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Grants:Project/MSIG/Re-imagining UNLOCK – Building a new innovation format for the Wikimedia Movement

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statusNot funded
WMDE_WMAR_WCK_TZA_UGA_WMRS/Re-imagining UNLOCK – Building a new innovation format for the Wikimedia Movement
This project aims to create new pathways that will drive and facilitate innovation in Free Knowledge across the Wikimedia Movement.
targetWikimedia Movement
start date01 June
start year2023
end date29 February
end year2024
budget (local currency)USD 77,095
budget (USD)USD 77,095
grant typeaffiliates (user groups and chapters)
non-profit statusyes
contact(s)• lucia.obst@wikimedia.de [Note: WMDE is not a grantee, but the project lead]• cultura@wikimedia.org.ar (Angie Cervellera); carolina@wikimedia.org.ar (Carolina Padró)• carolwm07@gmail.com (Carol Mwaura)• antonicmtavangu@gmail.com (Antoni Mtavangu)• douglasssebaggala@wikimediauganda.org (Douglas Ssebaggala)• ivana.madzarevic@vikimedija.org (Ivana Madžarević)
organization (if applicable)• * Wikimedia Argentina
  • Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya
  • Wikimedia Community User Group Tanzania
  • Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda
  • Wikimedia Serbia

Applications are not required to be in English. Please complete the application in your preferred language.

Project Goal[edit]

This project aims to create new pathways that will drive and facilitate innovation in Free Knowledge. It is a cross-affiliate project initiated by Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE) in collaboration with Wikimedia Argentina (WMAR), Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya, Wikimedia Community User Group Tanzania,Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda, and Wikimedia Serbia (WMRS).


In order for the Wikimedia Movement to stay relevant, to become more diverse, more resilient, and adaptable to societal changes, Movement stakeholders need to find ways to overcome the limitations of Wikimedia projects. The Movement strategic direction talks about removing technical and social barriers to people joining us from all over the world. But removing barriers will not be enough, projects and people also need to develop new ways of promoting, accessing and contributing to Free Knowledge. These will have to take into account marginalized communities which come from situations that are very different from those community members that have built the projects over the last two decades. Innovations are needed that allow for all types of Wikimedia communities to contribute, while assuring the integrity of and the trust in our content. This requires the strengthening of the movement’s innovative power and capacity, and the co-development of innovative ideas and solutions that will accelerate our Movement to the future.

The project goal[edit]

Our project seeks to build a new innovation format in which innovation and innovators for Free Knowledge can be nurtured and grown: This format should encourage members of the Movement to experiment with and create new ideas on free knowledge. It will be a space where we can think about and build specific tools, technologies and projects.

We also want this to be a space for transformation and learning that goes beyond the creation of new gadgets. We want to create an environment that strengthens the movement's capacity to be creative and inventive. It should equip people with toolsets, methods, but also with the right mindsets that will help us be more agile and resilient to change, but also simply capable of transformation.

We don’t know what this format/space will look like. Throughout this journey of defining the specificities of this, the project will:

  • create a better, joint understanding of what innovation means in the global context of Free Knowledge, what is or is not yet happening regarding innovation within the Wikimedia Movement;
  • identify what the challenges are that hinder innovation activities in certain contexts and develop, prototype and test ideas on how to overcome these challenges – actively involving Movement stakeholders (from the communities of the project parties and beyond where possible);
  • create a space for knowledge exchange and skills sharing on the topic of Innovation in Free Knowledge with the potential for other players to build on the ideas presented and create additional innovation formats in their contexts (Note: we will connect with existing spaces such as Let’s Connect and/or CapX and elaborate on how to leverage on these)
  • bring Movement members together with the potential to partner in new allyships and to learn from the project team’s practices, experiences and failures regardin g cross-affiliate collaboration;
  • formulate a set of recommendations for improving the Movement’s innovation system, capacity and infrastructure – serving the Wikimedia Movement and wider Free Knowledge Ecosystem.

For this project Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE), Wikimedia Argentina (WMAR), Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya, Wikimedia Community User Group Tanzania,Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda, and Wikimedia Serbia (WMRS) are working in close collaboration across the Movement.

