Enlivening the Community at Open Knowledge Finland Retreat 2018

A merry gang of 17 people got together on 12-13.10.2018 for our annual Open Knowledge Finland 24h retreat at Kisakeskus near Raasepori, about 90 km from Helsinki. The weekend featured talks, good food including Tapola’s black sausage, booze an evening at the sauna where Mika lost his glasses and a bunch of bonding.

Art of Hosting: Circles for Participatory sensemaking and Open Space

Since some of our members had participated in a Art of Hosting event during the summer that many others were also interested in, we decided to try out some of the methods during our retreat.

We set up our chairs in a circle for participatory sensing and governance about our general experiences, consent-based decision-making for taking everybody into account and Open Space Technology to host open discussions on the topics that people are interested in.

Even though openness has been a core value for Open Knowledge Finland since it’s beginning in 2012, we are still just beginning to learn the self-management methods that might support us support being diverse in opinions, inclusive in accepting the variance and simultaneously be efficient enough in moving forward. It’s not only about using the methods but also about growing together with a shared mindset, which is difficult in our decentralized organization that is based on mostly fleeting meetings with each other.

Discussion topics

OKRs – Objectives and Key Results

What is Open Knowledge Finland? A mapping exercise

We have so many things going on in Open Knowledge Finland that it’s hard for any of us, and especially newcomers, to get a good idea of who we are. We did a quick exercise in mapping some of our communities that can generally be divided into two categories: the Open Knowledge folks and those focusing on Open Collaboration. You can see our result here:


Communications & Marketing

What is Teal?

ResponsiveOrg/Participatory Team Practices

On Saturday we looked into the Open Collaboration practices (they can be seen here: http://okf.fi/opencollab) that we’re exploring in Open Knowledge Finland. We have introduced just a few of them and are looking to try out some new ones. We don’t really have a process for introducing them and they are not actively in use everywhere. One of the new ones we started discussing is organizing in circles and a “Talkootarjotin”, exposing microtasks to volunteers.

Starting a Circle for Website Renewal & Talkootarjotin

We decided to discuss organizing in circles and the Talkootarjotin in a separate session. We started discussing how we might start a circle for the renewal of our website. We decided to look into Sociocracy 3.0 patterns on Defining Agreements (https://patterns.sociocracy30.org/defining-agreements.html) to explore how we might use participatory circles to organize in both static and temporary ways. Here’s what a Website Circle might look like:

We also ended up ideating and creating a new community of Open Knowledge Allies to participate by volunteering to help us with microtasks. You can read about it here: https://fi.okfn.org/open-knowledge-allies-lets-get-sht-done/

General Feelings on the Weekend

We had new people initiated into eating the Finnish delicacy, Tapola’s black sausage:

Jelena got inspired to write poetry that included Mika’s lost glasses:

Ansku & Zizi “found” some footage in which the crew gets latino:

Key takeaways from a newcomer’s perspective

Attended 4 open sessions in total,

Open Knowledge / OKFI in a nutshell

Going back into the basic question of what, why and how of OK/OKFI has taught me about the fundamental principles of OK as a whole and its impact to the community. Learned about the difference between workgroups and projects which I assumed to be of similar in function prior to participating the session. Gained insights about the various domain-specific groups (workgroups) and how each groups are interwoven around the OK sphere.

Open collaboration in OKFI

Learned about how OKFI is selecting, testing and applying different methodologies when collaborating with others in areas such as, project development, brainstorming, workshops and etc. Some open colab practices were even used during the retreat such as, circles and Consent over Consensus


Learned on how to evaluate and set realistic / achievable and actionable goals (objectives) and how or steps to achieve it and measured.


It was amazing to witnessed how the session started from looking into the theoretical side of circles and immediately applying it into practical means, in this case for website revamped circle.

This was my first time to participate in a retreat that has utilized open space sessions and in my opinion it turned out be a success. The culture of openness and respectfulness was also observed throughout the retreat, where everyone was given a chance to speak and to be heard. Overall, the OKFI one day retreat was an invaluable experience for me, lots of learning, amazing people and awesome sauna session.

How to Participate Next?

Join Open Knowledge Allies & let’s get sh*t done!

Want to contribute your time to the purpose of creating a fair and open digital society by means of Open Knowledge and Open Collaboration?

We have a bunch of initiatives, tasks and roles we might need YOUR help with. Join Open Knowledge Allies to help us out and collaborate with us!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/okallies

Join the Open Knowledge Finland Slack for the discussion, you can get an invite here: https://okfi-slack.herokuapp.com/

And join the #OKAllies channel: https://okfi.slack.com/messages/CDEKT7M55/