HOT is at the beginning of a transformation. One aspect of this is setting up regional hubs in Asia, East Africa, West Africa, and Latin America/Caribbean. Last week, the first ever Regional Director started working at HOT - Dr. Nama Budhathoki. I wanted to take the opportunity to outline some of the early thinking around what a hub should be, and questions that Nama, myself and others are thinking about. The plans and details of hub implementation will be led by Nama over the coming year - there are no specifics or details to share on that yet. This post is to share thinking, that is evolving quickly - input, ideas, comments are very welcome - please comment on this post or chat with us on Slack. Nama is also joined by a few other hub team members; a Community Manager (Mikko Tamura), Partnerships Manager (Bry Damasco), and Operations/HR Associate (Bea Ocampo).
In this post, you’ll see the use of hOSM, which stands for humanitarian OpenStreetMap. Whereas HOT is often used to describe the work of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team as an organization, hOSM is used to describe the humanitarian OpenStreetMap ecosystem as a whole.
What is the purpose of a hub, and how is thinking around this evolving?
- To inspire and mobilise a hOSM movement across Asia. This means:
- the hub serves hOSM, not HOT... but how do we realize this? The hub needs to engage with community members in Asia over the next weeks and months - hint: reach out to Nama (email@example.com) with ideas
- How do we measure movement building, and how do we know if we’re doing the right things to encourage it? This will be a long and expansive conversation, but in a nutshell, one of my favourite books New Power (https://thisisnewpower.com/) says “it’s not a movement unless it moves without you” - how do we make sure HOT’s work amplifies and supercharges hOSM, but does not control, claim, or own hOSM or OSM?
- We’ve made some simple but important changes to communications - including branding the hub as the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap hub, *not* the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap *Team* hub, and changing Nama’s Job Title from Regional *Hub* Director Asia, to Regional Director Asia, reflecting the fact that the Hub is not just a physical space in one country, but a virtual space and concept serving 25 countries across Asia and Oceania.
- To power the evolution and growth of hOSM ecosystems in priority countries through contextualised and appropriate support and leadership, which is culture & language-appropriate. This means we need to think broadly; coming up with ways to identify and support the variety of OpenStreetMap individuals and organisations in a country, rather than working exclusively with one actor. In a given country, a thriving ecosystem could be made up of organised OpenStreetMap community/communities, individual contributors, NGOs, government actors, universities, students, national and international organisations all building and / or using OpenStreetMap.
- To decentralize: move decision making and resource allocation closer to the communities and partners HOT wants to serve
- This is a brand new structure for HOT as an organisation and might be a bit less interesting to OpenStreetMap community members -- but changing HOT’s structure comes with a lot of challenges! To date we have had global functional teams working on things like Partnerships, Community programs and Operations - and now we need to embed those functions in the new Regional Hub structure, and make sure HOT’s global functional teams work closely with and support hub evolution.
- Allow the hOSM ecosystem to flourish in different countries by stopping opening long term country offices, and starting to support HOT’s existing country office staff to transition to fully independent local entities in 2021. This will involve providing financial resources, training, support and maintaining a close affiliation, with the goal of enabling agility and independence for strong local hOSM actors.
- How can the hub be co-designed with the community in Asia? (as a physical and virtual space)
- How can the hub provide value across the humanitarian OSM ecosystem in Asia?
- How can the hub catalyze a humanitarian OSM movement across Asia?