The history of the project and its partners[edit]

Over the past years and with the start of the implementation of the Movement Strategy, there have been a few initiatives, programs and projects related to innovation, specifically to recommendation #9 “Innovate in Free Knowledge” of the Movement Strategy (see Stakeholder Map: Innovate in Free Knowledge – Stakeholders and Actors). Among these was the Wikimedia Accelerator UNLOCK – the first acceleration program in the Movement and go-to-place to build, test and prototype new Free Knowledge projects that the Movement has not yet seen. UNLOCK was initiated and implemented by WMDE and has managed to expand the existing Free Knowledge project landscape – with projects that brought us closer to overcoming knowledge inequities. In addition to the supported projects within UNLOCK, the program also paved the way for knowledge exchange with Movement stakeholders around the topic of innovation (e.g. within the EARTH initiative) as well as for new cross-affiliate collaboration formats including a program co-design and execution between WMDE and WMRS and a program shadowing between WMDE and WMAR.

The evaluation of the UNLOCK program has shown that innovation formats such as this one might have more impact if designed for more long-term support – providing more support throughout the innovation stages from prototypes to scale. It also showed a need to sustain projects for longer and even more effectively integrate them into the communities, structures, and policies of the Wikimedia Movement. Additionally, although existing initiatives, programs and projects clearly show the potential for innovation that lies within the Movement, it does not seem to be fully exploited at present, leaving much of its innovation potential untapped. To allow for innovative changes and improvements, rather than mere short-term impulses for innovation, this project aims to explore new pathways for driving and facilitating innovation with a holistic and collaborative approach.

What specific Movement Strategy Initiative does your project focus on and why? Please select one of the initiatives described here

The project directly responds to the Movement Strategy – building upon recommendation 9 and its initiative #42 “Policies for experimentation with projects for knowledge equity”: This project is both an experiment in itself and it seeks to experiment with new pathways, new ideas for an innovation format. In this project set up, the parties involved will test and experiment in a cross-affiliate and cross-regional collaboration with the aim to establish a partnership and allyship from which all involved parties can mutually benefit and empower each other. The project will also prototype and test ideas for an innovation format – an inclusive, safe and collaborative space for innovation and innovators to grow within the Movement.

Further, the project’s outputs and learnings will have an effect on Movement Strategy initiative:

  • 41. Identifying policies that hinder knowledge equity – This project will not only identify policies but also needs and challenges for members of the Movement to innovate in Free Knowledge. It seeks to find out what policies and structures hinder innovation activities in certain contexts and harm knowledge equity across Wikimedia projects.
  • 46. Iterative change processes – Re-imagining existing structures, initiatives, programs and policies is a transformative process. As the Movement Strategy is being implemented, and initiatives, programs and policies around recommendation #9 have come to life, this project builds upon the learnings and experiences from stakeholders who have been involved in the implementation. This project follows an iterative – build-measure-learn-repeat – approach in which knowledge exchange and skills sharing on the topic of Innovation in Free Knowledge will be advanced.

Project Background[edit]

When do you intend to begin this project and when will it be completed?

June 2023 – February 2024

Where will your project activities be happening?

The majority of the project activities will happen online. This allows us to include as many stakeholders from the international Movement as possible in co-creating and building the new innovation format. Over the course of the project we might also consider some activities in the specific communities/regions of the project parties happening in real life.

Are you collaborating with other communities or affiliates on this project? Please provide details of how partners intend to work together to achieve the project goal.

The project team that will co-lead and co-implement the project comprises of: Wikimedia Argentina Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya Wikimedia Community User Group Tanzania Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda Wikimedia Deutschland and Wikimedia Serbia

Throughout the project some activities will involve stakeholders from the international Movement that we have identified in our first version of a Stakeholder Map: Innovate in Free Knowledge – Stakeholders and Actors. The involvement is yet to be defined and is dependent on the activities to take shape later in the year (see project activities below).

What specific challenge will your project be aiming to solve? And what opportunities do you plan to take advantage of to solve the problem?

