Global Gathering 2019 - Day 4 - All The Things team working session

What is the purpose of this session?
Get non-dev tasks into AirTable
Get through some of these non-dev tasks

What outcomes/deliverables do we want?
Progress on All The Things Pipe and clear plan going forward

Who is facilitating? Kirsten

Who is scribing? Gen

Summary of decisions:

  • General discussion of OFN’s way of operating and collaborating - no decisions made as such


  • Move actions from discourse posts into airtable - Done
  • After Gen leaves just note the actions and trust the video recording otherwise
  • Do the video summary of the interoperability session

Detailed notes:

What OFN creates: a software platform, resources (docs, network), a new way of working
We need to sit down and discuss this, write this website section together

Nick highlights that the shared sense of ownership of OFN is very important, and was built in from the beginning by Serenity and Kirsten. Allows everyone to feel empowered to act and make decisions for the community. Of course, we check these decisions with others, but we don’t need permission as such. People come to OFN with their own agendas, but these tend to be aligned around a fairer food system. Kirsten explains that they were aware of the problem of “founder syndrome” and wanted to avoid this, through principles like networked organizing, pricing transparency, openness to a diversity of business models. They treated OFN as a baby who you hope will eventually become independent and self-sufficient.

Jen notes that other organizations in the same space, like Food Assembly, can appear on the surface to address the same need, but OFN’s way of working is unique. Nick suggests that people are attracted to Food Assembly/OFN because of their interest in food sovereignty, but OFN allows for further awakening re: open governance. Kirsten highlights that Myriam really drove the distributed decision-making angle, bringing ideas from OuiShare, and recalls being resistant to this at first - are we ready to trust others? But ensuring that power is distributed means that users aren’t locked into OFN - if OFN were to lose its way, users would have the power to leave.

Jen asks: what are the key enablers of this open governance? Kirsten suggests that it’s about creating space for collaborators to create what OFN is. Lynne points out that there 2 sides to this - OFN’s fostering of a distributed working community and a requirement on participants to be resourceful. New collaborators can be a drain on effort and resources when they don’t step up to the responsibilities of ownership. Jen remembers that in her first year with OFN she was looking for who to ask for permission from, before realizing that she can give herself permission to act for OFN. Nick notes that this is a wider societal problem - at school we’re taught to follow and wait for permission to do things. It’s a whole mind-shift to learn how to act autonomously. Kirsten highlights that it’s about continuous improvement of process, openness to being challenged. It’s been a big thing personally to move from being able to make all the decisions herself to realizing “this is not my decision to make” - and it’s better because it’s not all her responsibility anymore. Nick underlines the big element of trust involved in this way of working - taking decisions without consulting everyone, because that’s impossible, but trusting that you will be trusted. That you’re not deliberately excluding others, that you’re taking decisions in good faith, and also that the decision can be reversed/abandoned. This can be costly and painful (e.g. OFN SA) but it’s worthwhile.

Kirsten asks: what about OFN’s priorities for time and effort investment? e.g. sometimes dev work is organized according to devs’ excitement and interest to address certain issues, but OFN also needs the less sexy stuff, like mobile. The dev pipe is a way of addressing this, and Jen’s initiative for creating the non-dev pipe is a way to clarify OFN priorities in this domain too. Jen highlights the work involved in maintaining the infrastructure of open decisionmaking - communication, documentation, etc.

Follow-on session
What’s the relationship between the two pipes - e.g. metabase gathering data to feed into fundraising applications?

I missed the session on Airtable, but I have explored it a little before. Can I get some links to this work? Is that what we are referring to as the “all the things” pipe?

Hi Laurie, I’ll get you access asap!