Applications for Unlock 2018 will open soon.

Unlock 2017 was our inaugural civic innovation platform, exploring how technology and innovation are empowering civil societies across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Over 100 people from 25 different countries, representing the most creative minds in tech, activism and business came to Prague to showcase their projects, discuss new initiatives and make new connections.

From Big Data and drone investigations to home-made honey and media startups, Unlock 2017 explored how civic innovation and technology can drive social change and unleash a new generation of activism.


Highlights: Day One

Alexey Sidorenko, Rostislav Valvoda & Filip Noubel
Welcome and introduction
Emin Milli
Social media: Free media in Azerbaijan
Bektour Iskender
Social media: Participative and youth media in Kyrgyzstan
Kenan Aliyev, Ilya Krasilshchik, Adil Jalilov
How to build an audience with alternative discourses
Ilya Kurylev, Kirill Shtorm, Alejandro Masferrer, Sergey Golubkin, Nino Macharashvili
Gamification: Mainstreaming sensitive issues
Alexey Shlyapuzhnikov & Alistair Alexander
Cyber-security: How to foresee upcoming risks
Michał "czesiek" Czyżewski
Tracking corruption
Viktor Nestulia
Transparency & government accountability
Denis Gursky, Christiaan Triebert, Hrant Galstyan, Diana Okremova
Public investigations & Big Data
Alejandro Masferrer
Gamification: Building a project by playing (places limited)

Highlights: Day Two

Mike Bonanno (The Yes Men)
Disruptive media and technology
Alexey Sidorenko
Incubators for innovation
Nare Avagyan, Dmitri Romanovski, Michal Škop, Krzysztof Madejski,
Nino Macharashvili, Anel Moldakhmetova, Ruslan Leviev

Disruptive thinking
Mike Bonanno (The Yes Men)
Workshop: Applied disruption for projects
Kira Youdina
Business & human rights: Creating unlikely alliances
Andrey Misyurev
Client-centred activism
Guzel Sanzhapova, Ani Baboomian, Asem Zhapisheva, Aleksey Moshkin
Leaping from business to activism


Alistair Alexander

Tactical Tech

Alistair works for Tactical Tech on numerous digital projects, including,,, and has attended training, events and workshops with activists and campaigners. Last year, he helped set up a secure broadband communication network for the Ende Gelände climate camp in Germany, where 3,000 people shut down a coal mine and power station. He also opened The Glass Room in New York, an exhibition on data and privacy which has been visited by 10,000 people.

Kenan Aliyev

Current Time

(Настоящее Время)

Kenan Aliyev is the Executive Editor of Current Time (Настоящее Время), a new Russian-language TV channel. He helped design the concept of Current Time and is in charge of content output. The station currently distributes its products to more than 50 affiliate stations around the world. Before launching Current Time, Kenan was the director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani service, Radio Azadliq, which won an Association of International Broadcasting award for its coverage of the 2009 constitutional referendum. Kenan has also worked in Washington DC as a regular contributor to the BBC World Service and a broadcaster for Voice of America, receiving VOA’s Gold Medal Award for professional achievement in 2003. In 2016, he won the RFE/RL’s  Presidential Award for his work with Current Time. Kenan was born in Azerbaijan and studied journalism in Baku and Washington DC. He speaks Azerbaijani, English, Russian, Czech and Turkish.

Nare Avagyan

Tumo Center for Creative Technologies

Nare Avagyan works for the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, in Gyumri, Armenia. Tumo is a free of charge after-school educational programme, which merges technology and art to provide teenagers with everything they need to give them a competitive edge in a digital world. There are four focus areas: animation, game development, web design and filmmaking. These areas are complemented with education in a variety of skills including 3D modelling, programming, robotics and music production. Nare holds a degree in biology and psychology from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Prior to moving to Armenia from Los Angeles, she worked as a behavioural therapist with children affected by autism spectrum disorders. Her experience of working with young teens played a large role in her decision to move to Armenia and become involved in the educational sphere. Nare enjoys outdoor activities, particularly hiking and in 2014 she fulfilled one of her life goals of climbing both peaks of Mount Ararat.

