Wikimedia Conference 2017/Program

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Over the last weeks and months, we – Cornelius Kibelka, Nicole Ebber, the Strategy Core Team of the Wikimedia Foundation, our Movement Strategy Track facilitators Bhavesh Patel and Rob Lancaster, as well as WMDE’s Cooperation & Development Team and WMF's Partnerships and Global Reach team - have developed three different tracks for the Wikimedia Conference.

Please note that it is a first draft of the session outline. Further sessions and details will be added. Everyone is welcome to provide feedback, ideas and input!

The four cornerstones of the program[edit]

To ensure an impact oriented conference, we need different formats and target group specific sessions. We have identified four cornerstones that complete the program (this follows the concept we have created for the Wikimedia Conference 2016):

  • Overarching movement themes: WMCON brings together movement stakeholders to discuss the future of the movement. We have to make the most of this unique opportunity where this group of affiliate and WMF representatives is gathering in one place and have them work, think, talk, listen, learn and shape our future together.
  • Capacity building. The culture of shared learning is slowly increasing among movement entities. We are getting better at learning from each other’s mistakes and successes, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Working and learning sessions will be built according to the participants needs; speakers will come from within and outside of the movement.
  • Facilitated social activities. Only a safe space in a creative, trustful atmosphere will enable a good, effective working environment that includes newbies and old hands alike. We will create more moments of sharing, of social exchange and provide guidance for side events and evening sessions.
  • Wildcard and must-have topics. Since the agenda design process starts early, we will leave some space in the schedule for urgent movement issues that might come up in the time between January and March.

Three programmatic tracks[edit]

Movement Strategy[edit]

Please check Wikimedia Conference 2017/Program Design Process/Movement Strategy for more details of this track

Developing a strategic vision for the future of our movement is one of the top priorities for 2017. The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has tasked the Wikimedia Foundation’s Executive Director, Katherine Maher, with leading this effort, in partnership with community members and movement organizations. Although the Wikimedia Foundation is playing the primary coordinating role, this is meant to be a community process with involvement from across the movement, and all volunteers interested in engaging in its development are invited and strongly encouraged to participate. The Wikimedia Conference will serve as one of the platforms for participation and input from movement affiliates and allies. The conference has adapted its program for 2017 to encourage these discussions.

Movement Partnerships[edit]

Wikimedia organizations and groups have a wide variety of experiences and knowledge in working with partners to achieve our mission. However, we have never talked about what different kind of partnerships we can build nor what an excellent partnership looks like.

As we work on the emerging strategy to strengthen the movement and each of its components, partnerships become an increasingly more important topic. Being able to achieve our mission together with partners from within and outside of the Wikimedia movement has been the subject of occasional sessions at past WMCONs. This time we will deepen the conversation, try to develop a joint language and understanding of partnerships and open up opportunities for peer sharing and consultation.

Capacity Building & Learning[edit]

Based on great experiences at recent Wikimedia Conferences, we will again have a programmatic track that focuses on shared learning and capacity building among Wikimedia organizations and groups. Learning sessions will be built according to the needs, wishes, experiences and knowledge expressed in the registration form.

Be prepared![edit]

As in the previous years, it will be again a quite interactive event and all participants are asked to prepare intensively for the announced topics and sessions. All entities and their representatives are requested to thoroughly discuss the conference topics and sessions internally before they start their journey to Berlin.

Reading the session outline is necessary for active participation. Of course, participation does not end after the conference: There will be documentation, reporting back to your home organisations, evaluation and follow-up tasks to be done.

Session Outline[edit]

Track #1: Movement Strategy[edit]


  • The strategy track will be more like a movie than a series of episodes! A movie has a beginning, has a story that continues to build up and finally reaches the end. Of course you can join a movie at any point, however to get the most benefit it is better to be there from the start and follow how it unfolds.
  • Below you will find the strategy track process which will unfold with all of you involved and you will create the content through your thinking and discussions.


  • The opening of the conference will be together with all WMCON participants and – after the official welcome notes and the logistics briefing – will explain the strategy development process and what we hope to achieve during the conference. It will also be a chance to move around and meet people.
    • Method: Presentations and small groups exercises.
    • Goal: Clarity about the conference aims, process, and context. Creating a feeling of live connection between participants.
  • Next we will hear from the strategy team on their findings about the present situation in the world and in Wikimedia. After this we will explore what their presentation means to each one of us and how we see the present situation and the key trends that we need to keep in mind as we look to the future.
    • Method: Presentations and small group discussions to create multiple visual perspectives on the present that will be displayed for everyone to explore.
    • Goal: Increased visibility about the way we all see the present from multiple perspectives that will generate new thinking.
  • Having explored the present situation, there will be space for every participant to raise whatever topics they feel are critical to discuss further as we think about what the strategic direction could be over the next 15 years. These conversations will continue into Saturday.
    • Method: Open Space Technology, similar to an unconference, that supports participants discussing what they think is most important.
    • Goal: To explore anything and everything that could relate to the strategy and create a mess of possibilities. Messiness and innovation are connected!


  • From the conversations yesterday and this morning we will identify the key points that we need to keep in mind.
    • Method: Small group discussions with movement between groups, like a World Café.
    • Goal: To review the ‘mess’ we made and draw out key points.
  • We will use these key points to create thematic statements that could inform the strategic direction for the next 15 years. We will test these thematic statements with each other.
    • Method: Small group discussions working with a template.
    • Goal: To create thematic statements that together offer the many possibilities for the strategic future.


  • We will continue to develop thematic statements in the morning.
  • Finally we will all have a chance to vote on what we think are the most important thematic statements.
    • Method: Using sticky dots to notice what the group thinks are the most important and relevant themes.
    • Goal: To know what the participants think is important.
  • We will then focus in on the top 10 or 20 thematic statements and explore their implications for Wikimedia and the world.
  • We will close with an explanation of what happens next.

Track #2: Movement Partnerships[edit]

Track #3: Capacity-Building & Learning[edit]

Further sessions[edit]