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. In 2017, we embarked on a journey to create the future of 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.
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 towards the Strategic Direction. This document presents the results of this collaborative effort: 10 recommendations and underlying principles that outline a guide for change. Some ideas build on existing successes and the incredible expertise and experience that live in our Movement and beyond. Some call for changes in how we operate, interact, and advocate for our mission and values. And some require us to imagine new ways of working, collaborating, and governing for the continued success of our Movement.
This body of 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. Many more individuals shared feedback, enriched the discussions, and contributed virtually and at numerous events. The current recommendations are the result of four major iterations starting in August 2019. Based on feedback and collaboration, the working groups then prepared a second iteration in September constituting 89 recommendations. These were consolidated by individual writers into a coherent set of 13. Rich feedback received from January to March 2020 helped refine the recommendations and finalize them into the current state: ten recommendations and ten principles.
The principles reflect the fundamental values shared across the Movement upon which the recommendations are built and will be implemented. The principles are: people-centredness; safety and security; inclusivity and participatory decision-making; equity and empowerment; subsidiarity and self-management; contextualization; collaboration and cooperation; transparency and accountability; efficiency; and resilience. These interconnected principles speak to what it takes for our Movement to become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge.
With the principles at their heart, the 10 Movement Strategy recommendations present interdependent changes that pave the way for the future of the Wikimedia Movement:
Increase the Sustainability of Our Movement calls upon us to be people-centered and invest in people’s needs. The sustainability of our Movement depends on recognizing and supporting the diversity of our contributors - established volunteers and newcomers - and our activities. This recommendation explores equitable ways to distribute funding and new opportunities for revenue generation, increasing awareness about the Movement, developing local fundraising capacity, and nurturing diverse partnerships.
Improve User Experience addresses the usability and accessibility of our products and continuous ways to improve them. It recommends involving contributors and developer communities in research, design, and testing for diverse profiles and devices. Also included are resources for newcomers, documentation standards, cross-project and cross-language tools, advancing new projects, and API development.
The creation of a Code of Conduct, anonymous incident reporting, and addressing harassment in our projects are discussed in Provide for Safety and Inclusion. This recommendation proposes a baseline for acceptable behavior in the Movement, a safety assessment and execution plan that includes rapid response infrastructure, developing local capacity for safety and security, advocacy for legal frameworks favourable for the free knowledge movement, and localized privacy tools to ensure safety of contributors.
Ensure Equity in Decision-Making is integral for establishing shared responsibility and accountability in the Movement. Equitable representation in decision-making with clear and open pathways, empowerment of local communities, and participatory resource allocation are significant topics in this recommendation. It recommends a Movement Charter, the establishment of a Global Council, regional and thematic hubs, and clearly defined roles, and guidelines for participation for all stakeholders.
Building on clearly defined roles and responsibilities, Coordinate Across Stakeholders recommends creating spaces for improved communication and collaboration within the Movement and with partners, technical contributors, and developer communities for technology coordination. It recommends coordinating resources, establishing a Technology Council for new functionalities, comprehensive information exchange, improved learning and knowledge transfer, and networking opportunities.
Invest in Skills and Leadership Development looks at equitably developing technical and people skills in individuals and organizations in our Movement. This requires a systematic global approach with locally relevant initiatives for a wide range of skills. Approaches would be contextualized and include online learning, peer networks, creation of content in multiple languages, mentorship, and recognition and incentives for skill development. This recommendation proposes a coordinated leadership development plan for individuals and the required infrastructure (online and offline) to facilitate knowledge transfer.
Manage Internal Knowledge recommends ensuring the Movement’s internal knowledge is user-friendly, participatory, and of high quality. Based on the recommendation, we need a culture of documentation, a knowledge base with access to learning assets, and support from staff dedicated to this role.
Respecting the autonomy of volunteers, Identify Topics for Impact asks us to understand how our content impacts people and offers ways to address content gaps, understand the significant harm of misinformation on our projects, advocate for and prioritize resources relating to content creation, and work with specialized partners.
Innovate in Free Knowledge asks us to explore and expand our range of projects and content formats to stay relevant and provide access to the sum of human knowledge. This recommendation proposes identifying in consultation with communities policies and practices that pose as barriers to knowledge equity, creating pathways to new projects, and developing tools and partnerships to make free knowledge accessible in various formats and modes of consumption.
In order to effectively and efficiently implement strategy that is by and for the Movement, we need to develop individual and organizational self-awareness and Evaluate, Iterate, and Adapt our work. This requires resources, expertise and capacity, shared responsibility, and mutual accountability to evaluate, communicate progress, facilitate learning, and adapt our work.
Implementing the ten recommendations and the underlying principles will lead to fundamental cultural and structural changes that will enable our Movement to welcome all who share our vision of ‘a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.’ By collaboratively implementing these changes over the coming years, we will be able to address the needs of all the people who power our Movement and those we serve - now and in the future - and become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge.