Strategy/Archive/Overview of strategy
This page sets out an outline of WMUK's strategy, as approved by the board in March 2014. The strategy covers the period 2014 to 2019, but will be subject to regular review during that time to ensure that it remains relevant.
This page introduces WMUK's both the agreed strategy 2014-2019 and also its supporting operational framework. For details, please see the various linked documents that are listed in the navbox on the right.
Before reading further, please review the strategic and operational models we are using, as some of the terms used below are intended to have specific meanings.
Strategic level overview
The purpose of our strategy is to guide us in the activities and programmes we undertake to achieve our mission to help people and organisations create and preserve open knowledge, and to help provide easy access for all. The strategy sets out our high-level strategic goals, and the type of impact we aim to achieve with each of those goals (the aims). This allows us to ensure that our actual range of activities and programmes is directly aligned with our strategic goals.
Each strategic goal has an associated series of outcomes which define the specific types of impact that we will be tracking for that goal. These outcomes are not measurements in themselves, but rather the 'scales of measurement' against which we can apply specific measures or targets.
To achieve our mission, we will undertake activities and programmes that maximize progress on each of the stated outcomes, and we will report progress separately against each outcome. To ensure balance, each of the outcomes is expected to be covered within each financial year, but of course the relative priorities and extent of progress on each will vary over the course of the year.
The strategy deliberately does not require the charity as a matter of policy to work on any specific programme, as we want the flexibility to be able to start promising new programmes and to expand existing ones as opportunities arise. Likewise, we need the freedom to close down or reduce the scope of failing programmes or those that are not generating sufficient impact. This flexibility will allow us to be not only ambitious but also innovative in the type of programmes that we take on, without fearing that we will be obliged to continue with a programme that turns out not to perform as intended.
The strategy is intended to be a long-term document to cover the period 2014-2019. It will however be reviewed at least annually, and can be amended should the need arise.
Operational level overview
The specific activities and programmes currently undertaken by the charity are set out in our activity plan. This is an operational document that is updated in the light of experience at least on an annual basis, and evolves naturally as programmes are started, developed and dropped.
Measures, metrics and targets
Our Strategy monitoring plan lists, for each outcome, not only the activities and programmes that support that outcome but also the applicable measures and targets. So that we can determine 'distance travelled' most measures are expressed in annual terms, with the cumulative totals being expected to build up over the 5 year term. These are our 5 year targets.
The Strategy monitoring plan will be updated as required to match changes to the activity plan. Measures, metrics and targets may need to evolve to remain aligned with day to day activities, but we will try to be as consistent as possible to ensure that our 'distance travelled' measures remain meaningful.
By bundling the multiple measures within each output we can get a series of outcome measures which indicate progress on the outcomes.
Since each strategic goal has its own group of outcomes, we can bundle those outcome measures to provide us with a set of strategic goal measures indicating how we are doing against each of the strategic goals.
Finally, the strategic goal measures taken together tell us about our overall charitable impact.
Output as proxy for outcome
Where at all possible the targets we use are SMART, and are measured against outcomes rather than outputs. Where direct measurement of outcome is not currently possible we may reluctantly have to opt for output measures as proxies for outcomes, but we will actively work to minimise those.
Some existing limits on our ability to use outcome measures throughout include:
- The costs and difficulties of acquiring reliable direct outcome information (sometimes, expensive surveys of public opinion would be needed)
- The relevant data is not available to us (eg user data held in confidence by the Foundation)
- There is a lack of software tools that allow us to extract and analyse the data
We recognise that WMUK’s overall effectiveness and the contribution we make to our overall mission cannot be measured entirely numerically, and that narratives have an important role to play as well. We are not ideologically wedded to the use of numerical or SMART targets for their own sake, and although we use them extensively we do not shy away from using narrative measures where they are more appropriate.
In developing our strategy we have drawn on a variety of Wikimedia and external sources in addition to our own experiences and ambitions. Some of those we have found useful are:
- Our charitable objects. These define the limits of what we are allowed to do. As a charity, all our actions must as a matter of law fall within our charitable objects.