Building innovation nodes through Free Software Communities (VII): activities

This is the seventh post of the Building innovation nodes through Free Software Communities series. In order to fully understand this one, please consider reading the previous ones. p, li { white-space: pre-wra
 
 

There are several kind of activities that can be very productive and aligned with the goals of the project. We can group them in several ways. Maybe the most general one is:

  • Promotion activities.
  • Training sessions.
  • Discussion/reflexion.
  • Networking activities.
  • Demonstrations.
  • Administrative/coordination meetings.
Some of the activities will be organized directly by communities. At the beginning of the project they would be the majority. But the project must be open to organize activities proposed by local agents and non members that are aligned with the project goals. Cross-community actions should be also promoted.
Opening a call for activities is a very good thing to do. There has to be also flexibility to allow activities that do not need a lot of effort to organize so they can be proposed with not much time in advance.
Some of the most common activities could be:
  • Promotion events (talks, lightning talks, keynotes, etc).
  • Demo events.
  • Workshops and training sessions.
  • Cross-community events.
  • Announcements and press conferences.
  • Sprints and hackfests.
  • Communities Assemblies and board meetings.
  • International events.
  • Internal meetings:
    • General Assembly and Board meetings.
    • Other internal meetings.
  • Interviews.
  • Video and audio conferences. Streamming.
As explained in the Organization section, there should be a comitte that takes care of coordinating the activities so they make sure that there is a variety of them in terms of goals, participants and achievements. This Activities Coordination Group will make also sure that the activities schedule satisfy both, current project members and local agents.
It is desired that every member celebrates in the project facilities at least one activity every year. A good goal could be to celebrate every member annual event each three or four years, so they make sure a relevant one takes place at least once a year. 
It is a good practice not just to generate local critic mass but also to ensure that the project is attractive enough in terms of sponsorship.

Building innovation nodes through Free Software Communities (V): services

Since this is the fifth post of the Building Innovation Nodes Through Free Software Communities, I strongly recommend you to read the previous four (I, II, III and IV)
This post will explain my ideas about what are the basic services that the initiative should provide so Local Free Software Communities (LFSC) and local player might organize activities that allow the project to be successful.

As enumerated in the second post of the series, the basic services that should be provided by the project to its members can be divided in six major areas:

  1. Administrative.
  2. Legal.
  3. Financial and accounting.
  4. Marketing and communication.
  5. Business development.
  6. Facilities maintenance and management.
The rest of the activities needed will be developed by participants, that is LFSC members, the catalyst organization or local players.

1.- Administrative

The administrative service can be divided in the following way:

  1. Administrative services related with the project itself.
  2. Administrative services targeting Local Free Software Communities.
  3. All of the above.
1.1.- Administrative services related with the project itself
  • Board support: as you can read in the Organization section, the project will be managed by a Board, elected from the Assembly. This Board will need administrative support.
  • Contact/agenda management for project representatives.
  • Accommodation management for activities organized within the project.
1.2.- Administrative services targeting Local Free Software Communities.
 
LFSC legalization: help LFSC that want to become part of the project in the near future with the basic administrative work in order for them to become a legal entity.

1.3.- Administrative services for both, the project and every LFSC participant

  • Regular post management: notifications, legal papers and material shipment, this is, regular post service is one of those difficult area to manage when you are a distributed organization where board members chance quiet often.
  • Membership management: the management of current and new members is a tedious task that every organization must put resources on. Having an administrative service can help them to become more efficient, specially to those where a each member has to make a yearly quota.
2.- Legal

The basic legal services needed are:

  • Advice about basic legal aspects related with statutes and everyday decisions and operations for any LFSC and the project itself.
  • Basic legal advice about licensing.
  • Legalization of LFSC.
  • Institutional agreements.
  • Legal advice related with funding.
3.- Financial and accounting
This service should be given to the project itself and for every project member:
  • Accounting support.
  • Budget and economic reports. Costs control.
  • Advice in financial decision and taxes.
4.- Marketing and communication
  • LFSC and Project activities promotion in mainstream and social media.
  • Project press releases and announcements.
  • Local marketing actions support.
5.- Business development

Since the project will need to look for funds in order to grow, business development activities become a key part. The project will provide a service in this area that support participants the following areas:

  • Relation with local agents/players.
  • Sponsorship management support.

In another article I will talk about the resources needed to lauch the project and make it sustainable.

6.- Facilities maintenance and management
 
The facilities assigned to the project will be when the activities take place. The project will provide the following services:
  • Facilities management.
  • Security.
  • Material manage, storage and control.
  • Activities support.
  • Connectivity.
and others needed to organize and support the activities defined by participants.