With this project we intend to make a contribution to our journey of becoming the Movement that we aspire to be by 2030. Whilst a few initiatives, programs and projects exist within the Movement, most of our innovation capacity is not yet being fully acknowledged and exploited:

In 2022, WMDE developed a first analysis and overview on where we are at in terms of innovation in the movement. The findings have shown that some capacities for innovation in Free Knowledge are there – scattered throughout the international movement, in different regions and contexts. However, the analysis also showed that sufficient structures (e.g. programs and initiatives) are still missing to boost these potentials and help new innovations to take shape. In early 2023, WMDE set out to explore the “missing” pieces – the needs and challenges members of the Movement faced when attempting to innovate. The explorative process included a survey as well as 1:1 in-depth interviews (see: Re-imagining UNLOCK – Exploration Report). Some of the initial insights of the qualitative research may be bundled in the following thematic clusters:

  • There is a gap between having innovative ideas and the technical skills needed to realize them.
  • There seems to be a limited culture of embracing failure and experimentation.
  • There is a perception that members of the Movement tend to work in their bubbles and not beyond (tendency towards working in silos).
  • Many things have been done already but there is a lot of room for making things accessible and adaptive to the needs of those underrepresented.
  • There is a need for incentivizing technically skilled people to be part of the Wikimedia movement and/or stay in the Movement.
  • There seems to be a disconnect between those in the Movement and other movements.
  • Financial resources seem to be not accessible for everyone within the Movement.

Only by responding to some of these challenges and thus overcoming the limitations of Wikimedia projects, can we stay relevant in the future, can we become more diverse and more resilient in line with our strategic direction. Driving innovation means that we – as a movement – must take a more systemic approach in order to not only set selective and short-term impulses for innovation, but to create a long-term, sustainable impact that will help us to keep up with societal and technological changes, and growing knowledge complexity. In order to do so we must tap into opportunities already at our fingertips.

Opportunities to take advantage of:

  • existing forces: The co-leaders of this project are no strangers to one another. We have collaborated in the past which has proven to be a successful and fruitful partnership. This cross-affiliate collaboration is a truly diverse setup. We are a group of people coming from different cultures, backgrounds and communities across the global Movement. We will use this to enrich our collaboration with different insights and perspectives.
  • the hands-on learnings from running the UNLOCK Accelerator over the past three years: WMDE has built the first acceleration program in the Movement and go-to-place to build, test and prototype new Free Knowledge projects. Through continuous evaluation, development and feedback this has provided us with an array of learnings and insights that serve as a strong starting point and that can be directly applied to new initiatives.
  • experiences of other initiatives: While WMDE might have created the first acceleration program of its kind, several other programs and initiatives such as EARTH or Código Cultura within the Movement that we care deeply to connect with and learn from.
  • the community that has been built through the UNLOCK Accelerator, EARTH and Código Cultura: Connecting with other actors and affiliates has helped us to establish a network of supporters that spans the Movement and beyond.
  • the potential for new allyships: Throughout the process the project team strives to establish new relations with further stakeholders. It thrives on learning from others and exchanging skills, knowledge and resources to expand our impact, involvement, and contribution to the whole Movement.
  • the knowledge existent in the communities: Our target group are members of the international Wikimedia Movement who deal with, work on and/or talk about "Innovate in Free Knowledge". The project team wishes to co-create the project with them directly as the understanding of any challenges and limitations in innovating in Free Knowledge as well as ideas on how to overcome these already lie within the communities. We must simply create ways to reveal them.
  • those innovations not yet discovered: there may be many people in the movement creating innovations without talking about it as innovations. The project could be a way to surface hidden innovators and shine a light on them, and figure out if their work can be scaled.
  • Movement events throughout the year: The project team will be in close contact to the engaged, open and knowledgeable members of the Movement to gather feedback and expand our ideas as well as their involvement.
  • our strong background in methodological and programmatic work: Throughout the process the project team will prototype and test a handful of ideas for new formats driving innovation in a hands-on process actively involving the local communities to receive live feedback.
  • our strong background in conceptual work: The project team is working towards creating something tangible and usable in the future that the Movement will benefit from directly. Our process will not only consist of research and testing. Instead we will formulate a concrete recommendation for a new innovation format driving innovation that serves the Wikimedia Movement and wider Free Knowledge Ecosystem.
  • our expertise and experience in the design and development of innovation programs: All project partners have been involved in innovation formats in the past and bring in deep knowledge of innovation programs, systems, methods.

Does this project aim to apply one of the examples shared in the call for grants and if so which one?


Project Activities[edit]

What specific activities will be carried out during this project? Please describe the specific activities that will be carried out during this project.

The project comprises two phases: The Ideation & Prototyping phase, and the Synthesization phase. The phases will build on the findings from the exploration process initiated by WMDE and from EARTH's research project. The EARTH’s project team and WMDE – independently – collected insights and knowledge on the topic of Innovation in Free Knowledge, including the needs and challenges of members of the Movement through various formats (e.g. survey, interviews).

