cannot wait to share the results of this two-year endeavor with you! 

From there, the focus will start to move toward implementation of the recommendations. Due to the current global health crisis, timelines for this will shift, and we are still figuring out the concrete next steps toward implementation. A series of virtual events is currently being planned for later this year where participants will have the opportunity to discuss and engage with the recommendations. This will also be where conversations about implementation will begin by looking at what initiatives emerge from the recommendations and how to decide what to implement, when, and by whom (please find more information about that here). 

Stay tuned! The Movement Strategy core team will publish more details about next steps as these become clear.

Originally published on Meta by Anne Rees on May 7, 2020