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Sustainability and Resourcing

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OWEA Members Involved in this Focus Area

  • Stephanie Troeth (lead)
  • John Allsopp
  • Glenda Sims
  • Aarron Walter
  • Mark DuBois
  • Lars Gunther
  • Doug Schepers

Session Outcomes

  • a definition of organizational sustainability
  • a list of areas requiring resourcing
  • list of strengths members bring to the table
  • a plan for sustainability

This session is highly dependent on Type of Organisation and Membership Criteria.

Definition of organizational sustainability

Rather than trying to wordsmith, we listed keywords that fit our vision/mission:

  • self-renewing
  • healthy and productive
  • self-funded
  • adaptable
  • autonomous
  • immortal / indefinite
  • ongoing leadership development

We require the ability to continually fund material resources. For human resources, we require succession planning, and a philosophy of values or organizational culture.

Material resources

We brainstormed a list of likely areas we would have to address.

  • Infrastructure
    • web services - internal/external web presence
    • internal communications
      • teleconferencing solution: Adobe Connect? Funded VoIP calls?
      • basecamp/wiki
      • offices & general business expenses
  • Team F2F meetings
    • Travel & accommodation
  • Producing events
  • Events we attend
    • Travel & accommodation
  • Marketing

Human Resources / People

This has strong relationship to Membership. Instead of focusing on specific roles, we addressed leadership culture and organizational structure. A good sustainability strategy relies on having sound thinking around creating a culture that enables the organization to continue long after its founding members have moved on.

The model we came up with very much resembles the tree, where the leadership exists in order to help OWEA projects prosper. In the Starfish vs the Spider, we want OWEA to be a starfish organization: the parts that make up OWEA should be able to function without direct command.

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Note: The definition of "champion" here is of the more chivalrous meaning: someone who relentlessly promotes a new idea, are able to set events in action or inspire a movement, but also know when to step back to let the team shine.


  • What skillsets currently exist in OWEA based on existing members?

    We didn't get time to answer this question in detail. This is now marked as a to-do item.

  • Will OWEA eventually need people working full time to help us achieve our goals?

    This is certainly anticipated. The purpose of the detailed 5 year plan is to be able to identify what kinds of human resources we require. We determined that organizational/admin roles may be required as full-time roles, where as vision-leadership roles may not be full-time.


  • We want OWEA to be self-funding with a business model that's continually self-generating, and not a charity model.
  • Our bookkeeping will be transparent.

We brainstormed possible sources of revenue:

  • accreditation (long term / hard issue)
  • Accept sponsorships (would vendor neutrality be an issue if we operate within W3F?)
  • Grant funding / Government funding (establish in Europe & USA)
  • Book revenue / licensing of IP (free for non-profit, licensing for for-profit targets)
    • Print-on-demand course materials
  • Events & conferences
    • WE Rock Tours
  • Consultancy on IP-Free content
    • implementation consulting
  • Membership
    • Membership for schools
      • free attendance to events for students
      •  % discount off partner software
      • server space for teachers, etc
    • Individual membership/supporters
    • Teachers
    • Small businesses
    • Students
  • Museum/NPR model
  • AIGA business model: affordable / inclusive


  • How do we fund the efforts of OWEA (outreach, content creation and review, etc.) while staying impartial and independent?

    By having multiple revenue streams that do not rely on key vendors.

  • How should we go about managing OWEA funds?

    This will be determined in the 5-year plan.

  • InterAct is working on a book series and we would like to donate some of the proceeds to OWEA. Can we establish a way for people to donate to our cause?

    This can be achieved if OWEA is a registered organization.

The value of what we do is in our independence & autonomy.


  • Investigate W3C WAI's funding model
  • Outline synergies with OWEA / W3C, and define terms for resourcing & funding
  • Create OWEA branding (details in whitepaper?)
  • Make a list of strengths members bring to the table. See SPOT Matrix for an initial list of strengths.
  • Value grid of revenue options: determine what value we bring to which audiences, therefore which revenue streams are most appropriate
  • Define detailed plan for sustainability: 5 year plan, ongoing costs, growth, revenue streams