Balancing the presence of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team at the OSM Foundation in 2017

Posted by Nicolas Chavent on 29 November 2017 in English (English)

In 2017, despite the current level of influence that the US NGO "Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team US Inc" (aka HOT US Inc) has over the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) thanks to Kate Chapman and Mikel Maron (both OSMF Board directors), Heather Lesson, another former HOT US Inc Board Officer and one of its former President is running for the OSMF Board.

Since 2015, HOT US Inc, is the only organization of the OpenStreetMap ecosystem represented at the OSMF Board with two Directors: Kate Chapman (co-founder / former Board member / former Executive Director; elected at the OSMF Board in 2013) and Mikel Maron (co-founder / former President / actual Chairman of the members; elected at the OSMF Board in 2015).

This state of things provides HOT US Inc with more power of influence over the Foundation than any other organizations which is without precedent in the history of this institution. Consequently, this diminishes the representation of the OSM diversity at the Board of the Foundation.

Extending furthermore this HOT US Inc presence and influence at the OSMF Board and shrinking accordingly the room for the diversity of other perspectives around OSM to be represented in this Body of the organization would be a matter of concerns in terms of : - balance of powers between organizations - diversity of visions, thoughts and practices (including internal democracy and conflict of interests) around OSM - board dynamics: a collective of HOT US Inc Boardees would interact with single individuals

With these above risks in minds, given HOT US Inc current influence, its members (aka “hotties”) would be best advised to support the OSM project at the Foundation outside of the Board through its Working Groups to start with allowing “hotties” to get acquainted with another organization. This would mitigate risks of power games, lower tensions and strengthen OSM diversity by saving room for other perspectives and experiences around OSM to be represented at the OSMF Board.

In 2017, like in 2015, OSMF voting members shall pay attention to representing at best OSM diversity as well as check and balances in terms of organizational powers at the Foundation prior casting their ballot this 2-Dec onwards.

PS : I am Nicolas Chavent, co-founder of HOT US Inc in 2010 and as Acting Project Manager in charge of of its Operations until 2013, co-founder of two French associations Projet Espace OpenStreetMap Francophone (Projet EOF) and Les Libres Géographes (LLG).

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