Thank you so much for volunteering your time to shepherd the community governance conversation within the GOSH Community! This post is intended to give some background and next steps for this group. We are at the start of the work and so questions are expected and welcome - we are here to answer them collectively!
Why are we here?
Over the past 18 months, an ad hoc team of previous GOSH organizers (including Francois, Greg, Julieta, Shannon and Fernan and I) have been facilitating a conversation on community governance. Following exciting progress for the community in obtaining support for two years of activities, this work is to be taken forward by a working group (us) tasked with addressing questions related to the community governance structure that emerged from a community call-in June 2020.
We will serve in a transitional role, working with the broader GOSH community to establish the framework within which a longer-termed community governance structure will be seated. The GOSH community will have every opportunity to participate in, and comment on, this process and it is a responsibility and priority for this group to ensure that happens in an effective and equitable way to the greatest extent possible.
For more information on the criteria for establishing this working group, see this document.
Questions for the working group to resolve
To recap from the recent community call (full notes here), these are the questions for GOSH community governance working group that have been put forward by the community to resolve:
- Structure and terms of community governance group(s)
- What types of decisions are located in community governance group(s) and which in the broader community
- How decisions are made and discussed
- How meetings and input processes will be facilitated
- How the community gets involved in the decision-making process
- How membership of the community governance group(s) turns over
- How new members are brought on the community governance group(s) and onboarded
- How do disagreements at the level of community governance group(s) get mediated
- How to indicate conflicts of interest
- Specification and responsibilities for the GOSH Community Manager
- How do decisions from the community move to either the Board and/or grant PI’s to ensure spending is within the guidelines and directive of each set of funds
- How decisions are made about whether a project, grant, etc is fiscally sponsored under GOSH
- How PI’s of fiscally sponsored activities are involved into decisions for core GOSH activities.
- And others to be determined…
The next phase is to prioritise this list into the minimum and essential questions we need to answer in order to seat longer-term governance, and those that can be deferred to be addressed in that later phase.
Support for the working group
We have big questions to answer and we are not community governance experts so it’s hard to know where to start. In addition, there is a lot of work to do and we will need to reach out to the community for additional support. There are some people ready and willing to help!
- Support for determining how to proceed and what options for community governance exist: we are delighted that Allen Gunn (gunner) has offered to support the initial working group conversations. Gunner has broad experience working in open communities and on governance processes. You can read his full bio at https://aspirationtech.org/about/people. His involvement with the group will be shaped by the type of support you need and would like to invite to the group.
- Support for getting work done: the whole community can be used as a resource to help you with the work, several people have expressed they have time and interest to help during the recent community calls so we anticipate a good response!
Time Frame - a framework proposal in ~60 days
We have set a soft deadline of 60 days to have prioritised these questions and have a “minimal viable” governance model that can be iterated over time i.e. by mid September 2020 - this is TBC after our first call and initial discussions here in the forum to establish how much work will be involved. Within these 60 days there should be some clear touch points with the community including a call and forum posts as appropriate.
Intersection of GOSH community governance structure and GOSH non-profit legal structure
My role in the working group is to be the link to the GOSH non-profit board. There are some areas of governance which for legal reasons need to be managed by the non-profit, mostly relating to finance and contracting. Shannon and I have prepared a document which outlines in detail what complements and/or falls outside of the scope of this working group. I am happy to answer questions on this during our first call.
Next Steps - gathering resources and an initial call
The next steps that were discussed on the community call were:
- Gather examples of governance frameworks, resources and ideas. This has already started happening on the forum.
- Set up a meeting of this group. Would a couple of people be willing to coordinate this initial call, to happen before the end of July? Gunner would be happy to advise you on the content and facilitation, to make it as productive as possible.
Looking forward to getting to work with you all!