[Osmf-talk] OSMF board face to face meeting (F2F) facilitation.

nicolas chavent nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Fri Dec 21 16:39:22 UTC 2018


Thanks Frederik, Mikel and Christoph for your emails.

We are understanding better the F2F facilitation process, the roles on
both sides (directors and facilitator), the preparatory work, the
details of the collective work during the process, the way it's framed
by OSMF within an overarching schema marked by transparency and
openness one can sense from your emails and the mentioned-materials.

First, I'd like to reiterate here that I am not questioning Allen Gunn
(or Allen)'s expertise nor the benefits that the OSMF Board gained
from F2F meeting facilitation. I am just saying that this field of
practices is vast and that there are surely other skilled
professionals with similar backgrounds from other cultural areas who
can perform this facilitation role while bringing in a perspective
different than Allen's one. No matter wide the experience of someone
is, no matter how nomadic and eclectic he proved to be, that someone
is always marked by his culture and experience. This read from one
sentence by Frederik founding "his style a bit too American for [his]
taste". The OSMF had had the opportunity to benefit from Allen's
experience for 3 years. Changing for a facilitator from another style
with may be different practises, can bring novelty in the F2F, change
perspective and shift some directors from a comfort zone while
allowing other to be more at their ease under another

There's a lot of work behind a F2F meeting. By the way, thanks Mikel
for bearing this load. It may be worth exploring the added value to
sharing that preparatory work with other directors, WG members or
members interested in such a work item. This way, the workload would
be shared and the F2F impact (in terms of understanding of the OSMF)
would expand beyond the directors..

As per Allen's implication into HOT US Inc, Mikel, we are fully in
agreement: there are other perspectives. The thing is that those
perspectives so far have not been communicated to the hotties nor the
OSMF members. That's a pity since we are touching topics and
experiences that may help OSMF directors and members inform their
views and make the best decisions in the interests of the foundation.
I did not witness first hand Allen's services for the HOT US Inc Board
in the context of "political" and "economical" crisis management in
that organization. I read it from Severin's diary note [1]. I trust
that the OSMF F2F, under the process outlined by Frederik, would be
able to keep things on the right tacks shall there is a consensus on
letting Allen facilitating the F2F for the 4th time.


[1]: https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/SeverinGeo/diary/42924

On Fri, Dec 21, 2018 at 11:44 AM Mikel Maron <mikel.maron at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'll also add that Gunner has supported the last 3 OSMF Board F2F meetings with remote guidance to us on how to structure a collectively set agenda, and self facilitated meeting.
> This starts with a short questionnaire to each Board member with some reflective questions like "what would be the most important things for the *board as a whole* to achieve at this event?" and "what topics do you think board members are most likely to disagree on or desire to debate?". We then group the responses by topic areas, identify collective top priorities, and figure out best format to tackle each. This broadly takes the form of exercises that help with idea generation and identification of common goals, and time to work deeply on a topic towards an end. Everything is obsessively documented for ourselves, and we put focus on capturing actions at the end (Dorothea has been very helpful with this). We've been intending to share notes from last year, but I think just need to make a final review to not disclose anything that's sensitive in nature (these are rare). In the mean time, Peter has written up reviews of the past years on the OSM blog.
> One of the most helpful pieces of guidance are things like the "rule of 1", "rule of N". Only one person speaks at a time, and everyone gives them full attention. And in a group of N people, you individually should aim to speak 1/N of the time. Part of Peter's parting recommendations to the Board is that we adopt the rule of N in our meetings and email communication (maybe we should do the same here on osmf-talk ;).
> I've taken on the responsibility to coordinate the preparation for Board meetings the past 3 years. It's a lot of work to both do this coordination, and participate fully in the meeting itself. While the 5 of us who have continued on the Board this year are very well practiced at this structure of Board F2F meeting, I think we all agree that for this year we'd like external help.
> Concerning cultural diversity, I have experienced Gunner's facilitation in some of the most diverse groups of people imaginable -- digital activists from every corner of the world. He is extremely skilled at creating a space where everyone feels ready willing and able to take part.
> If we were able to align schedules with Gunner, he'll serve us extremely well. There are other people to consider as well.  As Frederik said, we haven't even gotten to that point yet.
> Mikel
> ps As you can imagine, there are other perspectives on the purpose and methods of Gunner's support to HOT, but I feel no need to go into it here.
> * Mikel Maron * +14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron
> On Friday, December 21, 2018, 5:03:54 AM EST, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> Nicolas,
> I see your points but I don't think they are an issue for us.
> Regarding diversity, if you are looking for a facilitator is it then not
> best to have someone who offers *least* diversity? The role of a
> facilitator is not to bring in new ideas but to bring out what's in
> those they are working with.
> Regarding Allen's history of working with other organisations, I browsed
> the links you sent and it seems that you are mostly concerned about
> Allen having advised HOT US Inc, on several occasions, to be less open
> than you would have liked.
> This was in the context of HOT US Inc asking themselves how to best
> "become a multi-million dollar organization" (quote from Severin's
> document). In such a context, dropping openness and transparency (which
> can often mean a cacophony of voices) in favour of a streamlined
> narrative to appeal to donors can very well be the right approach! But
> the OSMF doesn't strive to become a multi-million dollar organization so
> I think you don't have to worry here.
> We discussed using Allen as a facilitator, not a business consultant.
> The facilitator will certainly not be granted (quote from Severin) "a
> growing importance in the strategic decisions of the organization". We
> are not looking for strategic advice from Allen, just for the service to
> help conducting a meeting.
> A good facilitator helps people in a meeting express themselves and work
> constructively. It is not the role of the facilitator to convince people
> of one idea or another. Taken to the extreme, if a facilitator works
> with a board of crooks aspiring to world domination through crime, then
> the role of the facilitator is to help them to come up with the best
> possible action plan for world domination through crime - not to make
> them see the error of their ways an become good people.
> I've worked with Allen in one board meeting in the past and while I
> found his style a bit too American for my taste, I never had the
> impression that he was recommending something that wasn't already there
> in the people attending. I do not recall any advice to (quote from
> Severin again) "speak externally with (that) one voice".
> Having said all that, there are many other people out there who can
> certainly fill the role of facilitator just as well. We haven't even
> discussed timing and location yet, and Allen might not even be available
> at the time and location we choose. Asking Allen to facilitate the
> meeting has been *suggested* at yesterday's board meeting, it hasn't
> been *decided*.
> Bye
> Frederik
> --
> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"
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Nicolas Chavent
Les Libres Géographes
Projet OpenStreetMap (OSM)
Projet Espace OSM Francophone (EOF)
Projet GeOrchestra
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