Board Meeting Minutes, September 2022

A meeting of the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) Board was held via video call on Wednesday 7th September 2022  from 18:30 - 19:55

Board members who dialled in: Vanessa Barnett (VEB) (Chair), Helen Turvey (HT) (Vice Chair), Tim Hubbard (TH), Jarmo Eskelinen (JE)

Observers: Renata Avila (RA) (CEO), Cassandra Woolford (CW) (DOF)

Apologies: Johnny West (JW),  Ira Bolychevsky (IB),

Welcome & review of minutes & actions [Chair]

The minutes from the February and June 2022 board meetings were approved.

CEO Update [RA]

A summer update was circulated prior to the meeting, no feedback was received however RA plans to provide more regular updates and will communicate regularly what topics require feedback or decisions.

The Team is highly motivated. The working environment is pleasant and very collaborative with considerable excitement and commitment from team members. 

During the Summer RA attended a series of events, mainly in Europe.  She began exploring different communities with the objective to understand their needs and how we can serve them better. A series of events took place in Rio de Janeiro. The most active community outside of Europe is in Brazil. The main leaders from OKF brazil were in attendance. 

With the present political situation in Brazil, OKF Brazil is neutral and staying engaged with the public sector. 

The network is more active than ever. There is a directory being compiled called the Network Atlas, due to be launched at the end of October 2022 with initially a thousand members. 

This project is participatory with the chapters and also the broader network. There is a space for coordinating projects and sharing knowledge and already proposals for joint projects are being actively discussed. Expansion for new members should kick off in October 2022.

This year, Open Data Day 2022 was handled differently by OKF than in past years.  It is becoming more clear the link between environmental issues and the open data communities and ways that we can be a bridge of expertise.  There was a specific focus on the oceans and organisations from Argentina, Indonesia, Tanzania and India took part.

During the summer following the F2F in Barcelona huge progress was made internally to break the internal silos. The focus was for the whole team to understand what we are doing right now, and which projects and tools are active. A series of training sessions took place to ensure the whole team has an understanding of other areas of the organisation. 

An Ideathon was opened for the team to pitch their ideas for which projects they would like to work on in the next 12 months. The proposed action is to allocate funding for some ideas and to apply for funding for other ideas.

Recruitment is underway for Communications and Business Development.

A UNESCO project is closing. This project was to produce a report on the Digital skills that civil servants should have in the next century. The report will be shared by the end of September. The board expressed an interest in reading the report Action: RA to share the report. 

The next steps will be developing the curricula and how they will be implemented. 

The revamp of communications is delayed by one month. Communications Lead should be in place by the start of October 2022. For more distributed representation,  Internal training will take place over the next year for team members to be able to confidently speak on behalf of the organisation at different events. 

Moving forward with the new strategy, with a clear narrative, OKF is ready to revamp the Grant seeking strategy and approach donors with project proposals. Two proposals have been submitted and already talks are underway with other funders.

Frictionless Data released a new version of their Livemark framework and the CKAN - Frictionless bridge is being developed. Next month will see a new strategy for Frictionless in four specific areas, the focus being communities with great data needs.

RA and CW are working on a contingency plan to manage the energy crisis, inflation rates and volatile exchange rates. 


Currently, no collaboration is taking place between OKF and Datopian. 

Datopian has been advised that no further work will take place on the last active contract. 

The board agreed that OKF should be involved with the governance of CKAN.

We need the CKAN community to work better with an informed governance structure to create innovation, involvement and collaboration.

Finance Update [CW]

High-level finance reporting shows continued financial stability, within budget expectations. 

A probability is that OKF will suffer a loss during 2022, however, with overdue investment taking place within the infrastructure and specific target areas, it’s a loss that can be justified and there are the finances to support the investment. 

Risk Register [CW]

Two news risks added connected to the Ukraine war. The increase in inflation is impacting our financials, as well as impacting our Finance Diversity. We don’t expect an impact on our incoming work.  As the risk is external and out of our control, there is little we can do apart from keeping informed and aware of any changes. This will be monitored with the other risks that are presently on the radar. 


A priority is to add more members to the board. A need for distributed thought and input on the board is paramount and the board expressed the desire to move forward with this process.

Action: Renata to share a list for current Board members to add suggestions to. 

A mention of Welcome Trust who are working on a climate change and health project. RA is planning to prepare a set of ideas, once these have been reviewed by communities and donors they will be updated and then funders can be approached to have initial conversations about what products we can offer. 

We are the people that manage the Open Data Licenses. They have not been looked at for a long time. We should start a project, possibly a collaboration with the society for computers and law for example. We need to review and nurture these things.

Agreement of collaboration with CRNS in France, we are back into an active role in the Global Network of Internet and Society Centres (NoC). The membership has been passive, RA reactivated the membership which creates access to projects and partnerships. Dedicated person to look at licenses. VB offered help, she has a passion specifically for these licenses.