What is the Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy Process?
When Wikipedia marked 15 years in 2016, we as a Movement began to think about the next 15 years and what we want to build or achieve by 2030. As Wikimedians, we wanted to do this in our own way and as collaboratively as possible. And so a participatory and adaptive process was brought to life with the aim of defining what Wikimedia will look like in 2030 and how we want our projects, our communities, and the free knowledge ecosystem to evolve.
The Movement Strategy Process “Wikimedia 2030” started in 2017. Broadly speaking, it consists of three phases: developing a strategic direction to guide our Movement into the future, creating recommendations for structural and systemic change, and implementing those recommendations across the Movement.
What is the purpose of Movement Strategy?
Our Movement has grown over the past 19 years in organic and distributed ways — independent, yet wholly intertwined. It has been built on the collective value of sharing free knowledge. Yet, our growth and distribution have also presented challenges in aligning and coordinating the way we do things.
The goal of the Movement Strategy is to provide a common basis for Movement communities, organizations, groups, and affiliates to better coordinate activities, work toward shared goals, and grow sustainably and inclusively. By creating and strengthening organizational structures, communication channels, and tools to contribute, we can move toward a more cohesive Movement with communities that work together at their full potential. This will enable us to better address complex challenges and seize the opportunities, now and in the future.
What are the three phases of Movement Strategy?
Phase I, 2017 - developing a strategic direction: The first objective was to develop a cohesive direction to guide the movement going forward. Global community discussions were coordinated by a core strategy team and designed with the support of a Community Process Steering Committee. It led us to co-create the Movement’s strategic direction: By 2030, Wikimedia will become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge, and anyone who shares our vision will be able to join us. The strategic direction is driven by two objectives: Knowledge as a service and knowledge equity.
Phase II, 2018 to 2020 - creating recommendations for change within Movement structures: Over a two-year period, people from across the Movement collaborated in a radically open and participatory strategy process to discuss how to improve our structures to enable us to move forward in our strategic direction. The result is a set of recommendations and underlying principles that propose structural and systemic changes that will enable us to create the future of our Movement together.
Phase III, from mid-2020 - implementing the recommendations: The detailed implementation plan will be collectively developed as we begin to shift to the implementation phase of Movement Strategy. There will be room for experimentation and prototyping, and each step will be monitored and evaluated carefully. This approach will enable the Movement to revise and iterate the steps and implement the recommendations in a contextual way.
Participants in the Movement Strategy Process 2018 to 2020
Who created the recommendations?
This work has been developed by close to 100 Wikimedians from around the world, including volunteers, staff and board members of affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation, and representatives from allied organizations. They formed into nine thematic working groups, each researching, discussing, and drafting ideas online and at in-person meetings. The working group application process report outlines how working group members were selected.
The nine thematic areas that the working groups researched and developed recommendations for are: Advocacy, Capacity Building, Community Health, Diversity, Partnerships, Product and Technology, Resource Allocation, Revenue Streams, and Roles and Responsibilities.
Many more individuals from online and project communities, affiliates, and the Wikimedia Foundation shared feedback, enriched the discussions, and contributed virtually and at numerous in-person events. This included (but is by no means limited to) contributors to Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, Wikibooks, Wikiversity, Wikisource, and Wiktionary in multiple languages; User Groups in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, the Levant, Iran; the ESEAP community; the CEE community; participants in the Art + Feminism editathon; the WikiWomen’s User Group; the chapters and User Groups that are members of WikiFranca, including Wikimedia Côte d’Ivoire, Wikimedia France, Wikimedians of Democratic Republic of Congo User Group, Wikimedia Community User Group Guinea Conakry, and more; affiliates such as Wikimedia Argentina, Wikimedia Poland, Wikimedia Ukraine, Wikimedia Mexico, Wikimedia Venezuela, Wikimedia Espana, Wikimedia Deutschland, and Wikimedia Colombia. The insights shared were used to help shape and refine the recommendations.
How were communities involved in creating the recommendations?
