Demo Day 2021 of the Wikimedia Accelerator UNLOCK

By , in news startups on . Tagged width: , , ,

The Demo Day was a huge success, marking the conclusion and highlight of the UNLOCK Accelerator 2021.

The UNLOCK Accelerator is dedicated to supporting projects that contribute to making the world‘s knowledge more inclusive and accessible to all.

In concrete terms, this means: “We seek impact-driven ideas and cutting-edge approaches in the field of Free Knowledge” that UNLOCK can promote and scale as open-source products or projects under a free license. And above all, the accelerator teams are looking for motivated teams that want to turn their ideas into functional prototypes in record time.

Throughout the fast-paced three-month program the acceleration team guided the participating teams through their journey with professional coachings and, if necessary, financial support.

Happy_people-UNLOCK accelerator

They also connected the teams with other experts who share their knowledge on product development, design, team management and other fields. The team worked completely hands-on and needs-based looking into what the individual teams required and what they could accomplish in this short period of time.

UNLOCK Acceleration team

Kannika Thaimai, Program Lead at Wikimedia Deutschland innovation program – UNLOCK Accelerator

For over 10 years, she has guided projects and organizations through their various development phases: from the initial idea created from scratch all the way to the launch and scaling phases, with all their highs and lows. Kannika wants to create spaces where all learn from these experiences. To her, collaboration and open exchange are the keys to innovation.

The Demo Day introduced us to the 13 participants of the UNLOCK Accelerator 2021. Across 5 showcases the teams presented the prototypes they had developed throughout the program. Each prototype makes a contribution to strengthening trust in information and technology. The prototypes are also published under an open license, making them freely accessible.

Lucia Obst, Program management & community engagement

As a theatre scholar, she is passionate about encouraging creativity and giving people a stage. For many years in the non-profit sector, Lucia has utilized this understanding to mobilize initiatives and give voice to ideas that have the power to advance our society. In her roles as program and community manager, she strives to create a space where all can make visible the potential in all of us.

Mia Kunert, Program & communication support

During her work as an exhibition designer, she became particularly passionate about making content accessible to a diverse audience. Now, in her master’s degree in media studies, Mia is looking at the role media plays in the transmission of knowledge and how we can use it to achieve a fair distribution of knowledge.

The thematic focus of the 2021 edition of the UNLOCK Accelerator was (Re)building trust in the digital age.

What solutions – technical and non-technical – create greater access to knowledge and have a positive impact on trust-building? What skills are needed not only to acquire knowledge but also to deal with increased social and information complexity?

5 projects presented at Demo day UNLOCK Accelerator 2021 Batch

GovDirectory is a crowdsourced and fact-checked directory of official governmental online accounts and services around the globe.

The Government Online Presence Directory aims to help the public identify the official Twitter accounts for all provinces in Chile, or the Instagram accounts for all environmental protection agencies across all EU countries.

The online presence of every public organization should be findable, queryable and trustworthy. Creating more accessibility and transparency will make political participation and understanding easier by

  • supporting the direct and timely retrieval of official information and contact details,
  • holding political bodies accountable for the information they provide,
  • enabling easier archiving of communications for future purposes.

FollowTheVote is a mobile app that makes political engagement fun and informative habit for young people by combining facts with gamification.

FollowTheVote combines innovations from UX design, gamification and voting advice applications in a mobile application that informs, engages, and empowers in only a few minutes a day:

  • INFORM: The app shows its users one political issue a day that was recently voted on in parliament. It is designed as “snackable” information based on high-quality sources.
  • ENGAGE: The users can collect points by interacting with the app, they can share political opinions and progress outside of the platform.
  • EMPOWER: FollowTheVote helps raise the voice of its users by offering petitions that can be signed with just one click. The anonymous voting results will be sent directly to parliament. Further, if an election is coming up, users can compare their own voting decisions with those of political candidates.

ThinkTwise is an open-source browser extension that detects and highlights the quality of arguments in written, digital texts.

Following a clear predefined set of criteria, the ThinkTwise browser extension will allow text highlighting that pinpoints the errors and strengths of written online texts. It is based on multiple ML/NLP (Natural Language Processing) techniques that detect levels and quality of argumentation in texts, starting by differentiating claims from arguments and then assessing how sounded these claims are.

Further, crowdsourcing and machine learning algorithms will assist the detection of the most informative and validated points, wrong assumptions and possible disagreements.

Re:Source Project is a browser extension that informs about working conditions across supply chains.

By pairing investigative research with open data about labour issues and corporate social responsibility (CSR) statements, The Re:Source Project aims to help users cut through corporate jargon, combat corporate disinformation, and make informed decisions.

Through the browser extension, the project informs users about companies while they browse the web in real-time: displaying data and stories regarding workers rights, organizing efforts, and supply chain issues.

In a wider sense, the project wants to help shape a public that is more collectively attuned to the transnational processes that shape our lives, their collective independence, and the deeply uneven nature of this interdependence.

OpenSpeaks Accessibility is an open toolkit for language archivists on how to create permanent, accessible and inclusive audiovisual archives.

The toolkit responds to the need for digital content in languages that are currently under-resourced. A number of activist communities and individuals across the world are developing their own audiovisual content, and while these projects have incredible potential to expand access to information and language diversity in online spaces, greater consideration of people with disabilities is needed to fully realize the vision of a truly open web.

Language documentation helps in keeping historical records of a society, in protecting cultures and in furthering the growth of languages through practical use. The OpenSpeaks Accessibility toolkit will help low-resource language speakers identify the critical accessibility needs during audiovisual linguistic documentation, and ensure that published materials are available in the long term. 

Going forward the toolkit will pave the way for all media creators/users. This open toolkit is an opportunity to invite language activists and disability rights advocates to create closer bonds of solidarity, in a digital age that too often leaves speakers of under-resourced languages as well as people with disabilities out of the conversation, resulting in a lack of comprehensiveness, diversity and ultimately a lack in trust in online information.

To learn more about UNLOCK acceleration program and follow the future calls, you can find the information on their website.