Re-imagining UNLOCK – Key activities
Timeline Key activities
June – October 2023 Phase: Ideation & Prototyping

Purpose: Develop ideas and test possible solutions to the challenges in innovating that were previously defined.

Desired outcomes: By the end of the ideation and prototyping phase the project will have a collection of specific, practical ideas on how to solve some of the challenges that came out of the exploration phase. The project will also have built and tested at least two prototypes for improving the Movement’s innovation system, capacity and infrastructure.

How will we get there: To build our wall of ideas the project team will host ideation workshops with a selection of stakeholders designed to open our minds for all possible solution-oriented ideas. From these we will select a few (at least two) that are most feasible and required by the Movement. These will be built as prototypes and tested in specific contexts. The implementation will happen in close collaboration with stakeholders and the core process team. As we believe that this is a non-linear process, the project team will constantly go back to tweaking and adjusting the prototypes before testing once more. This is the time where we try to find answers to some of our open questions in specific, actionable steps and form potential solutions for a re-imagined UNLOCK – a new innovation format.

November 2023 – February 2024 Phase: Synthesization

Purpose: Formulate a set of recommendations for improving the Movement’s innovation system, capacity and infrastructure.

Desired outcomes: By the end of the synthesization phase the project team will have a finalized recommendation in place of what a “Re-imagined UNLOCK” should look like and how it fits into initiatives already existing in the Wikimedia Movement, along with a roadmap for implementation.

How will we get there: All prototypes for improving the Movement’s innovation system, capacity and infrastructure will be thoroughly analyzed. Most of this will be done as desk work among the core process team. The findings and evaluations will be pulled together to build specific scenarios and values added. This is the time where the project team will synthesize their thoughts into a specific solution.

How do you intend to keep communities updated on the progress and outcomes of the project? Please add the names or usernames of these individuals responsible for updating the community

We would like to use existing and new channels to keep interested parties updated. These include:

  • wikimedia-l list, diff blog, MS Forum – Innovate in Free Knowledge
  • Affiliate-specific mailing list, newsletters and social media channels
  • Participation at Wikimedia conferences, e.g. Wikimania, CEE Meeting, WikiIndaba, etc.

The responsible persons for this include:

Who will be responsible for delivering on this project and what are their roles and responsibilities?
Project team setup
Affiliate People involved
Wikimedia Argentina
  • Angie Cervellera
  • Carolina Padró
Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya
  • Carol Mwaura
  • Winnie Kabintie (Support)
Wikimedia Community User Group Tanzania
  • Antoni Mtavangu
Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda
  • Douglas Ssebaggala
  • TBC - Project coordinator (Support)
Wikimedia Deutschland
  • Lucia Obst
  • Sissela Björk
  • Project manager – TBC (Support)
Wikimedia Serbia
  • Ivana Madžarević

Roles and responsibilities[edit]

WMDE is the project lead. Due to the size of this chapter and the resources poured into the initiative, WMDE will dedicate most of the time to the project and take on all overarching administrative and organizational responsibilities as well as coordinate the collaboration.

All partners involved in the collaboration will share the responsibilities for implementation. In order for the tasks to be divided equitably we strive for a modular approach that allows for several ways of involvement in the process, depending on resources available for each partner at any given time.

The core responsibilities to be shared involve:

  • Design: Conceptualize the scope and elements (e.g. events) of the ideation and prototyping activities
  • Implementation: Organize, facilitate and document events and activities
  • Stakeholder management: Establish relationships and communicate with stakeholders
  • Communication: Document and share process through communication channels
  • Evaluation: Assess our impact
  • Synthesization: Develop a concept based on findings

The allocation of tasks will be reviewed and re-assigned regularly throughout the process. Thereby, one partner will always take on the lead and main responsibility for any given task, while at least one second partner will act as the main support. All partners will provide secondary support.

Note: Depending on the activities to be performed throughout the Ideation & Prototyping phase, it is possible that a partner will be responsible for the testing of a specific activity in their local communities.

Additional information[edit]

If your activities include community discussions, what is your plan for ensuring that the conversations are productive? Provide a link to a Friendly Space Policy or UCoC that will be implemented to support these discussions.

We will ask them to abide by the Friendly space policies as well as adhere to the Universal Code of Conduct.

If your activities include the use of paid online tools, please describe what tools these are and how you intend to use them.

