Question: should we recommend investing in accelerating chapter development
Yep, I agree. I am not sure that all the chapters actually aspire to develop though.
Which to me raises the question of what is the core purpose of a chapter: for example, what distinguishes a chapter from a WikiPod?
Well, I would say that what distinguishes a chapter is an exclusive geographical remit. There can only be one Wikimedia France, for example, and other Wikimedia-oriented groups in France should be looking toward the Wikimedia France chapter.
The "WikiPod" concept is a useful one, though I can't say I'm a big fan of the too-cool-for-school name :)
Applying it to groups at, say a university level (leaving out the idea of applying this concept to a national-scale entity, which I somewhat disagree with), a team like this would be one of any number of potential Wikimedia-oriented university groups throughout a particular chapter's region. Also of course, it would not have to be a legal entity, but there is no reason why some of these university level groups (eg, a Wikimedia Colunbia University) might not evolve into legal entities with time.
I would suggest that this recommendation could be augmented with some specifics of ways for the WMF to accelerate chapter development, particularly with Sue's idea of seed funding for chapter staff, and perhaps also some other ideas in this thread: