“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.”
– Stephen Hawking
The OWF initiative to Develop Onboarding Information Packages focuses on creating integrated information packages for water resources organizations such as boards, commissions, and other governance bodies. We recognize that many organizations are guided by groups of people that may be volunteers or appointments with limited background on complex water issues for which they provide input. New appointees often struggle to understand the organization and its business, and they have limited understanding of context on issues and impacts of decisions. This OWF initiative seeks to leverage technical resources and access to data and information in order to create integrated information packages that help groups become educated more quickly, and serve as a resource that can be revisited as needed. Below are examples of how the OWF is developing onboarding information packages.
Develop Technologies for Data and Information Packages
Projects that develop onboarding information packages for volunteer boards will not have large budgets. Most organizations will not even attempt such an effort for various reasons and may rely upon notebooks of information. The OWF recognizes that in order to develop information packages at a low cost, we must leverage existing data, information, and tools; use low cost labor (such as interns); re-use templates; and implement solutions that can be updated over time to include new information, without becoming a maintenance burden. The OWF is developing technologies and approach that include:
- Utilizing publicly available data and information sources
- Leveraging existing third-party educational materials
- Leveraging an organization’s internal documents
- Leveraging free open source software
- Developing new software tools and web applications to integrate these resources
Our intent is not only to package data and information resources, but to provide maintainable technologies and approaches that allow the resources to be kept up to date with minimal resources. We strive to deliver information packages that can be viewed stand-alone or on the web using available web browser technologies.
Create Information Packages for Organizations
The concept for onboarding data packages originated from the personal experience of OWF founders, who themselves serve on volunteer boards and other organizations. We recognize the value in onboarding new members and providing educational resources as a reference. We also hear repeatedly how water organizations struggle with a retiring workforce, difficulties onboarding new staff and leadership, term limits for elected officials and appointments, and the burden of educating the public in general about complex water issues. The OWF believes that by efficiently educating persons in leadership positions such as boards and elected officials that we can help leadership become more effective. We are seeking opportunities to implement onboarding packages for the following types of organizations:
- Water boards
- City councils and other local government
- Ditch and reservoir companies
- Industrial advisory boards and trade organizations
- Nonprofit boards
Contact the OWF if you would like to discuss creating integrated informational onboarding packages for your water organization.
Create Data Repositories that Span Jurisdictions
Although this initiative focuses on information for specific organizations, OWF has seen a growing need to create online data sets and repositories that span the jurisdictional boundaries of individual organizations, for example for entire river basins. Consequently, the OWF is evaluating how best to provide aggregated and integrated data sets that currently are not available from one source. These resources can then be used by individual organizations to understand the context of local issues within a region. Links to online resources will be added as OWF makes progress in this area.