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FKI Strategy:
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Strategy |  Process |  About |  FAQ

Liberating Knowledge



This page is the current working draft of the FKI Strategy. You can find the main documents using the navigation menu above.

If you want to help us improve these documents with comments, suggestions and criticism you're very welcome to do so. Please see the Adoption process page for the best ways to do so.


Knowledge and Technology for a Free Knowledge Society

Overarching goal

Liberating Knowledge

Top-level goal

First and foremost, the FKI is a hub connecting networks and communities in multiple domains, facilitating and enabling study, sharing and collaborative development of free knowledge and free technologies.


The Free Knowledge Institute values freedom and sustainability through collaboration and empowerment. These encapsulate a host of related values illustrated below.
human dignity

access to knowledge
personal autonomy

community spirit
diversity of perspectives, culture and life


General Context

Our societies are facing unprecedented challenges in terms of sustainability. The economic, social and environmental issues are interrelated and inherently complex, requiring attention at international and local levels, and the pooling of knowledge from diverse sources and across cultures for innovative, sustainable solutions.

For such global cooperation to be effective, citizens (of the world) must be free to share and adapt knowledge resources to enable a common understanding of the challenges to permeate society, as we develop the collective wisdom to bring about global sustainability.

There are three main barriers which need to be overcome for this process to be successful:

  1. the artificial scarcity of immaterial goods (including software and other digital resources, ideas and knowledge), that have been privatised by intellectual monopolies [1] using patents and copyright
  2. the false conception that there is an abundance of material goods (environmental resources)
  3. belief in continual growth as a requirement for a functioning economy.
  4. the lack of awareness and guidance on what available knowledge is most relevant to moving the global knowledge society towards a path of sustainability.

The FKI is a hub of free knowledge communities addressing these barriers by educating people about the core shared concepts of free software, free culture and free knowledge, and their application in selected domains.

The FKI community engages in discussion, learning activities and advocacy around contemporary issues such as copyright reform, software and other questionable patents, proposed legislation which restricts citizens' freedom to participate in a free culture, use of free software in education and the public sector, and free knowledge for global sustainability.

Sharing knowledge and collective innovations are also emerging in the realms of physical goods and energy production. In practical terms, the FKI explores and educates organisations about new horizontal forms of organisation, peer production, do-it-yourself, self-organisation and different ownership and governance models, such as the commons. These new approaches, enabled by the Internet, are gaining momentum and beginning to define a new economic paradigm.

  1. Note that the term "intellectual property" should be avoided as it lumps together very different concepts, such as patents, copyright and trademarks into one confusing term. Furthermore, the very idea of "property" in the context of immaterial goods is under debate. See also Words to Avoid

Specific Context

The Free Knowledge Institute promotes free knowledge in all its forms. Our aim is to provide equal access to the tools for free production and sharing of knowledge. We work towards this aim together with local and global networks of autonomous actors.

Since its creation in 2007 the FKI has coordinated several international projects in the areas of Free Software, Open Standards, Open Educational Resources and Access to Knowledge. Through these activities the FKI core team has gained experience, acquired specialised skills and has built a considerable international network of partners and peers from research and educational institutions, industry and third sector organisations. These assets allow us to assist organisations which want to explore alternative business models or to tackle specific issues in the multiple fields where knowledge plays an important part.

The primary focus of the first five years (free software, open standards and establishing an education platform) enabled the FKI community to grow and to broaden its horizons to embrace new domains. These are proposed and driven by community members working in the relevant fields (see Domains). One of FKI's priorities in these domains is to educate existing and emerging communities about the freedom issues related with the free knowledge society and to advise and participate on a practical level.


The mission of the FKI is to educate people about free knowledge and free technology to a level at which they become effective participants in their domains of interest thereby enriching the broader free knowledge society.


First and foremost, the FKI is a hub connecting networks and communities in multiple domains, facilitating and enabling study, sharing and collaborative development of free knowledge and free technologies.

Map of Intermediate Objectives (discuss)

With its small but inspired and dynamic team with a shared vision for the future, the FKI aims to play a key role in bringing about the free knowledge society. This project requires an institute which is sustainable, efficient, and effective in its own right, in keeping with its aim of inspiring and enabling growth of free knowledge communities in multiple domains.

The figure above maps the intermediate objectives we have set if we are to play this key role.

Central to our strategy is establishing sustainable communities of participants around the FKI: a stable network of partners and peers with whom we can work and a certain number of learners who can study the different aspects of free knowledge while becoming active participants (learning by doing). If this is to work, the FKI needs to be in touch with learners, sensitive to trends and able to anticipate student needs.

The FKI has a modus operandi which supports and nurtures the relationships needed to sustain the FKI itself and the surrounding communities of learners, researchers and domain practitioners.

This, of course, influences our internal and operational effectiveness. Well managed internal relationships extended to partners and peers lead to positive relationships with the communities associated with the Institute.

Since we see strong relationships as the key to success, our communication strategy keeps us up to date with all the information sharing and interactions required to keep these relationships vibrant and active. The FKI continually explores innovative models for sustainability - both monetary and non-monetary.

The FKI is basically sustainable, -beyond economic models-, because of its social impact, and the support it receives from communities also striving to create a more just world.

Modus operandi

The FKI consists of a core team supported by a distributed network of partners and contributors working on various activities. In order to accommodate diverse groups collaborating on tasks of varying complexity and urgency, the following principles have been established:

Shared Purpose

We begin with a clear vision for the FKI and a shared understanding of its goals. The Map of Intermediate Objectives (IO Map) serves to detect needs to guide in designing, selecting and prioritising activities.


Our partners are diverse in terms of culture, positions held, experience, interests, language, geographical location, time zones, and have different levels of commitment or participation: activities vary from informal volunteer support to formalised project work. Hence, almost all our interactions are conducted with a combination of synchronous (usually IRC) and asynchronous (e.g. via wikis and forums) communication to maximise benefits.


When needed, and especially when there is a sense of urgency, we facilitate focused goal-directed face-to-face, teleconference and/or IRC interactions using free software tools to enable and record the interactions on-the-fly. Examples include free software for VoIP such as Ekiga, IRC tools, MediaWiki, LibreOffice with change tracking, etc. In order to assist the community and teams, services like mailing lists and web-based platforms, most noticeably the FTA Campus environment and the community platform are run on our servers.

Besides to facilitating participation and transparency, such services streamline recording of proceedings and enable involvement by others who are not able to be physically present at the time. The Induction Manual summarises various available tools.

Shared values

Our values - also expressed in our Founding Principles - drive all our activities, and while we respect everyone's freedom of expression, our Code of Conduct suggests ways of being and behaving to maximise productive interaction.


As indicated in the IO Map above, communication is central to this strategy and merits a separate document. See Communication Strategy.

Value proposition

In brief, we offer a shared vision and platform for education, collaboration and advocacy in free knowledge and technology. The online platform is entirely based on free software and knowledge and is organised bottom-up. There are also learning, economic and activist opportunities. All our activities are imbued with the following goals and principles:

  • freedom: any individual or group has the same rights to FKI knowledge, whether it is software, text books, articles or other digital artefacts. While collaboration within the community has its advantages, everyone has the freedom to create a fork and continue along the way he or she sees fit (no lock-up);
  • consistency in values: walk the talk, practice what you preach. Use free software and free knowledge in every aspect, share them with peers;
  • flexible, self-directed collaborative learning;
  • accreditation via partners, and recognition by peers;
  • low-cost services;
  • agile on-demand course development;
  • autonomous development teams working together through the Free Technology Guild;
  • a common platform to participate in and run campaigns along these lines.