OpenMRS Leadership Growth and Spreading the Word

In this letter originally posted on OpenMRS Talk, our project leader Paul Biondich describes new developments in OpenMRS community organization and outreach efforts.

Dear OpenMRS Community,

If you hadn’t already noticed, our community is in a period of unparalleled growth and evolution.  I wanted to draw your attention to a couple specific activities, and ask for your input and feedback.

Evolving our leadership and governance models

At the end of 2014, we held our first annual “OpenMRS Camp” leadership retreat, which was meant to focus us on evolving our community growth strategy. In this meeting, we realized that the model of leadership & governance that served us very well in our first decade, was not going to be ideal as we grew in our second decade. As any organization grows, it needs to gradually adapt itself into one that embraces and empowers the inherent leadership that already exists within that organization. The same is true for OpenMRS.

While our mission, values, and vision repeatedly emphasize our community empowerment focus, we want to put extra effort into breaking down the distinctions between those who helped start and “birth” OpenMRS, and those who are may be newer to the community. The “founding” leaders of OpenMRS want to provide everyone who wants it, a chance to feel the same sense of ownership and opportunity within OpenMRS that we do. We deeply appreciate and value your partnerships with us and contributions to the community.

As a result, we have put a lot of thought into how we can best communicate how OpenMRS “works” as a community. We have spent some time describing the various roles within our community process, and we are evolving our community process toward one that encourages everyone to contribute and influence what we do and how we do it. If you weren’t specifically paying attention, you might not have noticed some of these changes, but they’re occurring all around the OpenMRS community.

You can see our some of our first attempts at documenting this new process on these pages:

We’ve heard your feedback, and we’re excited about the opportunities that this new approach will bring to all of us! We’re ready to listen to your feedback, would love to hear more from you on how we can be more effective in empowering all of us to work alongside each other to make the community more successful.

Communicating the OpenMRS mission to a worldwide audience

We know that OpenMRS is a lot of things to a lot of people. When people from various walks of life come together in support of a common goal, they often get very different things out of their participation. These diverse benefits and opportunities are a real strength of our community. However, many people (including me!) often find it difficult to describe in a simple way the community we’ve all built together.

Similarly to our community roles, our mission, values, and vision also provide a lot of important clues here. But we’ve not had a simple statement that explains what OpenMRS is. Over the past few months, we worked with many of you to develop this first vision of what’s often called a “core narrative”. First, it’s written to simply describe what OpenMRS is in an inspiring way. It’s also meant to serve as an invitation for people to join and participate in our community.

We hope you find it useful when talking about our community with your friends and colleagues, and we deeply appreciate hearing your feedback on it for future improvements!

A text version is available on the OpenMRS Wiki.

We Are OpenMRS narrative text

Thanks so much to all of you in the OpenMRS community for your incredible participation, contributions, and leadership. Together, we can have an lasting impact on the health of the underserved!


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