Knowledge Futures is an independent nonprofit organization powered by academic, industry, and advocacy groups. Together we build and support products and protocols to make knowledge open and accessible to all.
Founded in 2018 as a partnership between the MIT Press and the MIT Media Lab, Knowledge Futures was created to build sustainable tools and technologies for libraries, presses, museums, activist organizations, researchers, and others whose knowledge work seeks to serve collective understanding and the public. What began as a handful of grad students working on publishing tools grew to an organization focused on addressing the systemic challenges faced by public-oriented groups beholden to infrastructure that is designed with misaligned incentives and unjust power dynamics.
In September 2019 we formally organized as an independent 501c3 nonprofit. Today, we are committed to building a full-stack of technology protocols and products that demonstrate an effective, equitable, and sustainable knowledge economy is possible. We work with partners to design for interoperability and to catalyze a distributed ecosystem of development.
How we work
Knowledge Futures is guided by a set of values that drive and focus the work we do. From hiring, to product development, to day-to-day interpersonal relationships, these values serve as the ground truth for how we work.
Accessibility: We believe that just because knowledge is available doesn’t mean it’s truly accessible. We put ourselves in others’ positions to understand the barriers that prevent knowledge from being truly accessible to diverse groups around the world.
Conscientiousness: We value honesty and good-faith efforts to fulfill our duties and obligations as highly as success in its own right.
Curiosity: We approach challenges with an honest, experimental, problem-solving mindset. We bring an intellectual curiosity that explores problem spaces with openness and intrigue in ways that lead to important new ideas.
Egalitarianism: We acknowledges that all people deserve equality and fairness regardless of the individual circumstances of their life. We recognize that teams, especially distributed ones, are made of people who bring different perspectives, opportunities, and cultures that add to the strength of the team.
Systemic outlook: We prioritize solutions that tackle problems in systemic ways rather than iterating solely at the margins. We think systematically when we approach problems, rather than solely thinking locally.
Sustainability: We value solutions that are sustainable and durable for the long-term, even if they’re more difficult, over ones that are more expedient but less sustainable.
Statement of Independence
Knowledge Futures, Inc is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. We are committed to the independence and autonomy of Knowledge Future’s products and communities. We do not accept funding that would affect our ability to pursue work free of external interference, and we protect the independence of our staff, communities, and partners in their intellectual activities and relationships. We build our products in concert with the people who use them, implementing a bottom-up, community-led approach.