Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/2016 Wikimedia Foundation Leadership retreat agenda

Logistics edit

  • September 28-29, 2016
  • Time: Wed 9.30 am start, Thurs 5pm close (ferry at 6:15pm, schedule changes often, please double-check before departure)

Participants edit

  • Foundation C-team (Katherine Maher, Maggie Dennis, Lisa Gruwell, Joady Lohr, Wes Moran, Michelle Paulson, Heather Walls, Jaime Villagomez)
  • Christophe Henner (Foundation Board chair)
  • Suzie Nussel (facilitator)
  • Anna Stillwell (facilitator)

Topic edit

  • Strategic vision

Goals edit

  • Substance (Developing an initial point of view as the Foundation’s C-team)
    • Shared understanding and expectation of how to define “movement strategy” - particularly in our special context as “strategic vision”
    • Shared understanding of c-team strategic priorities and perspectives
      • Have conversations that are focused on opportunities over challenges, and look 10-15 year into the future, rather than 3-5
    • Develop preliminary list of Big questions and thematic areas for strategy engagement (to be shared with the community for feedback in October)
      • Need focused work to determine the right level of questions to engage on - How to actively engage in higher-level thinking (movement direction) and reduce tactical submissions (such as product features, etc.)
    • Develop initial SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to inform strategy process and give community members baseline information
  • Process
    • Shared team ownership and leadership of the future of the movement and the Foundation’s role within the movement
    • Shared understanding and ownership of the coming strategy timeline, processes, and best-case outcomes, and the executive team’s role within this process
      • Based on past processes, key learnings
    • Build strong support for community-collaborative outcomes
    • Bring issues, misconceptions, confusion to the surface and address accordingly
    • Develop clear understanding of next steps to complete deliverables for Oct. Meta posting and Nov Board retreat
      • Resulting in detailed project plan / resources identified to complete all tasks

Proposed agenda edit

September 28 9.30 - 5.00

Developing a shared point of view on strategic direction

9:30 - 10:00
  • Set the tone: review agenda and goals for retreat (30 min)

10:00 - 10:15

  • Warmup exercise (clarify “wishes” for future) (15 min)

10:15 - 11:00

  • Level-setting on purpose (45 min)
    • 10 min - Katherine shares perspectives on strategy discussions to-date
    • Vision, Mission - what they mean
    • Critical concept introductions: strategy and strategic vision
      • What do we want to create, what do we need to consider
      • Theory of change level set
    • Discussion of potential gaps between all stakeholders’ mindsets / expectations

11:00 - 11:15  Break (15 min)

11:15 - 12:00

  • Future direction exercise (45 min)
    • Visual metaphor
      • When you look 15 years out, what do you see we have accomplished? what do you want for the movement?
    • Your point of view (POV)
      • Silent writing - articulate sentence of direction in format (worksheet)
      • Share out - whole team

12:00 - 1:00  Lunch at Tiburon Tavern Back Patio

1:00 - 2:05

  • Recap POV/directions - clusters (5 min)
  • SWOT Exercise (60 min)
    • Teams of 2-3, working in parallel
      • Strengths/Assets (resources, do well), Weaknesses (don’t have or don’t do well), Opportunities (untapped resources, external context that gives us new advantages), Threats (competition, external context that makes us obsolete or hurts our cause)
        • What questions need further investigation by teams?
    • Whole team - review

2:05 - 2:15  Break (10 min)

2:15 - 3:45

  • Potential directions / “Poles” exercise (90 min)
    • Teams of 3 (1 team per major pole) (30 min)
      • Worksheet - Articulate the “pure” essence of each pole, to the exclusion of anything else. What does the future look like? What are the resources/weaknesses/competitors? Do we have the capabilities? Are we the best people to do it? How does everyone fit in? What do we do more of, less of to support this direction?
      • Summary of it on flipchart
    • Whole team - share out (60 min)
      • Discussion of pros/cons of each potential direction
      • Discussion of potential combination approaches

3:45 - 4:00  Break (15 min)

4:00 - 5:45

  • Determine success criteria (45 min)
    • Process: Strategy consultation
      • What does a successful process look like?
      • Consider design opportunities and restraints
    • Content: Outcome of the strategic work by all stakeholders
      • What does a successful movement strategy look like?

4:45 - 5:00

  • Closing activity - check against objectives

5:00 - 7:00  Free time

7:00 - 9:00  Group dinner

September 29 9.00 - 5.30

Structure the engagement process (draft for community review)

  • Breakfast buffet at 8:30am in Compass Boardroom


  • Intro for the day (15 min)
    • Agenda
    • Check objectives, anything new?
    • Katherine covers goals for the day
  • Christophe (20 min)
    • Board expectations for the process and outcomes
    • Christophe shares his own initial thoughts on long-term strategic direction
  • Recap of first day’s work and discussions (35 min)
    • Share with Christophe
    • Add any major "a-ha" moments to the boards
  • Validate ideas against criteria (20 min)
    • Make any adjustments to ideas based on criteria

10:30 - 10:45  Break (15 min)

10:45 - 12.05

  • Preparation to develop the engagement process (80 min)
    • Level of engagement - discussion of what is the most effective entry point to prompt discussions and proposals from stakeholders

12:05 - 1pm  Lunch

1:00 - 2:45

  • Content we are seeking from engagement (45 min)
    • Development of Big Questions, Themes, etc…
  • Engagement process by Stakeholder - part 1 (60 min)
    • Review overall timeline and major milestones - affiliates, individuals, staff
    • How to simplify, reduce effort and costs for WMF and volunteers?

