Defining the vision and mission of LIRNEasia

Posted on November 14, 2004  /  6 Comments

Round 1 (November 12-23)
Comments requested

An organization that is coherent and focused must have a common purpose and its members must know what that purpose is. Even better, those members must have ownership of that purpose, having participated in defining it. This is the case in organizations that are more than the sum of their parts.

LIRNEasia is an affiliate of LIRNE.NET, an organization that was created by Bill Melody, Rohan Samarajiva and Knud-Erik Skouby (with the help of several others) in 2000. It is through IDRC’s interactions with LIRNE.NET and its affiliates that the conditions for the creation of LIRNEasia arose. To a certain extent the transmission of the value and culture of LIRNE.NET into LIRNEasia cannot be avoided. But there must be a participatory process whereby LIRNEasia members shape the vision and mission of the organization. The colloquium of the 12th of November 2004 was the beginning of that process. It wasn’t intended to be the beginning, but that was the outcome of our discussions. This is the next step. Given our ambitions of becoming truly regional, we cannot privilege the face-to-face interactions of the colloquium that much over the virtual interactions of the web. We hope to wrap this up before yearend, if we can get the input of the Board of Directors organized by that time.

First let us agree on working definitions of “vision” and “mission” [open to revision, if supported by good arguments]. I am purposely keeping away from the standard management definitions. These working definitions are based on experience and hopefully in line with common sense. In my view, mission is more important than vision for an organization of our type. I am open to working only with a mission statement, if that’s the majority view.

    Vision: a succinct statement of how we see ourselves in, say, five years. It is an abstract statement of an ideal. It should not be possible to measure progress toward the vision quantitatively.

    Mission: a statement of our principal purpose(s), values, and to some extent the methods we plan to use to achieve our purpose. It should tell us what we are about and what we are not about. It should help us to decide on priorities. It should accurately communicate to our stakeholders who we are and what we are about. The mission statement can be operationalized into measurable goals.

The provisional mission statement that was articulated on the 1st of September when we started work at the LIRNEasia office was:

To improve the lives the people of Asia by making it easier to use the information and communication technologies they need; by changing the laws, policies and regulations to enable those uses; by building Asia-based human capacity through research, training, consulting and advocacy.

My vision for LIRNEasia:

A truly regional organization that serves as a catalyst for reform in Asian network economies. Its services are in demand by governments, private-sector actors and civil-society because of its expertise, commitment, and fairness. It is financially stable and able to reward the work of its members appropriately.

Please give us your comments, proposals, alternative formulations, amendments, or whatever. Given the nature of the process, we will give weight to the views of those having a stake in LIRNEasia, so it will be necessary to login and give your comments under your names, rather than as guests. Divakar will collate and tabulate the responses and post them on the web. Then we will go into a second round where people will be asked to respond to the collective views expressed in the first round. Let’s think of the 23rd of November as the end of the first round.

(as Word/OpenOffice Document)


  1. I am not sure LIRNEasia works on designing either ICT technologies or services to make them easier to use for the masses. I don’t see “ease of use” as LIRNEasia’s core mission. I think we may be more focussed on making appropriate ICT technologies & services more accessible to the masses; by which I mean we encourage connectivity or services to be deployed in areas that were previously unserved.

  2. Thanks. Interesting and useful point. I think I purposely used the broader term to signal that we were broader than telecom; access is such a telecom term. Even in terms of telecom, access is just one dimension of sector performance, the others being price, quality, and choice. We have to also think of our audience who are not necessarily telecom insiders. But, I am not saying no; let’s keep the discussion going.

  3. No LIRNEasia can not be another lose consevative organization. Current mission statement does not reflect the dynamism already exist.
    Its mission should include ICT arena relateed creative and out -of the- box : a) thinking b)policy and regulatory reform formulation and c) institutional building primarily in Asian setting which with other elementts of the policy framework fall in line will lead to the upliftment of the living conditions of people, particularly under privileged.

    Luxman Siriwardena

  4. Well, Dilbert ( provides a list of mostly used words and terms in the vision and Mission statements, so that anyone who needs one, can design his/her own immediately!

    I have thought of the following mission statement (Without any help from Dilbert!) It is the same thing Rohan says, but in different words! It addresses some of the Divakar’s concerns. Over to you!

    “To improve the living conditions of the Asian population, both economically and socially, by advocating the pragmatic use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), actively participating in bringing in changes to the current legal, policy and regulation frameworks to enable those uses; involving in the research and development activities towards that end and building Asia-based human capacity through training, consulting and advocacy.”

  5. The following may be pertinent to the discussion:

    LIRNEasia was a registered as a non-profit company limited by guarantee under s. 21 of the Sri Lanka Companies Act, No. 17 of 1982 on 29th October 2004. Its primary objects, as set out in the Memorandum of Association, are:
    (i) To support economic and other reforms in networked economies that would enable people in Asia to better use information and communication technologies (ICTs) and complementary infrastructures, through dialogue, policy and regulatory advice, research, development, consultancy, training and other activities.

    (ii) To support knowledge networks and infrastructures that are enabled by ICT and related infrastructures and /or are supportive of such infrastructures.

    (iii) To initiate, establish and implement local, regional and international programs and projects that enhance the capacities of government, private sector and civil society to design and implement effective reforms in ICT and related infrastructures.

    (iv) To undertake to provide advisory, consulting and training services in the areas of ICT and related infrastructures.

    (v) To create an identity for an Asian ICT innovation, regulation and policy community and provide for worldwide interaction and co-operation with other similar communities.

    (vi) To establish an ICT policy and regulatory network in the Asian region.

    (vii) To liaise with external agencies and act as a medium to obtain and receive resources, facilities and funds for the development and enhancement of knowledge, education and research with respect to ICT and related infrastructures.

    (viii) To organize and promote seminars, workshops, conferences and exhibitions for the purpose of training and dissemination of knowledge.

    (ix) To engage in multiple forms of education and knowledge dissemination to improve governance of ICTs and related infrastructures, to encourage innovation by suppliers and users, and to encourage the widest use of ICTs by the greatest number of people.

    (x) To provide bursaries, scholarships, grants, financial assistance and other facilities to students, teachers and lecturers for academic and research studies with respect to ICTs and related infrastructures.

    (xi) To manage and/or operate and/or provide management services to not-for-profit organizations with similar objectives to that of LIRNEasia.

  6. I agree with LS that the dynamism contained in the organization should be reflected, but perhaps that is more relevant to the vision than the mission.

    Specifically, my comments are:

    ‘To improve the lives the people of Asia by making it easier to use the information and communication technologies they need’ :
    I think that making it easier to ‘access’ rather than ‘use’ ICTs is more accurate, but if it has too much of a telecom-only bias, then how about ‘make use of’ instead – this would cover access and use.

    ‘by changing the laws, policies and regulations to enable those uses’:
    Will we actively change laws, policies and regulations? It’s more accurate to say that we will catalyze the change of laws, policies, etc.