Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2022-2023/draft
“”The story of Movement Strategy centers around people. People who contribute and consume knowledge and people who make up the diverse communities and groups that power our Movement…We set ourselves an ambitious strategic direction: to become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge by 2030. To ensure anyone who shares our vision will be able to join us, we strive for knowledge equity and knowledge as a service.
This year, the Foundation’s Annual Plan will be anchored in the strategic direction of Movement Strategy, centering on the goals of knowledge equity and knowledge as a service. Our planning process began late last year with a listening tour trying to understand what the world, and the movement, need now. This led to work by Foundation leadership and staff between January and March 2022 to understand the organization’s current allocation of resources across Wikimedia projects, regions, language communities and audiences. We developed planning principles such as: looking outward, not only inward; trying to imagine two-way planning with our movement, not just one-way information sharing from the Foundation; and improving the Foundation’s own coordination, not having different teams disjointed from each other.
We decided that this year the Wikimedia Foundation will be much more focused on radically changing HOW we do our work, rather than developing a long list of new projects and initiatives. Our changed approach also means this document will not serve as a comprehensive list of everything being done now. Much of the current work will continue as we concurrently improve in some areas, stop doing things in other areas, or reallocate existing resources to more important priorities. This year will be more about a shift in mental models, not as much a shift in content. It is quite true that we may need to radically shift some of WHAT we do, likely doing less of some things and more of others, but not without a stronger foundation for how we currently work.
We will make progress on four organizational goals in the year ahead. The first two are focused on the movement’s ambitious strategic direction to advance knowledge equity and knowledge as a service. The second two are more focused on the internal workings of our movement’s governance and health, as well as improving the Wikimedia Foundation’s performance and effectiveness.
Wikimedia Foundation Goals for 2022−2023
- Advance Knowledge Equity by bringing a stronger regional focus to our collective work.
- Deepen our commitment to Knowledge as a Service by strengthening how we prioritize and allocate product and tech support to 740+ Wikimedia projects, starting with Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata.
- Strengthen movement governance and health by supporting key priorities like the Movement Charter, the Universal Code of Conduct, and movement strategy implementation.
- Improve the Foundation’s performance and effectiveness by improving our translation/interpretation support, lifting up more meaningful metrics to assess our impact, and designing shared services to support a truly global working environment.
We will also try to understand the interest of movement entities (individual and affiliate) in more two-way planning so that we not only share what we intend to do, but also ask others about their plans. We’ll see who is interested in trying this out, and what approach is most effective for identifying areas of common interest and shared priorities.
Every organization and group in the world has a different philosophy, approach, and set of practices for “planning.” Some plan too much and don’t iterate enough. Some don’t plan sufficiently and struggle to execute. There are thousands of books, articles, websites and videos about “planning.” Ultimately planning, irrespective of what framework is being used, has to strike a balance between knowing what direction we are heading in and moving people, processes, and systems forward to achieve objectives or move closer to an ambitious goal.
Similarly, the Wikimedia Foundation has adopted various approaches to planning in the past, often responsive to the circumstances, leadership, and needs of the time. For the year ahead, we will test methods to transition us from the final year of the Foundation’s Medium Term Plan to a future framework that remains responsive to the needs of our movement and our world.
This begins with an intention to anchor our annual plan in the strategic direction of our movement. This requires us all to better define key concepts and what exactly they mean: what do we mean when we say ‘knowledge as a service’? What does ‘knowledge equity’ look like? How does this strategic direction inform the implementation and communication of current and future work?
The Wikimedia Foundation has grown very rapidly over the past 3 years – increasing its budget by more than 30% in the past year with the addition of more than 200 new people since 2020. This will not continue in the 2022−2023 fiscal year as we stabilize our growth and also ensure that new resources are delivering maximum impact for our mission. We anticipate a 17% increase in our 2022−2023 budget, most of this representing inflationary and other year-on-year costs. Funding to other movement entities (individual and affiliate) will increase for next year by at least the same 17% percent, if not more. Because the vast majority of the Foundation’s own budget is allocated to staffing costs, our most important resource decisions are about the time and performance of our people and teams.
In the spirit of the wiki way, our draft plan is being presented as a long-form text document. It will be shared on-wiki in multiple languages with communities, board and staff with a request for input and improvement. We hope this format will allow for more (and multilingual) engagement on substance and ideas, while also communicating complexity and nuance that may be difficult to achieve only through slides and spreadsheets.
Below, we have identified thematic areas to guide our work for the coming year. In some areas, we have described challenges with proposed solutions, and in other areas we have defined experiments to simply provide a concrete starting point for new ways of working – within the Foundation and also with our communities and the world. We are focused on effective approaches to guide and change the way we plan and work in the year ahead.