We are pausing and re-imagining the UNLOCK Accelerator in 2023

The UNLOCK Accelerator, which has been a successful program in turning promising Free Knowledge ideas into sustainable projects, will not be continued, but redesigned in 2023. We want to explore what the UNLOCK of the future might look like in order to create an even bigger impact for the Free Knowledge Ecosystem.

  • Lucia Obst
  • 2. February 2023

In three editions, the UNLOCK Accelerator has managed to expand the existing Free Knowledge project landscape and has brought us closer to overcoming knowledge inequities. In three cohorts from 2020-2022, 17 prototypes were developed by project teams spanning 11 countries. Of these, more than 50 percent are still being further developed and implemented. (Want to dive deeper? Browse through the project results on our landing page.)

So what are our concerns?

However, there have also been some challenges faced by the program. Here are our main pain points:

In 2023 we are making room for something new

In light of these challenges, the decision has been made to discontinue the UNLOCK Accelerator in its current form. Instead, throughout 2023, we will explore what the “UNLOCK of the future” might look like in order to create greater impact and be of most value to the Wikimedia Movement.

The ultimate outcome we are working towards is for UNLOCK to become an innovation engine for free knowledge and create an environment in which innovation and innovators from our communities can grow. We aim to encourage people to experiment with and create new Free Knowledge projects and contribute to the development of an innovation culture and thereby strengthen the Movement’s capacity to innovate.With this in mind, the overall intention of our work will not change from the past few years. Rather, we are considering new modes of implementation. We will test new formats and activities as we build a new program. In this process, of course, we want to incorporate all of our key learnings from running three editions of the UNLOCK Accelerator program.

What will this process look like?

As we want this process (and the outcome) to be most beneficial for the entire Wikimedia community, we do not want to run it by ourselves. This is why we will build on partnerships already setup and nurtured over the past years and make new connections. Together, we want to co-create the re-imagining process together with relevant stakeholders in the following steps: 

It is true, we have a long journey ahead of us; but also the luxury of several months at our disposal to dig into the process and take the time to do things right. We look forward to this new strategic process. And of course, we will take you along the journey on our socials – follow along!