Open Knowledge Festival 2014 report: out now!

Today we are delighted to publish our report on OKFestival 2014!

Open Knowledge Foundation-Festival 2014 at Kulturbrauerei in Berlin.

This is packed with stories, statistics and outcomes from the event, highlighting the amazing facilitators, sessions, speakers and participants who made it an event to inspire. Explore the pictures, podcasts, etherpads and videos which reflect the different aspects of the event, and uncover some of its impact as related by people striving for change – those with Open Minds to Open Action.

Want more data? If you are still interested in knowing more about how the OKFestival budget was spent, we have published details about the events income and expenses here.

If you missed OKFestival this year, don't worry – it will be back! Keep an eye on our blog for news and join the Open Knowledge discussion list to share your ideas for the next OKFestival. Looking forward to seeing you there!

OKFestival 2014: we made it! A write-up & Thank You note

Open Knowledge Festival 2014! We built it, made it and ran it – it was a blast, thank you!

  • 1056 participants from 60 countries
  • 215 facilitators and moderators
  • 17 Programme Team members
  • 70 volunteers

made it all happen. Who says that numbers are dry? Just by writing them down, our hearts are melting.


Group work! – Pic by Gregor Fischer

Six weeks have passed since the end of OKFestival 2014, many of you participated in our feedback survey, we all caught up with the lack of sleep and are now hard at work with the public post-event report which will be shared on the festival website in the next few weeks (keep your eyes peeled!).

At the festival, we tried a lot of experiments, and experimenting is both risky and thrilling – and you were up for the challenge! So we thought it was time to take a moment to have a look at what we built together and celebrate the challenges we bravely took on and the outcomes that came out of them (and, yes, there are also learnings from things which could have gone better – is there any event with bullet-proof WiFi? can a country not known to be tropical and not used to air conditioning experience a heat wave on the 2 days out of 365 when you'll run an event?)

Rocking selfies! – Pic by Burt Lum

Summing it up:

  • an event for the whole open movement: we were keen to be the convenor of a global gathering, welcoming participants from all around the world and a multitude of folks from open communities, organisations, small and big NGOs, governments, grassroots initiatives as well as people new to the topic and willing to dive in. We wanted to create an environment connecting diverse audiences, thus enabling a diverse groups of thinkers, makers and activists to come together and collaborate to effect change.

Ory Okolloh & Rufus Pollock fireside chat – Pic by Gregor Fischer

  • hands-on and outcome-driven approach: we wanted the event to be an opportunity to get together, make, share and learn with – and from – each other and get ready to make plans for what comes next. We didn't want the event to be simply wonderful, we also wanted it to be useful – for you, your work and the future of the open movement. We’ve just started sharing a selection of your stories on our blog and more is yet to come this month, with the launch of our public post-OKFestival report, filled out with outcome stories you told us in the weeks after the event – who you met, what did you start to plan, what’s the new project coming out of the festival you’re already working on as we speak!

Meeting, talking, connecting! – Pic by Gregor Fischer

  • narrative streams: We made a bold choice – no streams-by-topic, but streams following a narrative. The event was fuelled by the theory that change happens when you bring together knowledge – which informs change – tools – which enable change – and society – which effects change. The Knowledge, Tools and Society streams aimed to explore the work we do and want to develop further beyond the usual silos which streams-by-topic could have created. Open hardware and open science, open government and open sustainability, open culture and open source, arts and privacy and surveillance.

Your vote, your voice! – Pic by Gregor Fischer

  • crowd sourced programme and participatory formats and tools (and powerpoints discouraged): We encouraged you to leave the comfort zone with no written presentations to read in sync with slides, but instead to create action-packed sessions in which all participants were contributing with their knowledge to work to be done together. We shared tips and tricks about creation and facilitation of such formats and hosted hangouts to help you propose your ideas for our open call – and hundreds of community members sent their proposals! Also, in the most participatory of the spirits, OKFestival also had its own unconference, the unFestival run by the great DATA Uruguay Team, who complemented our busy core programme with a great space where anyone could pitch and run her/his own emerging session on the spot, to give room and time to great new born ideas and plans. And a shout out also goes to a couple of special tools: our etherpads – according to the OKFestival Pad of Pads 85 pads have been co-written and worked with – and our first code of collaboration which we hope will accompany us also in future ventures!

