Invest in Skills and Leadership Development
A brief video recording about this recommendation
We will invest in individuals and organizations in our Movement and aligned partners to develop the technical and people skills crucial for the Movement’s health and growth. We will do this by combining local skill development with global coordination so that communities can learn from each other, build upon existing expertise, and increase local skills for online and offline activities. These activities include editing and any other form of on-wiki participation, community outreach, volunteer management and recognition, advocacy and public policy, conflict resolution, developing partnerships, fundraising, organizational development, project management, and communication, among others.
We will also invest in individuals to develop the abilities needed to effect change in the Movement towards the strategic direction. We envision a Movement built by committed, well-trained, socially- and technically-skilled individuals from different backgrounds that reflect the diversity of global communities. Investing in skills and leadership development will allow us to intentionally make our Movement more distributed and sustainable.
Changes and Actions
- Create a systematic, global approach to skill development for local communities, their people, and their organizations. This requires us to:
- Establish a methodology that maps assets and needs and generates aggregated data for deploying skills development initiatives based on real needs.
- Establish a service that facilitates connecting/matching peers across the Movement for teaching and learning skills (e.g. peer-learning, networking, and pooling of information from partners and allies).
- Encourage a diversity of methods, including training, mentoring, consulting, online learning, peer-to-peer support, and events.
- Create incentives for skill development (online and offline) through the recognition of skills (e.g. through open badges).
- Create a systematic, globally-coordinated leadership development plan. This requires us to:
- Establish a process to understand and model leadership according to skills necessary in each context.
- Deploy tools or processes based on existing volunteer engagement that support communities in identifying potential leaders.
- Invite potential leaders from other social movements to diversify and enrich the Movement through sharing experiences.
- Provide training options (e.g. online, in-person) at local and regional levels to allow individuals to acquire leadership skills relevant to their communities.
- Create an outline of the roles and skills that contextually encourages self-governance and ensures subsidiarity to empower communities.
- Invest in new or existing technological infrastructure which facilitates learning of skills through functional, collaborative, real-time tools and quality content. This requires:
- A user-friendly, searchable, multilingual, multi-format, curated platform to host learning resources (e.g. tutorials, videos, online training, etc.).
- Learning resources (e.g. “learning packs”) directed to individuals and organizations joining the Movement to encourage self-directed knowledge acquisition and development of skills within our practices and roles.
- Learning packs required to understand issues that relate to scalability, sustainability and other areas considered in the Wikimedia Movement Strategy recommendations.
Procedures to evaluate the quality of learning content and to facilitate the transfer of knowledge at global and local levels.
Well-organized and well-established projects and groups have greater access to resources than others in our Movement. Linguistic, technological, cultural, economic, social, and other barriers prevent many stakeholders from accessing equitable opportunities and resources. Training topics in the past were not always selected based on community needs, and many proven methods and good practices for building capacity were not employed in our Movement. Much of the knowledge that exists in the people and organizations in our Movement is not tapped into for the benefit of peers elsewhere, while mentoring, coaching, online learning, and taking advantage of external expertise remain under-utilized.
Developing skills is also a matter of internal knowledge management. The platform MetaWiki has to date not been effective in allowing everyone access to high-quality learning materials and for connecting peers across the Movement for mutual learning and support. Newcomers face a steep learning curve and often get discouraged and leave, while seasoned Wikimedians are neither encouraged nor empowered to scale their contributions or share their expertise. Stakeholders are frequently isolated and forced to recreate work, instead of accessing, leveraging, and building upon existing capacities.
Leadership skills are key to building a Movement that represents global diversity. People who are active participants in various regions and contexts know what works well in their socio-economic, political, and cultural settings and are critical to the development of their communities. However, to date, we have not invested in formal training programs to develop volunteer leadership. This also aggravates the inequity of access to positions of responsibility in the Movement and makes it difficult for individuals from underrepresented groups to develop capacity. New leaders can bring a healthy rejuvenation to our Movement, prevent the concentration of power in a few hands, prevent the problems of burnout and drop out, and better represent our overall diversity.