Ani Baboomian

Impact Hub Yerevan

Ani manages programmes and events for Impact Hub Yerevan, a pioneering organisation on entrepreneurship for social impact, and one of 90 members of the Impact Hub Global Network. In Armenia, the Hub offers an inspiring and nurturing community for enablement, exchange and collaboration for innovators, change makers, startups, and businesses focused on moving society forward. Ani has recently managed programmes in partnership with the German development agency GIZ, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union delegation in Armenia. During her twenties, Ani coordinated construction crews in post-soviet Armenia, a strictly male-only industry, – a challenge in adaptability and leadership which shaped her future career. She was part of the design and construction management team of the Tumo Centre for Creative Technologies, a non-profit landmark project providing free education, fostering skills and creativity at the intersection of art and technology. Ani holds

Mike Bonanno

The Yes Men

Mike is an internationally-renowned multimedia artist, leading member of The Yes Men and an associate professor of media arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is the co-founder of RTmark and the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship, where he worked on a project which used GPS and wireless technology to create a new medium to view his documentary Grounded. He also received the Creative Capital award in the Emerging Fields sector in 2000. He has a degree in Studio Art from Reed College in Portland, Oregon and an MFA in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego.

Michal “czesiek” Czyżewski

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)

Michal is a hacker for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. He also works as a digital security trainer, a privacy and digital rights advocate, and is a free software enthusiast. He is a proud member of the Warsaw Hackerspace and a former Warsaw CryptoParty host.

Hrant Galstyan

Hrant is a journalist for, the media outlet of the Investigative Journalists NGO, specialising in investigations in Armenia. He covers social issues, corruption, technology and art. He is also interested in media studies and theoretical approach to media texts and practices. Hrant holds a Master Degree in Journalism (Communication, Media and Society) from Yerevan State University. He is eager to learn new ways of storytelling and participates in different training courses and international projects, as well as training local journalists. He has also recently become involved in data-driven stories.

Sergey Golubkin


Sergey Golubkin is a designer, producer and gamification expert in board and digital games. He currently teaches at the High School of Economics in Moscow and produces games for his publishing company GEMENOT. He previously worked for UbiSoft (UPlay Platform), Flexis (Mobile games and innovate digital products) and Nival (PC and online games). Sergey has over 30 published board games and 20 digital games in his portfolio. He is also a professional Magic the Gathering player.

Denis Gursky


Denis is the founder of the NGO SocialBoost, co-founder of the 1991 Open Data Incubator. He also helped to initiate open data reform in Ukraine, developing the National Open Data Portal, working as an Open Data Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, and also participating in the International Open Data Index for Ukraine. He now works on startups based on open data in the agricultural, energy and infrastructure sectors, and is helping to nurture the Ukrainian startup scene through a hackathon series and a variety of lobbying initiatives.

Bektour Iskender

Bektour Iskender is an independent news publisher from Kyrgyzstan. He is the co-founder of Kloop Media, an NGO and leading news publication in Kyrgyzstan, committed to freedom of speech and to training young journalists to cover politics and culture. Most journalists at Kloop are between the ages of 14 and 25, and have broken stories about government corruption, social issues and discrimination along with covering breaking news and international affairs.

Adil Jalilov

MediaNet International Centre of Journalism

Adil Jalilov is the director of MediaNet International Centre of Journalism based in Kazakhstan, and a media trainer and consultant. MediaNet acts as a space for discussion, information and consultancy to support human rights initiatives and organisations. It also runs opinion polls and surveys, and became the first group to launch a fact-checking resource in Kazakhstan, Adil has also founded a number of educational projects, including Media School, an independent journalism school based in Kazakhstan. He was previously chief editor of, editor of Oasis in Kazakhstan, and editor of human rights project IWPR in Central Asia.

Ilia Krasilshchik


Ilia is the publisher and founder of the Meduza Project, an independent online Russian-language media outlet based in Latvia. Meduza was launched in October 2014, and in March 2016 had a monthly readership in excess of seven million unique visitors, 650,000 app downloads and 1.5m followers on social media, with 70% of the audience is based inside Russia. Before launching Meduza, Krasilshchik spent five years as the editor of Afisha, one of the most influential entertainment and city life magazines in Moscow.

