UNLOCK Demo Day 2022: From idea to prototype. Celebrating the development of new free knowledge projects

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Wikimedia Accelerator UNLOCK. Demo Day 2022 – Group pictures
Wikimedia Accelerator UNLOCK. Demo Day 2022

On October 27th the Demo Day of the Wikimedia Accelerator UNLOCK 2022 took place as a hybrid event. All seven project teams showcased the solutions they had been working on over the past four months within the accelerator program. The event was hosted by Wikimedia Serbia and our partner Impact Hub Belgrade, and it was the first time over the course of the program that we left the virtual screen and got together in person!

Building upon recommendation 9 ‘Innovate in free knowledge’ of the Movement Strategy Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE) initiated the UNLOCK program with the ultimate goal to promote innovative ideas and projects that break down social and technical barriers – projects that achieve knowledge equity. For this year’s edition, WMDE joined forces with Wikimedia Serbia (WMRS) to promote and strengthen cross-regional and cross-affiliate collaboration. Besides, we also teamed up with Impact Hub Belgrade – an organization from the innovation ecosystem.

What is the intention of the Demo Day?

The Demo Day takes place once a year at the end of each program edition. At this big showcase event, the participants demonstrate their prototypes to a live audience and receive valuable feedback. It is a chance to get a very first glimpse of what the teams have been working on and offer insights as the teams set out to make a lasting impact on the free  knowledge ecosystem. This offers great opportunities to find inspiration, build motivation and make lasting connections. Together, we also take the time to celebrate the participants’ achievements.

Cultivating a Free Knowledge ecosystem

For a 4-month period, the participants worked hard to develop prototypes that offer solutions to this year’s challenge ‘Access to knowledge is a matter of equity‘ – open-source solutions that break down social and technical barriers preventing people from both accessing and contributing to free knowledge. All project results that are developed throughout the accelerator program are openly licensed: all projects must be open source (as an open software project) or run under a free license (as a freely licensed non-technical project, e.g. art, audio, video, etc.)

Seven exciting solutions

Seven prototypes were developed throughout the accelerator in 2022. Among them are: A platform that safeguards indigenous knowledge on biodiversity in the Amazon; a tool that offers support in translating politically sensitive terms; a browser extension providing user-generated audio descriptions to the visually impaired; and many more.

Here they are:

The panel of experts

Each of the seven participating teams only had 5 minutes to demo their prototypes to a live audience. The presentations were followed by 6 minutes of Q&A from our panel of experts:

Each panel member offered valuable feedback, lending their expertise and a critical perspective to the teams as they embark on a journey to enrich the Free Knowledge ecosystem.

For some insights into the event, have a look at the Demo Day 2022 pictures on Wikimedia Commons.

What next?

Following the Demo Day, we will continue the conversation with the project teams and discuss their way forward. We hope that they will continue working and further developing their prototypes and eventually sustain. The sustainability aspect covers several dimensions. We hope to establish and build synergies between some of the UNLOCK projects with Wikimedia projects and the Wikimedia ecosystem – given the fact that the prototypes are at their early stage and they could be further developed after UNLOCK ended.

Besides, WMDE and WMRS will provide an evaluation of the program, of our cross-affiliate collaboration as well as our partnership with Impact Hub. This evaluation will of course be shared with the Wikimedia movement. For updates about the projects and the program itself can be found on the UNLOCK website. Or feel free to follow us on UNLOCK Twitter or UNLOCK LinkedIn.

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