[bestbits] Thanks! (and short observations on the IGF Retreat)

Wisdom Donkor wisdom.dk at gmail.com
Fri Jul 29 03:59:36 EDT 2016

I agree with your criticisms  but will like to no what you will have done
differently that MAG is not doing.

On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, Stuart Hamilton <Stuart.Hamilton at ifla.org>
> Dear Colleagues
> I just wanted to send a short note thanking you for supporting my
participation in the recent IGF retreat, and alerting you to some next
steps. In the next day or so a compilation (organized by topic) of the
ideas and suggestions that emerged from the retreat will be made available
in a format that permits paragraph by paragraph commenting.  This public
consultation will be open for two months until 26 September, 2016. It’s now
time for everyone not at the retreat to get involved and make comments –
I’m sure it will be posted to these lists as soon as it is up on the IGF
> While I’m here, I’d also like to offer a couple of limited observations
of the retreat. Fundamentally, I felt that for those of us there it was a
very open wide-ranging discussion that the outcome documents summarise very
well. I don’t have much to add in that regard. The one area that was
extremely interesting to me though was the idea of the MAG as this gigantic
conference organising committee, and what a waste of expertise that seems
to be. Speaking from the perspective of a staff member at an international
organisation that arranges an annual conference for 3000-4000 people,
moving from different region to region each year, there seemed to be a
number of areas where a more focused approach to conference planning could
produce a better outcome. At the MAG meeting before the retreat I was
struck by the amount of MAG members I spoke with who were exhausted and
exasperated at having to review >200 workshop proposals. Maybe I was being
naïve, but going into the retreat I had assumed some degree of organisation
on the MAG that would allow for workshop assessment by area of expertise
i.e. proposals would be divided up across groups of individuals, sharing
the workload, and playing to each individual’s strength in terms of subject
knowledge. Not the case apparently, and in my opinion clearly an area that
should be addressed.
> I suddenly realised that my own organisation’s annual conference, which
features hundreds of sessions and meetings over five days, and has a core
conference organising committee of around 10 people, was massively more
efficient than that of the IGF. We never really got into discussion about
the MAG’s effectiveness in the retreat - we did talk about how to better
deal with the MAG’s nomination process, but we didn’t go deep into MAG
re-organisation. However, it doesn’t seem to me that changing working
practices would go anywhere near the MAG mandate, and shouldn’t be
controversial. At the same time as addressing the workshop review process,
there could also be better organisation into sub-groups/working groups on
engagement and outreach, information dissemination etc. In side-discussions
at the retreat I did discover that there have been/perhaps still are
working groups on engagement, but I was not able to ascertain if this is
something that get set up each time a new MAG is formed, or if there really
is a structure in place to tackle different topics, and utilise
individuals’ expertise. I’m still left with this as a bit of a grey area
I’d like to understand more.
> Anyway, just some observations as I said. I encourage you all to take a
look at the document that will shortly go online, and participate in the
public consultation.
> Cheers,
> Stuart
> Dr. Stuart Hamilton
> Deputy Secretary General
> International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
> P.O. Box 95312
> 2509 CH The Hague
> Netherlands
> 00 31 70 314 0884
> Twitter: @ifladpa

E-government and Open Government Data Platforms Specialist
National Information Technology Agency (NITA)/
Ghana Open Data Initiative Project.
ICANN Fellow / Member, UN IGF MAG Member, ISOC Member,
Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) Member, Diplo Foundation Member,
OGP Open Data WG Member, GODAN Memember, ITAG Member
Email: wisdom_dk at hotmail.com
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wisdom.dk at gmail.com
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