Green volunteering power – always on! – Pic by Gregor Fischer

  • diversity of backgrounds, experiences, cultures, domains: months before we started producing the festival, we started to get in touch with people from all around the world who were running projects we admired, and with whom we'd never worked together before. This guided us in building a diverse Programme Team first, and receiving proposals and financial aid applications from many new folks and countries later on. This surely contributed to the most exciting outcome of all – having a really international crowd of the event, people from 60 countries, speaking dozens of different languages. Different backgrounds enriched everybody’s learning and networking and nurtured new collaborations and relationships.

Wow, that was a journey. And it's just the beginning! As we said, OKFestival aimed to be the fuel, the kick-off, the inspiration for terrific actions and initiatives to come and now it’s time to hear some of most promising stories and project started there!

You can start having taste following the ever-growing OKFestival Stories article series on our blog and be ready for more, when in the next weeks we'll publish more outcomes, interviews, quotes and reports from you, the protagonists of it all.

Thank you again, and see you very soon!

Your OKFestival Team

Thank you for joining us at Open Knowledge Festival 2014!


Thank you for joining us in Berlin and helping to shape OKFestival and the future of the open knowledge movement!

We hope that the event provided you with the opportunity to learn, to share and to connect with open knowledge advocates from around the world. While we were excited and inspired by the collaborations and activities we saw springing up over the course of the week, we know that we can always do better and we want to hear from you about what we did well and what you would change. Furthermore, we'd like to encourage all the festival participants to keep sharing – ideas, blogposts, photos, videos, anything which can make the work done last week together resonate with everyone who was there but also everyone who couldn’t join us in person but can still fuel the upcoming projects online!

So, in the spirit of Open Minds to Open Action – let's call for action!

i) Tell us how it was for you! Firstly, we'd like to ask for your feedback about the event to help us with planning for the future. We’d really appreciate your answers to this survey, which shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete:

ii) Content from the festival Next, we'd like to remind you of all the great content created at – and around – the Festival, and to encourage you to check it out and contribute to it.

  • Etherpads
    Every session had an etherpad, which is an online tool for note-taking. You can find them listed on the Sched page for the corresponding session or you may want to browse the “pad of pads” where they're all listed.
  • Photos
    We saw lots of great photos being tweeted from the event and would love to collect as many as possible in the festival Flickr pool so that everyone can find them. So whether you snapped people enjoying ice cream or artists creating graffiti, please do add your images to the group here.
  • Articles & blog posts
    Again, we've seen lots of tweets sharing blog posts about the festival – if you’ve written one or seen one you liked, please add it to this document so we can gather them all in one place and put the links up as a record on the festival website.

Finally, if you’d like to relive some of the festival, you might want to check out our short video celebrating the event. Enjoy!

Thanks once again for your energy, contributions and enthusiasm in making Open Knowledge Festival 2014 our best event yet.

With love,
Your OKFestival Team

Open Knowledge Festival – Day 3 Storify

At this year’s festival we were helped by a fantastic team of volunteers, some of whom contributed to sharing updates about the event on social media. As well as tweeting and taking photos and video, each day they compiled a Storify of some of the top tweets. Below is the Storify for Day 3 of the festival which included keynotes from Neelie Kroes and Eric Hysen as well as ice cream, a graffiti wall and the closing party!

Open Knowledge Festival – Day 1 Storify

At this year’s festival we were helped by a fantastic team of volunteers, some of whom contributed to sharing updates about the event on social media. As well as tweeting and taking photos and video, each day they compiled a Storify of some of the top tweets. Below is the Storify for Day 1 of the festival which included the opening evening Open Knowledge Fair.

Accessibility at OKFestival 2014

Equality and inclusivity of all people, in all our varieties, are core values for OKFestival. We think that openness is not only about open knowledge and data, but also about opening possibilities and opportunities for everyone. Opening up our societies also means making activities and communities accessible to all people.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 8.17.33 PM

We know that there's no “standard participant” at OKFestival – we all vary in our cognitive, emotional, and physical skills; we differ in age and experience. When building the event, we focussed on accessibility in two forms: attitude and infrastructure.

i) Attitude
We gain strength from diversity, and we actively seek participation from those who enhance it. That's why we crafted the OKFestival User Guide, our code of collaboration. The User Guide exists to ensure that diverse groups collaborate to mutual advantage and enjoyment. We will challenge any prejudice that could jeopardise the participation of any person in the festival. We aim to welcome to everybody to an event that celebrates our infinite diversity, so that we can all just relax and contribute.

ii) Infrastructure
Participants are the true experts on what they need. It follows that the more information we provide, the better equipped they are to judge whether the event will work for them. OKFestival want to be honest about the access we can’t provide, even if this requires admitting that we can't offer all the options we would have liked, in order to save our participant from having expectations we can’t meet.

