Press releases/World Economic Forum

THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ANNOUNCES TECHNOLOGY PIONEERS 2008: The Wikimedia Foundation SELECTED

St. Petersburg, FL, 29 November 2007 — The World Economic Forum today announced 39 visionary companies selected as Technology Pioneers 2008. The Wikimedia Foundation has been selected as one of these Technology Pioneers. The Technology Pioneers 2008 were nominated by the world’s leading technology experts, including venture capitalists, technology companies, academics and media. The final selection from 273 nominees was made by a panel of leading technology experts appointed by the World Economic Forum. Technology Pioneers 2008 are invited to participate in the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008 that will be held in Davos, Switzerland, from 23-27 January and in the Annual Meeting of the New Champions that will be held in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China from 25-27 September 2008.

Information on the Technology Pioneer: One of this year's Technology Pioneers is the international charity, the Wikimedia Foundation. The organization operates nine free content projects, including the ever-popular Wikipedia. Each project is collaboratively written by thousands of volunteers throughout the world, and is available in numerous languages. Florence Devouard is Chair of the Board and was elected by the Wikimedian international community.

“We are honored that the Wikimedia Foundation was chosen as a technology pioneer. However, I must point out that the organization itself is only partly responsible of our amazing success in developing and applying highly transformational and innovative technologies in the area of information.
The real recognition goes to the thousands of wikimedians, editors and developers of MediaWiki, all over the world, who have been the source and the spirit of our projects in the past 7 years.
The nomination is a reminder of the amazing things humans can accomplish when working collaboratively and positively together. It is also the inspiration we need to continue empowering world citizens to share in the sum of all human knowledge. Allow me to use this opportunity to say to all those who have worked so hard to make Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects so valuable: thank you.” stated Devouard.

Technology Pioneers are companies that have been identified as developing and applying highly transformational and innovative technologies in the areas of energy, biotechnology and health, and information technology. To be selected as a Technology Pioneer, a company must be involved in the development of life-changing technology innovation and have the potential for long-term impact on business and society. In addition, it must demonstrate visionary leadership, show all the signs of being a long-standing market leader – and its technology must be proven. Previous Technology Pioneers have included Business Objects, Cambridge Silicon Radio, Corel Corporation, Encore Software, Google, Mozilla Corporation and Napster.

The companies’ products and services include identity management on the Internet, understanding of individuals’ genetic information, robotic radiosurgery, pollution control materials, low-cost remote diagnosis solutions, virtual interface technologies, wiki-based projects and next-generation business intelligence solutions.

Twenty-three of the Technology Pioneers 2008 are US-based companies. Israel and Switzerland each boast three; the United Kingdom and Sweden two each; and Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands and Russia, one each. Technology Pioneers are nominated in three main categories: Energy/Environment, Biotechnology/Health and Information Technology.

The entire list of Technology Pioneers and interviews with the CEOs of the selected companies can be found here: http://www.weforum.org/techpioneers/2008.

“This year the World Economic Forum received a record number of applications from companies around the world to become a Technology Pioneer. From a highly competitive field, we are extremely pleased to have a community that is using innovation and technology to dramatically affect the way society and business operate and doing so in a markedly collaborative manner. We are excited to welcome the Technology Pioneers class of 2008 to the larger community of the World Economic Forum and we are looking forward to the fruits that their collaboration will bring,” said Peter Torreele, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum.

The selection criteria include:

  1. Innovation. The company’s technology must be truly innovative. A new version or repackaging of an already well-accepted technological solution does not qualify as an innovation. The innovation should be recent – not more than two years old. The company should invest significantly in R&D.
  2. Potential Impact. The company’s technology must have the potential to have a substantial long-term impact on business and society in the future.
  3. Growth and Sustainability.' The company should have all the signs of being a long-term market leader and should have well-formulated plans for future development and growth.
  4. Proof of Concept. The company must have a product on the market or have proven practical applications of the technology. Companies in “stealth” mode and companies with untested ideas or models will not qualify.
  5. Leadership. The company must have visionary leadership that plays a critical role in driving the company towards reaching its goals.
  6. Status. The company must not currently be a Member of the World Economic Forum. This criterion applies to the parent company – thus wholly-owned subsidiaries of large firms are not eligible.

Other information

The Wikimedia Foundation is currently in the middle of its fundraiser, which will run to December 22, 2007. Monies received will allow the Foundation to sustain the existing websites and develop more educational programs geared at empowering communities throughout the world by giving them access to free educational resources. This year, for example, several Wikipedia Academies were hosted in South Africa, with the hope of increasing the number of Wikipedias in African languages. For more information on these and other projects, please visit http://wikimediafoundation.org.

About us

About the Wikimedia Foundation

About the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. (www.weforum.org)

Notes to Editors

Last modified on 28 September 2008, at 15:13