Talk:Leadership Beyond the Core Group

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Nancy White, Wed 2/19/2014 4:06 PM

Now, back to the issue of leadership. How can we improve succession management in the core group? Which alternatives identified in the document do you think should we seriously consider?

I keep having this little feeling that we limit ourselves when we see that the only way to volunteer, to steward, to lead, is through the Core Group. I see the CG as a coordinating mechanism, but not the only source of contribution or labor.

For example:

Anyone can be a monthly online facilitator - just raise your hand and we can buddy up with each other (I do this - I'm not on the Core Group!)

Synthesize a thread on the wiki

Notice what is happening/link across NING and DGroups conversations

Spot great resources and share them (like Jaap and so many others do via Twitter and other tools)

Organize a local or global meeting (we had a small team that made the Seattle meeting happen)

Write a longer piece for the Journal


So my question is, what does it take to invite anyone into this? What motivation? What process? What support?


Philipp Grunewald, Thu 2/20/2014 7:01 AM

Dear Nancy,

I agree with you. There are many spaces in which leadership can happen (and more can be created – as Jaap recently did with his ZEEF experiment). If something is important to you, go for it. See if others in the community jump on board. Self-facilitation is not (by definition) inferior to “expert”/“professional” etc. facilitation. Everything comes with ideological, political, economic, conceptual, etc. strings attached.

Best wishes, Philipp

Pete Cranston, Thu 2/20/2014 11:36 AM

Interesting indeed, Nancy: I came at what is the same set of ideas from a different direction, triggered by Valerie and others talking about how they like the unstructured, emergent, self-guiding element of KM4Dev.

My question is what is the scope of the role of the Core Group (CG)?

We, the CG, will be raising the issue of Governance, amongst other things, as John Smith’s superb second synthesis report (patience, patience, it will be out soon enough - clear a lot of time to read it!) on the IFAD funded work over the past couple of years. That is partly because it is one of the issues covered in the original proposal, so we need to think and talk about it, but also because of the issues raised in these threads about things like representation and elections

Networks with even a bit more formality than KM4Dev tend to split functions into Governance and Secretariat. The KM4Dev CG has fulfilled both of those functions. Having things that loose fits the emergent, self-guiding culture, but that tends to be strained when money enters the room, as it did with the IFAD project, and indeed the previous funding from ICCO, SDC, Bellanet, and so on. Decisions have to be made, projects managed, and the line of accountability to the wider network without a more formal consultation mechanism is a bit haphazard, since even regular communication and questions tends to attract a sub-set of regular or occasional responders.

And Valerie’s comment, calling for the emergent culture to continue, points at the values of the network, the element that is stewarded in more formal organisations by a Board, or Trustees, or similar. So while I agree with Nancy that all the ’secretariat’ functions can be shared within and without a Core Group, what of the stewardship - the Governance element? Can it, should it stay within the CG? If so, then that might strengthen the case for mechanisms like elections or criteria on inclusion to ensure representation in the CG.

Weighty things - anyone got a joke about networks?



John David Smith, Thu 2/20/2014 3:37 PM

I just grabbed Nancy’s points about informal contribution as a kind of leadership and added them (or used them to edit) a page on the Wiki: 

This one was completely new:

Develop and share community knowledge	
Write a piece for the KM4Dev Journal -- based on your own work, KM4Dev activities or discussions or ... ?

Now this page could be more polished, but that is an invitation for you to help… 

What I’m wondering is: does the form of this page help or make things clumsy? It tries to name “a step” and then describe a bit about what is involved.

John ____________________

  • John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd
  • Portland, Oregon, USA
  • “Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.
  • Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way."
  • -- Martin Luther King Jr.

Valerie Brown, Thu 2/20/2014 3:38 PM

Thanks Pete for raising the spectre of money in self-organising governance. There lie dragons if the funding source controls the outcome or even the quality - as it almost always must. There are frameworks however in which the resource 'money' is kept separate from the resources for 'knowledge management". I strongly recommend Elinor Ostrum's "Governing the commons" (it is on e-book). Valerie