Introduction and Gratitude
In 2017, we created a strategic direction for the future of our Movement and set ourselves an ambitious goal: 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.
This document presents the results of the second phase of the open and participatory Movement Strategy process that has brought together close to 100 participants and stakeholders from across our Movement. Volunteers, staff and board members of affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation, and representatives from allied organizations were actively involved in discussions over a nearly two-year period. Online discussions and occasional in-person events for working groups for 9 priority thematic areas led to the development of the first iteration of the recommendations for change. With subsequent iterations, there were attempts to reflect, improve ideas, and incorporate feedback from Movement stakeholders.
The current and final version of the recommendations and their underlying principles present structural and systematic changes that would pave the way for our Movement’s future. The detailed strategic plan for how we actually bring all of this to life, and with whom, will be collectively developed in the upcoming implementation phase of Movement Strategy.
Purpose of the change
Our Movement has grown over the past 19 years in organic and distributed ways — independent, yet wholly intertwined. It has been built on collective values of sharing free knowledge. Through an extraordinary global collaborative effort, our Movement has succeeded in creating the world’s largest encyclopedia, the largest media repository of freely licensed files, and sister projects encompassing an unparalleled collection of human knowledge.
Our growth and distribution have also presented challenges in aligning and coordinating the way we do things. Inequitable distribution of power, resources, and opportunities prevent us from fully maximizing our potential as a global movement. Our Movement needs a shared understanding of the vastness of contributions across different communities and better awareness among internal and external stakeholders so we can thrive. Improving communication and collaboration is of paramount importance if we wish to achieve our strategic goals. We also have to directly address the barriers and circumstances that prevent people from utilizing or participating in our Movement. Our goal by 2030 is to eliminate the gender gap and focus on the inclusion of underrepresented groups in our communities and projects.
The world where we began in 2001 is different from the one we operate in today and will be radically different from the world of 2030. Increasingly, there are threats against free knowledge and an open Internet. Censorship and surveillance pose real risks to many communities and in some regions endanger the lives of those who advocate for and contribute to free knowledge. The development of technology and services driven by profit margins are jeopardizing our existence. Wikimedia projects risk becoming obsolete as multiple formats of information flood virtual spaces, sometimes at premium prices and sometimes with bias. As a Movement synonymous with free knowledge and verifiable information, we have a collective responsibility to be intentional with the impact of our work and the knowledge we share.
These challenges and the ever-changing world around us also offer opportunities that can advance us in our strategic direction. More than ever before, there is a growing need for reliable sources of information and knowledge to counter misinformation. Open access resources are receiving more attention in the academic world. Online service providers are looking for ways to disseminate accurate, well-sourced information. These open doors for new collaboration models, innovation, and significantly increase the potential reach and impact of our projects without compromising our Movement values.
Key aspects of the change
This document introduces significant structural and cultural changes that address the needs of our diverse Movement and encourage us to make the most of emerging opportunities. It was developed by our Movement for our Movement. Some people welcome the proposed changes, others may not. Some changes will be relatively easy, others may be difficult to implement.
Through these recommendations, Wikimedia will change in the way our platforms provide safe collaboration spaces and are inviting to those who contribute and consume knowledge. We will become more people-centered to address the needs of all people who power our Movement and those we serve. Anyone who shares our vision will be able to join us as we offer engaging, adaptable, and flexible experiences of the Wikimedia ecosystem. The sustainability of our Movement depends on recognizing and supporting the diversity of its contributors and their activities.
To be more efficient as a Movement and better align internally and externally with our partners, we need support systems to ensure coordination, communication, and continued relevance and growth. Whether updating or rethinking existing systems or creating new ones, we require Movement-building initiatives to support contributors in local, regional and thematic contexts, and to have more equitable, legitimized, and trusted decision-making. By creating and strengthening organizational structures, communication channels, and tools to contribute, we will move toward a more cohesive Movement with communities that trust each other and cooperate at full potential.
Many of the initiatives put forth in this strategic document will require further exploration. Implementation will be informed by additional assessments, consultations with communities and other stakeholders, and customized adaptation of plans before they become reality. As a first step, initiatives that result from these recommendations will be prioritized and then sequenced with clear roles, responsibilities, and resources in discussion and agreement with all Movement stakeholders. Experimentation, documentation, evaluation, and iteration will be vital to the success of each step. In addition to adequately resourcing the initial implementation of the proposed initiatives, resources (finances and workforce) will need to continue to be available for the iteration and adaptation of each step as we usher in a new decade towards 2030. Wikimedia reminds us that the greatest thing we will ever build is the thing that we build together.
This recommendations document has been written by our Movement for our Movement, and that makes it unique. It represents the culmination of almost two years’ work gathering and synthesizing input from all across the Movement about how to change the way we do things so that we can move forward in our Strategic Direction.
This 'gratitude’ text has been prepared by the Movement Strategy core team. The narrative of the recommendations, the 10 recommendations and the underlying principles as well as the glossary were prepared by a team of Wikimedians - volunteers, community members, and staff and board members of affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation. Together, these elements make up the Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy. It would not exist without the many individuals from all corners of the world who joined this journey and contributed their skills and expertise to envision the future of our Movement. The diverse perspectives and collaborative spirit each person brought with them helped to surface innovative ideas and future-oriented solutions.
The ideas and work generated by all members of the nine thematic area working groups was instrumental throughout this process. These community leaders ensured rich discussions were held about the future of our Movement and created the initial set of draft recommendations upon which this current and final work is built. Deepest gratitude to the writers, integrators, and reviewers who consolidated thematic area recommendations, volunteered to review and integrate Movement feedback and, subsequently, refined and finalized the recommendations and underlying principles.
Heartfelt appreciation is extended to local organizers, supporting staff, affiliate liaisons, and community strategy liaisons who made this process a true global conversation. Gratitude is also extended to Wikimedia Foundation leadership and the Board of Trustees, who have supported and participated in this process since its inception and have remained invaluable partners. Finally, this process remains indebted to countless individuals from across our Movement who contributed in on- and offline conversations and helped shape the content of this product and the thinking around it.
Please refer to the list of contributors and process participants.