What we WILL be able to provide at OKFestival 2014:

  • Screen reader accessible material: all printed materials will be available in electronic form. This makes them accessible for people who use screen reader technology (used by some sight impaired people).
  • Reserved row of seats: in the rooms hosting the keynote sessions we'll mark off some chairs in the front of the room for hard of hearing and deaf. These chairs will be front and centre for lip readers.
  • Wheelchair accessible restrooms: the venue has two wheelchair accessible restrooms, both are clearly labelled in the venue map.
  • Gender neutral restroom: a more welcoming restroom option for transgendered people and others with non-traditional gender identities, nursing mothers looking for a private space to breastfeed or use a pump, parents of different sex children or different sex caretakers of the elderly or disabled needing a space in which they can comfortably be together and those with conditions needing more privacy than a traditional restroom can provide.
  • Food: food options at the festival will cater for both meat and vegan lovers and the catering staff will be happy to provide informations essentials to those with food allergies and sensitivities.
  • Privacy: our attendees list on the site only includes participants who allowed their name to be published; name badges are left blank so that participants can choose what to write on it and how to best identify themselves. We also provide no camera zones – spaces designated free from both photography and videography, clearly marked on the event map.

What we WON'T be able to provide (but will aim to provide in the future):

  • CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) is real time captioning for talks and can be displayed on overhead screens, for online audiences, and on videos of events. Captioning allows people to read along. It can also benefit people with attention disorders and people who have difficulties with English.
  • Audio translation and transcription in languages other than English to to make sessions more accessible and barrier-free (we're big fans of Chaos Communication Congress’ Subtitles project)
  • Full wheelchair accessibility to all venue areas: we have tried to ensure that as many areas as possible within the Festival venue are accessible and wheelchair friendly, but unfortunately a few spaces – M1, P1, K3 – can only be accessed via stairs. We have tried to limit the activities taking place in these areas and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.
  • Childcare: we believe that supporting parents with small children attending events is a great step forward towards inclusivity. However, we couldn't provide this service this year. But children are very much welcome and if participants feel comfortable/ find suitable to have their kid(s) with them at the event, please notice that:
    – parents with infants and older children are welcome to bring them
    – children under 12 don't need a ticket as long as they are accompanied by an adult with a ticket. If your children are over 12 and under 18 you’ll need to purchase student tickets for them

We hope you're looking forward to enjoying the festival together as much as we are, and that this information will aid you in having a fun and comfortable festival experience. See you in the crowd!

On Collaboration: The OKFestival User Guide

Collaboration is not easy. It takes great deal of effort and energy from everyone involved and simply put, collaboration is hard work.


Collaboration is also an essential element to all of our work. The commitment, the sweat and the long nights we put into open source projects, community initiatives, campaigns, workshops and sessions alone is not enough, these activities all require collaboration to be successful and in the end, we are all here to come together and use our collective strength to change our societies for the better.

We understand that in order for the festival to effectively support collaboration, we must create an environment that meets certain necessary conditions to foster this type of engagement, an environment rich with mutual respect, good faith, personal responsibility and inclusivity.

For this reason, we crafted we crafted an OKFestival User Guide – everything you need to know about how you can contribute to making a truly welcoming and collaborative festival environment.

The OKFestival User Guide can be described as a code of collaboration.

It's not a code of conduct (although we deeply admire a number of codes of conduct and were in fact informed by them in creating our user guide) because we felt we wanted to talk about both conduct and collaboration Ultimately, we concluded that the specific term and format wouldn’t have fit our purpose and we didn’t want confuse readers about our objectives. It’s called User Guide because we wanted to communicate our intent to guide, to accompany the participants in that terrifically rewarding journey which is collaborating, sharing knowledge, learning from each other and growing together.

We're happy and proud to introduce you to our User Guide and invite you to both read it and share your feedback by writing us at

Months of reading and talking brought us to present this to you today and we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the collaborators, teachers and guides, Allied Media, Ashe Dryden, Hacker School, who shared their learnings with the world and to the Ubuntu and Debian communities, who inspired the format of our writing.

The Open Knowledge Festival User Guide is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. You may re-use it for your own project, and modify it as you wish, just please allow others to use your modifications and give credit to the Open Knowledge Festival.

We hope you'll like to let the User Guide guide your festival experience as much as we do. See you soon in the crowd!