Next steps for the GOSH Governance Working Group

Hi All

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:

  1. Structure and terms of community governance group(s)
  2. What types of decisions are located in community governance group(s) and which in the broader community
  3. How decisions are made and discussed
  4. How meetings and input processes will be facilitated
  5. How the community gets involved in the decision-making process
  6. How membership of the community governance group(s) turns over
  7. How new members are brought on the community governance group(s) and onboarded
  8. How do disagreements at the level of community governance group(s) get mediated
  9. How to indicate conflicts of interest
  10. Specification and responsibilities for the GOSH Community Manager
  11. 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
  12. How decisions are made about whether a project, grant, etc is fiscally sponsored under GOSH
  13. How PI’s of fiscally sponsored activities are involved into decisions for core GOSH activities.
  14. 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!

Jenny

2 Likes

Hi All

I hope you’ve had a good week and you’re looking forward to the weekend!
Just a reminder about next steps for this working group - gathering resources and an initial call

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.

We may need to adjust the timing of the latter to before the end of first week in August - would one or two people be willing to coordinate this initial call? This would involve finding a time with the working group, working with gunner on content and facilitation and hosting the call.

Jenny

1 Like

Hi everybody!

Yesterday me, @pazbernaldo, @jarancio and @amchagas met to talk and we shared a common sense of " we want to help and contribute, but we can’t lead or guide this discussion right now ". We’d like to know if someone else in the group would be willing to take up this task, and would definitely support him/her/them.

In the current global situation, we imagine you all are also with no slot in life for leading one more project. As we have money to allocate on a facilitating role, us four wanted to suggest that we pay for this part-time job to someone in the community to organize, guide and document the process of building our governance.

The governance is important, but hard to build. I’ve been doing this in the group I’m part of and, even though there are only four people in the group and that we are friends, it is very tiring and demands a lot of mental work.

Also, volunteering time is not always possible (e.g., we also lead different GOSH-related initiatives that take volunteering time), and since we have the opportunity to pay someone of the group to do it, we think it is a good opportunity to value and requite to people from our community who may need it at this time.

What do you think about it?

Not sure if everybody had set the notifications (we didn’t get any), so I’ll mark everybody: @juanpedro.maestre , @gbathree , @thomasmboa , @Obasegun @gayatri, @JiLi , @jcm80

1 Like

Thanks @marinappdf for the summary ;)… so yes, please let us know what you all think.

Abrazos!

1 Like

Thanks for those thoughts @marinappdf!

For clarification, there is no funding set aside in the Sloan grant for coordination or facilitation of the community governance conversation, the budget is in this summary of the proposal.

Gunner is offering his support pro bono as a facilitator and guide to this group so the volunteer coordination effort could be minimal. The main ask is for someone to set up the calls (timing, set up a pad) and follow up on actions in advance of the next call, we could even rotate on that and also note-taking duties.

It would be great if someone wanted to coordinate with gunner on facilitation but of course we are all busy and he is extremely experienced at facilitating this type of process so it wouldn’t be essential.

I hope that helps and I’d encourage anyone who thinks they would have time to coordinate this initial call to step forward, with a view to handing on the baton for call #2 to spread the load if needed. @marinappdf, @pazbernaldo, @jarancio and @amchagas have already indicated they aren’t able to take on this role, I feel uncomfortable doing so as I’m here as the 501c3 governance representative and this group has to focus on community governance so it feels off-balance for me to actively coordinate these meetings but I’m very happy to take my turn on a note-taking/documentation rota.

@juanpedro.maestre, @gbathree, @thomasmboa, @Obasegun, @gayatri, @JiLi would any of you be willing to take on this initial coordination responsibility?

Jenny

2 Likes

Thanks @jcm80 !

I think we understand wrong the budget!
I’ll read it again!

Maybe I got it wrong in our talk, but the idea was to define the community role and person (paid, in budget) ASAP so this person can lead the required conversations.

1 Like

Adding @governance-wg to ensure people get notifications :slight_smile:

I may have explained myself badly! The intention was for the community itself (via this working group) to lead the community governance discussions. Moving towards a distributed structure and away from one person or a small group of people taking the lead was what led us to this point of having a group of 11 community members ready to seed and facilitate discussions around the governance questions and topics put forward by the broader community.

One of the questions for this working group to define is the “Specification and responsibilities for the GOSH Community Manager” who is funded via the Sloan grant. That could be the first thing this group does and if the group wants that person to run/manage the process of setting up the community governance structure then we could include it in their scope.

I foresee two issues, one is that it’s quite a risk to hand over that responsibility to an unknown person and the second is that from the time of agreeing the scope of the community manager role to the date that person starts work will likely be at least two months to allow for advertising, interviews and notice periods, so the community governance conversation would be on hold until then.

The hope was that this transitional group could kickstart governance discussions and have a bare essentials governance framework in place by about two months time, ready for a longer-term governance committee to form.

It would really be great to get everyone together to discuss priorities, the role of this group, potential challenges to overcome and hear from Gunner about patterns he has seen in communities undertaking similar community governance building exercise. We could do this by forum threads if easier than organising a meeting.

Jenny

3 Likes

Hi Jenny and all,

I’d be happy to coordinate the initial call. Now it seems the most urgent thing is to set up the time. Let’s vote via doodle for the call time. https://doodle.com/poll/y9zg425wpmk4qdy5

@governance-wg

Ji

3 Likes

@JiLi I can assist you in this initial call. I am not sure that we have enough of time left to deliver a framework proposal, that is why I suggest to open a google doc where we can start brainstorming around the “Questions for the working group to resolve”. Like that people can work in asynchronous manner.
In my case, I am more confortable to work on google doc than on a pad; but @governance-wg you will tell me what is better for you, so I can quickly create a link.

2 Likes

Hi Jenny and all

Apologies once again for my delayed entry here. I have not been an active community member (long story), so I need a few days before I can start coordinating for meetings with other members. I am happy to coordinate with gunner on facilitation though. I have lead all governance management for FAT since the beginning, so this part is easier for me to understand. Since we are doing a similar process in FAT of making it community-led, it would be a great opportunity for me to learn too.

Gayatri

2 Likes

Hi @governance-wg

It seems difficult to find a time slot we are all available. Aug 10th Monday 14:00 - 15:00 UTC is the best option. And Gunner is available to join. I will send an invitation now.

Ji

1 Like