- Jonas Öberg (jonas)
- Kristi Progri (kristiprogri)
- How to join
- This group seeks to answer the question of "Who are we as an organisation?" by analysing the organisational identity expressed and perceived by various stakeholder groups. The outcome of which will be a renewed committment to an organisational identity reflecting who we are.
Why do we exist?
Over the last couple of years, the FSFE has run a number of strategy working groups and sessions to analyse our stakeholder's perception of the FSFE, our mission, the naming of our Fellowship, the structure of the organisation, and so on. Some of these continue, others have come to their natural conclusion.
As we've seen in the last years, people engaged in the FSFE, from our coordinators and volunteers to GA members, have different perceptions of what the FSFE is. Our 2014 Strategy process identified at least seven different ways in which the FSFE was communicated, and similar results have been found when asking our core community to explain the FSFE.
This team is charged with addressing our organisational identity and some of the cross-cutting issues which go to the core of what the FSFE is, before we get into the details of what this means and how the structure and other parts of who we are should be adapted accordingly.
We conducted a similar soul-searching excercise as part of our founding process, but the world and the FSFE has changed in the 16 years since and it's time to re-visit it. Defining the organisational identity of the organisation would also be helpful to bring the entire organisation, from volunteers to coordinators and members, together around a common vision of who we are, from where discussions of structure become much easier to have.
What do we do?
The expected outcome of the work, to be presented towards the end of 2017 is a document detailing the organisation's identity and core values answering to the follow key question:
- Who are we as an organisation?
While the outcome seems simple, the answer is not always clear. As mentioned, there are many answers today to this question, and many facets of it. By analysing what we say about ourselves, as well as how various groups and people perceive the organisation, we hope to shine a light on the tensions between the different answers.
This in turn leads up to an answer which our members can sign up to and get behind, which will then be the foundation for further work in the area.
How will we do it?
The process will work through the following three dimensions of our organisational identity to start with:
- Our declared identity (looking at our publicly available material, how we present ourselves)
- Our attributed identity (how are we perceived by external stakeholder groups: business, academia, other non-profits, politicians, etc)
- Our experienced identity (how do we see ourselves, what has formed our identity in our history?)
The identity attributes sought after in this exercise are those which are central, enduring and distinguishing:
- Central: manifested in core programs, policies etc; attributes which have passed the test of time and represent the highest committments,
- Enduring: deeply ingrained, that which matters more than anything else; sacrosanct or celebrated in organisational lore,
- Distinguishing: used by us to separate us from others, what is expected the kind of organisation we are.
For example, it's likely that one of the core attributes, collaborative, which is part of our existing self perception might feature as an important attribute for many groups. It's manifested, has passed the test of time, is deeply ingrained in the organisation and often used to distinguish the organisation from many others in the same ecosystem. Other attributes, perhaps that of a "family athmosphere" might be seen in some groups within the organisation, but not others. It might be an attribute which is enduring in some parts, but perhaps not central to the identity.
Identifying the attributes in each of the dimensions (except the declared identity, which can be gotten from publicly available material), will require both surveys (where appropriate) and structured interviews. The steering group will need to support the work by ensuring consistency in interpretation of surveys and interview results.
The analysis of the three dimensions of our identity will give insights into how aligned our identity is, and will identity potential tensions within the dimensions or between them. Those tensions may require additional work during the project to understand them properly. Finally, the experienced identity will be needed to be broken down into three sub-dimensions, catering to the different roles which exist within the organisation: members, supporters and volunteers. How these three sub-dimensions relate to each other will further illuminate what tensions exist.
Who we are
The group is led by executive director, Jonas Öberg, who's the chair of the steering committee. The committee has the following members:
- Two fellowship representatives (Mirko and Daniel)
- Two members (Alessandro and Cryptie)
- One staff representative (Erik)
In addition, the group has the valuable help of Kristi Progri as the project assistant to support the project throughout.