Ilya Kurylev

Gamification Now

Ilya is a gamification expert and founder of Gamification Now. He focuses on implementing game mechanisms in online projects and mobile phone applications. He has 10 years of experience as a games designer, including leading the game mechanisms team at, where he was in charge of gamers’ participation and loyalty. Through game mechanisms, he works on a large number of issues, such as customer and client loyalty, employee effectiveness, information transfers about new products, and increasing sales. His main clients include Odnoklassniki, Bitriks24, Vash Repetitor, LitRes, Benetton and He has also worked as methodologist and evangelist for Lean Startup and acted as mentor in start-up accelerators such as FROO, Yandex Startup Camp, AlfaKemp and Lean Startup Machine. He continues to play games and considers audio books a greater mark of progress than cinema.

Ruslan Leviev

Conflict Intelligence Team

Ruslan Leviev co-founded a number of journalism and investigative projects in Russia. He launched Conflict Intelligence Team, which focuses on documenting armed conflicts and collaborates with global media and professional organisations.  He also founded – a provider of live broadcasting on-demand with 170,000 live viewers, and non-profit group Aviastudent which promotes the use of small drones to study the atmosphere.

Nino Macharashvili

Nino Macharashvili


Nino worked at JumpStart Georgia, an NGO specialising in data communications, as a data journalist and projects coordinator,. In May 2017, she left JumpStart to pursue her passion of data storytelling. With her team, she started a new organisation, ForSet, an NGO with a startup mindset specialising in effective communications through data, design and technology. Nino also leads the board of Digital Communication Network, an international network of more than 3,000 digital communication professions. She teaches Data Journalism at universities in Georgia, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Tbilisi State University (Georgia) and a Master of Arts in Creative and Media Enterprises from University of Warwick (UK).

Krzysztof Madejski

ePaństwo Foundation

Krzysztof Madejski works for ePF Foundation, an NGO whose mission is to develop democracy, open and transparent authorities and drive civic engagement through new technologies. He also co-ordinates the Code for Poland community of developers, designers and activists and has organised over 20 civic-tech projects and two hackathons across Poland. Krzysztof’s other projects include, which publishes standardised parliamentary data for eight Visegrad and Balkan countries, and PublicData.Gov.PL, the official open data platform. He is also the CEO of Miasto Moje A W Nim, an NGO which lobbies for the regulation of advertising in public spaces. Before joining the ePF Foundation in 2014, he worked at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Mikhail Maglov

Municipal Scanner

Mikhail is a member of the anti-corruption project Municipal Scanner. This project was established in 2014 with the support of Russian politician Boris Nemtsov. Initially, it focused on anti-corruption investigations in the region of Yaroslav, near Moscow, but has grown to investigate corruption at a regional level and has recently started looking at Czech registers to identify property owned by Russian kleptocrats. Since 2008, he has been a member of the Russian opposition movement Solidarnost. Mikhail also worked as a gas and oil expert, developing plans to build oil refineries. He is currently a refugee.

Alejandro Masferrer

Gamification expert

Alejandro Masferrer is a creative strategist with vast experience in youth culture and entrepreneurialism. He has a strong interest in analysing and understanding social and cultural movements to help brands and organisations contribute to society. After starting his career as a graphic designer, he co-founded the first nomadic studio, The Pop Up Agency, in 2013. He now works as a consultant in strategy, creative processes and gamification.

Emin Milli

Meydan TV

Emin Milli is a media consultant and Managing Director of Meydan TV, an independent online media outlet for Azerbaijan. Meydan TV was launched in 2013 from Berlin, and now reaches 25 per cent of the population in Azerbaijan. It has around 500,000 followers on Facebook – in a country with a population of 10m. The Washington Post named Meydan TV an example to follow for independent media outlets launching in closed or semi-closed countries. Between 2002-2004 Emin was the co-ordinator of the Freidrich Ebert Foundation and, prior to that, was a co-ordinator at the International Republican Institute in Azerbaijan. In 2009, Emin was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for his critical views about the government. He served 17 months in jail. He holds a Master’s Degree in State, Society and Development studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

Andrey Misuryev

Bremen Consultants

Andrey is a service designer who provides communication strategies for non-profit organisations. He is the founder of Bremen Consultants, and is a speaker for Teplitsa and Service Design Russia. His main goal is to develop products and services that carry brand values for commercial and non-commercial organisations and retain audiences. He studied at the British Higher School of Art & Design.