2:45 - 3:00  Break

3:00 - 4:00

  • Acceptance finding and Action Plan (60 min)
    • Identify who to engage? What else might be needed for people to buy-in? What are known obstacles and how do we incorporate to improve the process and outcome?
    • Identify next steps, create action plan and assignments

4:00 - 5:00

  • Conclusion session (60 min)
    • Did we achieve what we came here to do?
      • Strategically?
      • Interpersonally?
    • What would we do differently?
    • What/how will we report back to staff/community?
      • Who will report back?
      • How will we report back (and communicate consistently to community?)
    • What are next steps, and who owns them?

5:00  CLOSE

Pre-Reading/Viewing edit

Proposed definitions of types and levels of strategy: edit

Movement Strategy

Movements are a type of group action, that carry out, resist, or undo social change. They are large, sometimes informal, groupings of individuals or organizations which focus on specific political or social issues. A movement strategy defines a shared vision, direction and goals for individuals and organizations in the movement.  It is strongly connected to the emotional logic that drives volunteers and donors to participate and belong.  It answers the questions “Who do we want to be and what are we trying to achieve together?”

Watch a leading thinker on movement strategy: Taj James, Founder and Executive Director of the Movement Strategy Center.

Organizational Strategy

An organization strategy is the sum of action an organization intends to take to achieve its long term goals in support of a movement, taking into consideration the strategies of the other movement organizations. It also defines the economic logic (fundraising models) that will support the organization. It answers the questions “What do we want to do and what is our role in the larger movement?”

Read a leading thinker on organizational strategy: Jim Phils, Professor at Apple University; Former Director of the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford Graduate School of Business:

Product Strategy:

“Product strategy is defined as the road map of a product. This road map outlines the end-to-end vision of the product, particulars on achieving the product strategy and the big picture context in terms of what the product will become.” In a nonprofit context, products support the goals of the organization and the movement. Programs can also be considered products. This defines the functional logic of the organization.  It answers the the question “How are we going to do it?”

Read more about product strategy: Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

The book discusses how to guide everyday actions with larger strategic goals built around the clear, essential elements that determine business success. The stories of how P&G repeatedly won by applying this method to iconic brands such as Olay, Bounty, Gillette, Swiffer, and Febreze clearly illustrate how deciding on a strategic approach--and then making the right choices to support it--makes the difference between existing and succeeding. The Product department recently applied elements of this approach to Reading strategy over the past year.

Other materials edit

Social movement / Theory of change edit

English Wikipedia articles


  • Social Movements and Organization Theory (Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics). David, Gerald F.; McAdam, Doug; Scott, W. Richard; Zald, Mayer N. Link
  • Social Movements, 1768-2008. Tilly, Charles. Link.
  • Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age. Manuel Castells. Link


Organizational Strategy edit



  • Playing to Win. Lafley, A.G.; Martin, Roger L. (used by Reading team)
  • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy. Rumelt, Richard.
  • Why Strategy Execution Unravels--and What to Do About It
  • Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
  • The Innovator's Dilemma
  • Blue Ocean
  • The Open Organization
  • The End of Power

A whole slew of books and websites on why simple is better than everything else, including when it comes to strategy and design principles:

Community engagement edit

Please note that no book on community management is tailored to our unique situation. All approaches need to be reviewed with an eye towards modification to our circumstances.

  • Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better and More Active Online Communities. By Richard Millington.
    • While engineered (as they all are) for a different kind of community, Millington (of Feverbee) takes a nuanced look at community development based on the life-cycle of the community. Many of his suggestions could make potentially valuable approaches for affiliate organizations especially in emerging communities, although (again) it’s not engineered for our kind of crowd.
  • Design to Thrive: Creating Social Networks and Online Communities that Last. By Tharon Howard.
    • Howard’s approach to community building is based around his “RIBS” model: Remuneration, Influence, Belonging & Significance. Basically, people participate if they feel rewarded for their efforts (pleasure is a reward); if they feel influential in their community or on a sphere that matters to them (in our case, potentially the knowledge sphere); if they feel accepted, as if they belong; if they feel that what they are doing is significant.
  • Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-based Social Design. By Robert E. Kraut.
    • Have not yet read this book, but it’s in my stack. Came highly recommended.
  • The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation. By Jono Bacon.
    • A Ubuntu manager interviews other online community managers about how to herd cats, basically: how do you keep volunteer movements on course? This is unread in my stack.
  • Managing Online Forums: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Run Successful Community Discussion Boards. By Patrick O’Keefe.
    • This one is a little older. It gets some good word of mouth, but I haven’t poked at it enough yet to know if it will apply.