We are primarily planning to use Zoom as a paid tool for most of our activities due to its conducive features of break-out sessions and recording options as well as its stable connection. For workshops we also plan to use the online whiteboard tool Conceptboard. The provision of and costs incurred by the tools are covered by WMDE.

Do your activities include the translation of materials, and if so, in what languages will the translation be done? Please include details of those responsible for making the translations.

All program outputs will be shared on Meta which is our go-to-place where we document the process in detail: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Re-imagining_UNLOCK. The project team seeks to provide the core information in at least all languages of the project partners, but will also keep translation open for other languages. The responsibility for accessibility lies with the project partners. Further translations might be dependent on other stakeholders involved.

Are there any other details you would like to share? Consider providing rationale, research or community discussion outputs, and any other similar information, that will give more context on your proposed project.


After your activities are complete, we would like to understand the draft implementation plan for your community. You will be required to prepare a document detailing this plan around a movement strategy initiative. This report can be prepared through Meta-wiki using the Share your results button on this page. The report can be prepared in your language, and is not required to be written in English.

In this report, you will be asked to:

  • Provide a link to the draft implementation plan document or Wikimedia page
  • Describe what activities supported the development of the plan
  • Describe how and where you have communicated your plan to relevant communities.
  • Report on how your funding was spent

Your draft implementation plan document should address the following questions clearly:

  • What movement strategy initiative or goal are you addressing?
  • What activities will you be doing to address that initiative?
  • What do you expect will happen as a result of your activities? How do those outcomes address the movement strategy initiative?
  • How will you measure or evaluate your activities? What tools or methods will you use to evaluate your activities?

To create a draft implementation plan, we recommend the use of a logic model, which will help you and your team think about goals, activities, outcomes, and other factors in an organized way. Please refer the following resources to develop a logic model:

Please confirm below that you will be able to prepare a draft implementation plan document by the end of your grant:

Optionally, you are welcome to include other information you'd like to share around participation and representation in your activities. Please include any additional outcomes you would like to report on below:

  • N/A


How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!

Caption text
Affiliate Personnel (staff and contractors) Operating costs Subtotal in USD
Wikimedia Argentina
  • Program design and implementation (10 working hours/week) USD 6,770
  • Communication and translation USD 2,000
Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya
  • Program design and implementation (10 working hours/week) USD 8,500
  • Data Services USD 4,000
  • Communication, outreach and documentation USD 1500
  • Banking & Transaction fee USD 150
  • Miscellaneous USD 1,315
Wikimedia Community User Group Tanzania Program design and implementation (10 working hours/week) USD 9,000
  • Working space USD 2,400
  • Technical equipments rent (1 Router, 1 Laptop) USD 850
  • Logistics, communication, outreach and translation services USD 2,800
  • Banking and transaction fees USD 100
  • Data services for project representative and for community members online participation USD 2,050
  • Event costs (at least 2 in-person community engagement events) USD 840
  • Contingency (stationeries, documentation, unforeseen expenses, Covid 19 precautions etc) USD 100
Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda

Program design and implementation

  • Project Lead (10 hrs/week)
  • Project support (5 hours/week)

USD 13,500

  • Data services USD 500
  • Communication and outreach USD 2,000
  • Banking and transaction fees USD 150
  • Workspace costs (filing, printing, other operations) USD 940
  • Insurance USD 380
  • Contingency USD 1,000
Wikimedia Serbia
  • Program design and implementation (Project lead – 10 working hours/week) USD 14,850
  • Finance and administration (24 working hours for the whole program) USD 1,150
  • Banking and transaction fees USD 80.00
  • Translation services USD 170.00
Wikimedia Deutschland Note: The costs incurred will be covered by WMDE itself. The total costs amount to EUR 269.559 including personnel (staff and contractors) and operating costs.


Note: The requested grant of USD 77,095 will be used to cover the costs incurred by the partners. This includes personnel and operating costs that are necessary for their respective involvement for the implementation of the program. This grant is of great importance to the partners, as their own budget is very tight or has been allocated elsewhere and other in-kind options are not possible.

Completing your application[edit]

Once you have completed the application, please do the following:

  • Change the application status from status=draft to status=proposed in the {{Probox}} template.
  • Contact strategy2030(_AT_)wikimedia.org to confirm your submission, as well as to request any support around your application.


An endorsement from community members (especially from outside your community) will be part of the considerations when reviewing your application. Community members are encouraged to endorse your project request here!