Wikimedia Foundation

Reinventing your business, Wikipedia-style

March 22, 2011: 12:12 PM ET

The Wikimedia Foundation turned the conventional approach to setting strategy on its head by opening its process completely to its community of volunteers.

By Chris Grams, contributor

(ManagementInnovationeXchange) -- The term "strategic planning" conjures up images of suits in conference rooms diagramming the path to world domination on whiteboards. All too often, strategic planning is an activity reserved for the organizational elite -- executives aided by consultants. The top dogs think up all the big ideas, and the "troops" execute the plan.

Not so for one organization.

Last year, the Wikimedia Foundation, a 50-person nonprofit supporting Wikipedia and related projects, turned the conventional approach to setting strategy on its head. Against a backdrop of slowing Wikipedia contributions and a declining number of active editors, the foundation turned where it has always turned for answers: to its worldwide community of volunteer "Wikimedians."

A few weeks ago, the Wikimedia Foundation unveiled the final version of its new strategic plan. While the vision described within it is compelling, the unique process used to craft that vision contains powerful lessons for leaders and organizations of all types. More

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