Reflecting on the Evolution of Wikimedia Deutschland’s Innovation Engine

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After four years of fostering innovation within the Wikimedia Movement, Wikimedia Deutschland has made the decision to discontinue the Innovation Engine program in 2024. This decision is based on careful reflection and consideration of various circumstances.

The decision follows three successful rounds of UNLOCK, marked by a considerable number of applications and the successful execution of innovative projects. Despite these positive outcomes, there remained a crucial question concerning the program’s true influence on innovation within the Wikimedia Movement and its contribution to long-term sustainability.

In 2023, the organization aimed to address these questions, with a focus on reevaluating the Innovation Engine’s role and strengthening the dual aspects of innovation and sustainability. Collaborating with five partner organizations from the movement—Wikimedia Argentina, Wikimedia Community User Group Kenya, Wikimedia Serbia, Wikimedia Community User Group Tanzania and Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda—the goal was to redefine the concept of innovation in the Wikimedia context.

In a time of personnel reorganization in the team at Wikimedia Deutschland and uncertainty of availability of funds, an opportune moment arose to ask a fundamental question: Does innovation for the Wikimedia Movement have to originate solely from Wikimedia Deutschland, or could other movement actors take up this responsibility?

We came to the conclusion that it doesn’t have to be Wikimedia Deutschland. Recognizing the diversity of players within the movement, there is a realization that others may be better positioned to drive innovation development than Wikimedia Deutschland, a chapter from the Global North, who is already taking responsibility for the Movement through numerous projects.

Hence, the decision was made not to continue the “Innovation Engine” program in the upcoming year. This marks a shift in perspective, acknowledging that innovation within the Wikimedia Movement can be driven by a range of contributors beyond a single Chapter.

We want to express gratitude to everyone who contributed to the Innovation Engine program—stakeholders, coaches, and partners. The journey has been both inspiring and fun and we have learned so much on the way!

If you have any questions regarding this, please don’t hesitate to contact us at our meta page or by email:

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