The Wikimedia movement works because it brings together many different perspectives to solve complex problems. Join the community consultation to plan our strategy together. Group photo of Wikimania 2014 participants by Ralf Roletschek, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The Wikimedia Foundation has a rich tradition of stopping to take stock of where we are and where we’d like to go as a movement. Over the years, this has taken different forms — from “Board-only” processes to our massive, community co-created strategic plan five years ago.

This year, to support the Foundation’s strategic planning efforts, we’d like to try something different, by kicking-off a two-week community consultation about the future of Wikimedia. The themes that emerge from the consultation will be used to inform the development of the direction and priorities for the Wikimedia Foundation.

Instead of launching a comprehensive (and expensive!) process and creating a formal document, like the last strategic planning initiative, we see this as the first step. We are interested in an iterative, discursive strategic process — one that continues to reflect changes in knowledge creation, user behavior, and the internet as a whole, while remaining agile and responsive to our mutual thoughts and needs.

The Wikimedia Foundation needs to hear your ideas about the emerging trends we should be paying attention to as a community, about what the Foundation could (or should) do to adapt to emerging challenges and opportunities, and how our movement (including the Foundation) should respond to these changes. We hope the conversation will highlight the huge changes that have occurred since our last strategic conversations, as well as emerging trends that will have significant impact on the projects.

We all know that since Wikipedia began fourteen years ago, the world — including the internet — has changed dramatically. More people are coming online, in more places, and they are accessing knowledge in new and changing ways. One change we’re watching is the dramatic growth in mobile devices. It’s clear that the world is “going mobile.” Trends show that mobile access and devices are becoming the primary (and often only!) method of access to the internet for people around the world. What does this mean for our projects?

Similarly, we’ve seen Wikipedia’s reach grow and change. Wikipedia, which started in North America and quickly spread to Europe, is now growing fastest in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Another billion internet users are expected to come online in coming years — many from these growing regions. These users may not know about Wikimedia projects, and will likely have new and different motivations for participation and collaboration. How do we prepare to include and engage these new users and contributors?

The next few years will be characterized by rapid change: technology will change; devices will change; people will change. At the Wikimedia Foundation, we believe one thing will not change: the need to share and access free knowledge with the world. Our mission is as relevant now as ever before. Our movement’s challenge is to be ready to adapt when necessary to continue to make a difference. That’s what this consultation is about.

I hope you will participate in the consultation to share your ideas of the future and help lay the groundwork for defining the Foundation’s strategic direction.

Join our online discussion here, starting today, February 23, at 12:00 noon PST (20:00 GMT).

Your vision matters.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Philippe Beaudette
Director, Community Advocacy
Wikimedia Foundation