Ohus (Maori for communal working groups) constitute the basis for our continual engagement. They serve to anchor the organization to central themes and bring together experts from four stakeholder groups - the private sector, civil society, academia and politics. Aside from these stipulations the Ohus exercise free choice over the organization of their work and selection of topics. Similar to the Initiatives, the Ohus have the ability to create an advisory board for content related tasks or to elect a spokesperson that externally represents the group (e.g. Ohu GIG).
Each Ohu has a coordinator who organizes the work of the experts, acts a person of contact for the steering committee and is responsible for the development of the group as well as its external communication. He or she should moderate the expert discussions, spur content-relevant debate and steer the groups practical project work. He or she is appointed by the steering committee, from which they may also be dismissed.
New Ohus will be established only when a previously existing Ohu is suspended (Omnibus Principle). The work of any Ohu will be evaluated by the Steering Committee (in coordination with those involved) within two years at the latest, to discuss possible suspension, thematic restructuring or consolidation with other Ohus.
It is not only decisive if the Ohu has succeeded in its work and aims, but it is also necessary that currently existing Ohus cover the entire field of internet-political topics at hand. At the end of every year, each Ohu proposes a plan for the upcoming year, in which as many projects as possible are anchored in the preliminary budgets. This plan is made public in order to inform all parties of the proposed assignments. On this basis, the Steering Committee forms a tentative budgetplan, which by no means acts as an authorization for the go-ahead of the aforementioned projects; The Steering Committee comes to a decision on the concrete projects. In this budgetplan a portion of funds is appropriated to projects that are not yet fully developed in order to allow the possibility of more spontaneous actions.
The Ohus act as incubators and should work in a result-oriented fashion. The Steering Committee has defined the following areas in which every Ohu (and therefore the Coordinators as those responsible) should produce results:
Increased Membership and Community Management
Includes: Adequate representation of all stakeholder groups, acquisition of new members, well aimed articulation of experts (specifically in the field of politics and administration), creation of a community of experts and promotion of networking.
The aim is to have between 20 and 40 active Ohu participants as well as to cover the wide range of expertise and diversity amongst our stakeholders. The coordinator should look after the creation of the sub-working group, ensuring the involvement of all members in the aforementioned projects. As the link between members of the Ohu and the Steering Committee, the coordinator is responsible for informing both sides of current developments and decisions. Each Ohu has an Email-mailing-list administered by the coordinator.
Strategy and Definition of Aims
At the beginning of every year each Ohu puts forward a strategy that together with the collectively-developed Mission Statement of the Ohu lays out a project roadmap, in which a number of milestones are presented. This strategy should also include a rough budget estimate for the financing requirements of the Ohu. The Mission Statement serves as a form of positioning of the Ohu, delineating its sphere of activity and defining challenges and opportunities, it should therefore be regularly followed. It acts as a guideline for the Ohu and together with a public version of the strategy, for external communication.
The strategy should put forward measurable goals, responsibilities, cost assessment and intended schedules. The coordinator decisively leads this process and prepares an internal strategy document as well as a version for publication.
Execution of Projects and Events
The Ohus should produce, as always up to this point, projects, for which further resources can be requested from Co:llaboratory and other sponsors.
Formulation of Results and External Impact
It is the aim to produce concrete results in the form of various and diverse publications, multimedial processing of findings, realization of events and activities such as the communication of expert viewpoints. The Ohus are not simply forums for discussion and should therefore work towards the presentation of realizable and effective outcomes. All activities of the Ohus should be communicated transparently and be accompanied by, among other things, regular blog posts.
The Coordinator shall act as the chief editor and allocate tasks related to text production, i.e. the the production of concrete publications. He/She shall also be responsible for external communication, the writing of blogposts (or allocation of this task), informing those in Co:Lab responsible for social media of certain content and/or prompting discussions in the applicable online channels themselves. The giving of interviews or participation as a guest contributor can also be permitted following consultation with the Steering Committee.
Financial Support of the Ohus through Co:lab
Ohus do not have their own budget seeing that the construction of such a design would prove difficult for the financial transparency promoted by Co:llaboratory. They rather receive regular financial support in two forms:
- Each Ohu receives 500€ per month for the coordinator. These funds are appropriated by the Steering Committee, normally in coordination with the Ohus. The coordinators are the link between the experts and the Steering Committee/Co:Lab management and support the experts with continual duties (yearly plans, organization of meetings, organization of Ohu Jour Fixe, assurance of reports for the newsletter etc.) and with the development of and application for projects (acquisition of spokespeople, suggestions for applications, communication with the Steering Committee).
- Following 2013, it is intended (pending resolution of the Steering Committee) that the Ohus can utilize funds, for the purposes of the Ohu, for the renting of rooms, material and travel costs without a formal application, calculated: max. x Euro/quarter (yearly amended depending on financial circumstances!). Prior consultation with management is required in order for the financial planning to accommodate expenditures. An application for additional funding can be moved forward for expenditures that go beyond the foreseen budget or provisions, honorariums etc., in the scope of the project.