The community took part by enriching the Movement Strategy content with diverse perspectives and helping ensure that the development of recommendations is well informed. This input was predominantly gathered during Movement Strategy community conversations, which were wide-reaching discussions with volunteers, affiliates, and other stakeholders across the Wikimedia Movement about our shared future. These took place in both on- and offline formats.
In 2019, open, facilitated community conversations about the initial scope and, subsequently, the draft recommendations were held from March to September. Additionally, strategy salons - in-person meetings hosted by affiliate groups with their community members and a few external partners - were held from June to September 2019 in 29 countries. In 2020, open, facilitated community conversations about the third version of the Movement Strategy recommendations ran from January 20 until February 21.
Who else was involved in phase II of Movement Strategy (2018 to 2020)?
Strategy Liaisons also supported the development of the Movement Strategy. They acted as a bridge between their organization or group or language community and the process. Their purpose was to help make sure their organization, group or language community understood the strategy process and had rich opportunities to discuss and share the changes they would like to see in the structures of our movement.
The working groups and overall process were supported by a core strategy team that provided guidance for everyone involved and ensured the process was relevant, collaborative, open, and focused on outcomes.
What was the role of Wikimedia Foundation, affiliates, and organizations in Movement Strategy?
Movement Strategy is a process that is led by staff and volunteers from across the Wikimedia Movement. It was initiated by the Wikimedia Foundation and seeks broad affiliate and community involvement and collaboration on a global scale. The Wikimedia Foundation funds the process, and the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees guides the process; each working group featured one Board member and one or two staff members. The recommendations were authored and advanced by members of the Movement in collaboration, and the core team was made up of staff from both inside and outside the Wikimedia Foundation.
Organizations, groups, and affiliates were encouraged to discuss strategy with their board, staff, and community members. They were invited to appoint strategy liaisons, who acted as a point of contact for Movement Strategy. The liaisons facilitated a two-way dialogue that brought the perspective and context of the organizations, groups, affiliates into these global discussions. Affiliates also hosted strategy-related events and meetings with their local community to discuss the recommendations and gather feedback that could be used to revise and refine the content.
What is the purpose of the Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy recommendations?
The purpose of the Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy recommendations and underlying principles is to propose structural and systemic changes to the way we do things as a Movement so that we can advance in our strategic direction.
The Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy recommendations document has been developed via a broad-reaching, unique, and participatory process. It reflects where we are as a Movement and where we go next. The recommendations are Movement recommendations: Movement members from across the world – from individual online contributors, to affiliates, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Movement partners – have led or taken part in various aspects of creating them. They have shared ideas, drafted the recommendations, reviewed ongoing work, hosted virtual and in-person strategy discussions, provided feedback, and suggested improvements.
The recommendations are a guide for change and will be used to inform our future steps in a distributed and collaborative implementation phase. The principles will guide and inform the Movement-wide implementation.
What were the steps in creating the recommendations?
2018: Thematic areas were identified at the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin as priorities for structural and systemic changes needed to move us forward in our strategic direction and the pillars of knowledge equity and knowledge as a service. Close to 100 Wikimedians formed into nine working groups in July, each focused on one thematic area. Time and attention were dedicated to balancing representation and diversity in the working groups and to set up collaborative working environments and procedures. Work began by the end of the year.
March - August 2019: Based on the initial scope, conversations, and research, the working groups developed the first draft of the recommendations, which was presented to the Movement prior to Wikimania 2019. Broadreaching conversations were also conducted to identify needs and priorities from online communities and affiliate groups.
September - October 2019: Informed by online feedback and in-person discussions, the working groups developed the second iteration of the recommendations, 89 in total. Working groups dissolved by the beginning of November.
December 2019: A small team of writers (made up of former working group members) consolidated the 89 recommendations into one set of 13 by identifying overlapping functions. They also developed 13 principles to guide the Movement Strategy.
January - February 2020: The draft Movement Strategy recommendations was published in late January. An open conversation with Movement stakeholders took place from January to February 2020 to help refine and finalize the recommendations.
