Annual Report 2022/Story: Finding out what to focus on – a needs assessments for the hub
In this story, we focus on the initial work with interviews and background material that was done and produced so that we can identify the needs and ideas of the Wikimedia movement. Our work was part of the foundations for building up the structures and further collaborations in the hub to meet future needs.
When working on the strategic recommendations, it became clear that the Wikimedia movement needs coordination and more opportunities to support each other. One of the areas where these needs were identified was about external partners. An area where we need to work together across borders on a global level. As we wanted to learn more about the sort of needs working with external partners generates, we looked for people within the Wikimedia movement who have experience with external collaborations or who want to get started and develop and focus more on that area.
We started the interviews in the fall of 2021 and then continued in the spring of 2022. Altogether we conducted 35 interviews with a total of around 50 people. The selected interviewees represent different parts of the Wikimedia movement; we both contacted them directly and also invited the community to contact us, through our pages on the Wikimedia platforms. As a starting point, we used the respondents' current partnership work and what they needed to implement successfully content partnerships. Our purpose was to gain insight and get suggestions for processes that should be taken care of and prioritized between different well-functioning solutions. The challenges pointed out by the participants and the areas where they required support boil down to five themes.
- Support for collaboration.
- Management and communication.
- Technical skills and tools.
- Funding and staff.
These themes are described in detail in our report. We used these insights to iteratively adapt our work with the thematic hub. The overall outcome of the needs assessment is that the Wikimedia movement both wants and has the ability to collaborate more globally and this will affect how we organize ourselves and create greater impact.
Future collaborations with the hub could start with a request to work together in one of the areas where the respondents submitted their suggestions. The request may initially target smaller groups and projects that have opportunities to invite people with similar needs into the process. To get results quickly, the focus could be on smaller tasks and curated parts of collections and data uploads. The goal is a process that shows that short lead times and direct support produce a visible result. The lesson learned from the project will hopefully be the knowledge you need to continue the work on your own, but now with an expanded network.
Within the hub, we are working on expanding international partnerships, on capacity building, software development, strategic data uploads and establishing a so-called Helpdesk, so that interested Wikimedians can increase their engagement in content partnerships and do them more effectively.