Talk:GEO AQ CoP Governance

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Thoughts about GEO AQ CoP Governance -- Rhusar (talk) 09:30, 21 November 2012 (MST)

To date the GEO AQ CoP has been a flag under which a variety of efforts have taken place. However there has not been a clear sense of who the Community is and how the Community decides what to do (or at least what activities should take place under the Community banner). I think that this lack of a structure and sense of mission needs to be changed if the CoP is going to flourish.

The purpose of this post is to stimulate a discussion about what sort of governance structure is needed for the CoP to flourish and to propose a path forward. The hope is that through an on-line exchange of ideas we can develop a consensus approach for CoP governance.

A big challenge for governance of this community effort is that any concrete action to implement GEOSS concepts requires resources (time, money). Because we don't have a shared funding pool, ultimately, she who has the resources will decide what gets accomplished. Therefore, our governance structure should embrace this reality and focus on encouraging communication and cooperation, rather than decision making. Borrowing from the GEOSS mantra (What few things ...), the question I think that we need to ask is, "What is the least amount of structure needed to enable the community to flourish?"

Another challenge is that the success of the CoP and GEOSS in general is dependent on many people contributing to the effort. Any governance structure should foster a sense of involvement and common responsibility, as opposed to creating a sense that the CoP's activities are some other individual's responsibility and prerogative.

I propose that we need at least the following governance elements: 1) a broad mission statement, 2) a "steering forum" and 3) a secretariat. In addition, I suggest we consider designating co-chairs. These issues are described further below.