March 2020: The extensive feedback was integrated into the recommendations at a final in-person meeting.
April 2020: The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees reviewed the recommendations once more following an earlier review in February, and requested some final revisions. After discussions, the revisions were integrated and the recommendations finalized.
May 2020: The Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy recommendations was shared with the Movement to start conversations to transition to implementation. It features 10 recommendations and 10 underlying principles and outlines a guide for change for how we will collaboratively create the future of our Movement.
For a complete list of the steps that took place, please visit the Timeline page.
Community feedback was assessed and, where applicable, integrated into recommendations on an ongoing basis. This process started as soon as the initial draft recommendations were published in early August 2019. Working groups took the initial feedback received during community conversations and Wikimania in August and used it to refine their draft recommendations.
For the 2019 community conversations, the core team and community strategy liaisons produced monthly reports that summarized community input received. An overview and the reports for the strategy salons is here. A short summary report providing an overview of the community input from the discussions in 2020 was published in early March 2020. The Information and Knowledge Management team and community strategy liaisons worked with the working groups and writers to ensure that this input was made available to them and could be integrated as applicable.
What are the next steps after the final recommendations are published?
Discussions around implementation will start to take place after the final recommendations are published. Implementation of the recommendations will not start immediately because the Movement will need to first collaboratively plan how implementation will occur to ensure this is done as effectively and inclusively as possible.
Please see the question “How do we transition from the recommendations into implementation?” for further details.
The core team's mandate ends at the end of June and does not include planning or executing the implementation phase. Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Staff, Ryan Merkley, is taking the design and planning for this phase forward.
What do the recommendations mean for Movement stakeholders?
The recommendations are a guide for change, and they are purposefully high level so that the Movement has the flexibility to apply them in ways that make sense in their context. At the local level, the recommendations might mean different things in different regions and for different projects, and each recommendation may need to be contextualized according to the stakeholders’ environment and needs.
Some initiatives that the recommendations lead to may require Movement members to comply with them, but these would need additional community consultations first before they could be implemented. To this end, we envision a number of methods to consult broadly, do more research, or gain approval on specific aspects from the Movement as we move into implementation.
How do we transition from the recommendations to implementation?
Following the publication of the Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy recommendations in May 2020, the process began transitioning to the implementation phase. Discussions about implementation were originally planned to begin at the Wikimedia Summit 2020. Due to the global health crisis in early 2020, this is unfortunately not possible.
As a result, a series of virtual events will be held. These events are being designed together with Movement representatives to discuss and deepen understanding of the recommendations and, subsequently, plan the implementation of the recommendations. The goal of the transition is to produce a one-year plan for implementation that identifies what initiatives must come first, and in what sequence, and with what resources and support.
How will implementation happen?
The plan for how the recommendations will be implemented will be developed during the virtual transition events (see above). Designing implementation will be a collaborative process and will engage a wide range of stakeholders to enable them to take ownership of implementation in their own context and to ensure that the measures have impact and are applicable.
How will decisions be made about implementation?
The recommendations will influence the Movement on various levels (global, regional, and local). This means that the discussions regarding implementation will need to involve a wide range of perspectives to make informed decisions. As a result, concrete decisions around implementation will be made during the implementation phase and will occur in context, as one approach may not fit all.
Please note that the core team’s mandate ends at the end of June, and does not include planning or executing the implementation phase. Ryan Merkley as the Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Staff is taking the design and planning for this phase forward.
Please note: The working groups and the writing group themselves are not decision-making bodies. Where possible, they have articulated in the recommendations their ideas for how decision making should happen.
The branding strategy for the Wikimedia Foundation seems to have a strong connection to Movement Strategy, yet the two are separate. Why is that?
During the New Voices discussions of phase I of the Movement Strategy process, it emerged that “Wikimedia” is not always a widely recognized brand. The communications team was able to take this discussion forward faster than we were able to progress in the Movement Strategy discussions. This is how the two processes separated. As Movement Strategy has grown and encompassed numerous discussions, these two processes have remained distinct from each other.