As I reflect on the past year for the National Capital FreeNet, I am struck that, in many ways, it was a year of adjustment and opportunity. The organization, fuelled by both its successes and challenges, enters 2007 in a much more focused and stronger position that than one year ago.
2006 was a year for planning and reflection. In June, the National Capital FreeNet wanted to review our course and consider ways to advance and if necessary effect change, while sticking to the basics that have given us success. The Board and several invited guests used a one-day strategic planning workshop to develop these ideas. The objective of the day was to define the strategic direction of the NCF and to create action items. The significant take-away, was a much more focused plan moving forward which required a minor course adjustment.
It was understood that we must continue and strengthen our core business, but beyond this “steady-as-she-goes” approach, there was clear recognition that opportunity lay with an increased focus on community organizations. We plan to set ourselves out as a community enabler, providing and facilitating the use of web services and those community-building and collaboration tools that are needed for individuals, communities of interest, and organizations. In so doing, we chart a course that preserves our relevance in the community and fosters stability and growth in our membership.
We are well poised to fulfill this role. With our current suite of rock-solid online tools, including a robust email system with one of the best spam management systems on the planet, we now set out to specifically answer the needs of service organizations in Ottawa. We’ve long talked about “members helping members”, but this expands that notion to a role where FreeNet will help organizations, that help our community. Our connectivity options, which include our tried and reliable dial-up system, and now include an affordable high-speed service, position us to support these organizations on most levels.
It’s been an exciting year. Not only have we renewed our focus, but also as John Selwyn reports in his President’s message, we have strengthened and improved our core services. Our dial-up system is unparalleled and thousands of people rely on it as a stable and reliable way of connecting, I have no doubt that we’ll pass the 1,000 high-speed user mark in the first half of 2007, further evidence that we are doing the right things.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our NCF staff and volunteers. Led by John, this group of dedicated individuals make the National Capital FreeNet an organization to be proud of, one that continues to demonstrate its importance to the social fabric of Ottawa.