Alexei Moshkin


Alexei is the founder of VR-Studio.BY, an organisation which creates visual content using sophisticated technical devises such as drones, panoramic and spherical cameras and virtual reality headshots. He is the operator light and heavy drones and is one of the pioneers of 360-degree shooting in Belarus. He has designed a number of 360-degree cameras and currently creates virtual reality marketing tools for the sale of residential real estate.

Anel Moldakhmetova

Almaty Urban Air

Anel is a coordinator of the Almaty Urban Air working group, a project developed to help independent air quality monitoring in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and raise public awareness on air pollution and health risks. The group also researches the sources of air pollution and prepares recommendations on air quality measures to city officials. Her main role is community building, stimulating civic engagement, organising public events and consulting civic initiatives. Anel is also a co-founder of the Urban Talks platform for city activists, professionals in urban development and city administration. She is interested in open data, communication, media and alternative forms of education and graduated from Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design (Moscow) where she studied Urban Routines.

Viktor Nestulia

Transparency International

Before the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity in 2014, Viktor worked in the country’s largest agro-industrial company where he was responsible for analysis and procurement. After the Revolution, he moved to the public sector as chief specialist looking at investment and co-operation with international financial organisations at the Ministry of Infrastructure. When the process of national public procurement reform was launched, he joined Transparency International as a co-ordinator of the ProZorro project. After successfully implementing the ProZorro e-procurement system, he has been working on building a monitoring ecosystem around ProZorro using innovative tools, risk indicators and the implementation of Open Contracting Data Standard. He also works on public sales and e-health issues.

Filip Noubel

Prague Civil Society Centre

Filip is innovations adviser for the Prague Civil Society Centre, designing programmes and workshops to help activists master new technologies and thinking to harness the power of civic innovation. Filip has worked on media and communications projects with groups including the United Nations, Internews and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting across Europe, China and Asia.

Diana Okremova

Legal Media Centre

Diana is the director of the Legal Media Centre public foundation in Kazakhstan. The Centre counsels journalists, represents individuals in court, researches the media, works to protect freedom of speech and studies the system of public media financing. It also takes part in the development of information legislation in the Kazakhstan Parliament and the Minister of Information and Communications. Diana is also a member of the Expert Council of the National Centre for Human Rights and has extensive experience in areas including legal regulations, the interaction between NGOs and the media, information campaigns and media coverage of human rights.

Dmitri Romanovski

TechSoup Europe

Dmitri runs the TransparenCEE project at TechSoup Europe, which aims to empower the civic tech community through international events, cross-regional projects, sharing civic tools, research and educational activities. Dmitri’s background is in journalism and civil society. He worked as a reporter for BBC Russia, Transitions Online, the Russian International News Agency and other media outlets. He has also worked for Front Line Defenders, OSCE RFoM, and the European Youth Press. He holds a double Master’s Degree in Russian, Central and Eastern European Studies from the University of Glasgow and Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Dmitri is passionate about youth empowerment and media freedom development in the EU and its neighborhood. In 2016, he developed a set of recommendations for OSCE Participating States on prosecution for social media activities.

Guzel Sanzhapova

Cocco Bello

Guzel is the founder of Cocco Bello, a boutique producer of honey products based in Maly Turysk, a village in the Ural Mountains. Cocco Bello is a social venture which employs elderly villages and vulnerable groups to produce honey and products using food and materials from their village. The project also helps support the development and improvement of the local area. Before joining Cocco Bello, Guzel was a personal assistant at SAP.

Aleksey Shlyapuzhnikov

Transparency International

Aleksey is a security consultant for Transparency International Russia, and was previously their deputy director for regional development. He has been in his current role since 2016, and is responsible for building comprhensive security systems, monitoring operational work and training staff members. He also trains other NGOs and independent media outlets on areas of IT security, both inside and outside Russia, and leads the “Lebed” movement, the news agency ProVladimir, and the independent media project SOL. A former blogger himself, he is now involved in professional media work, and has authored several books about current Russian affairs.

Kirill Shtorm

VR/AR/MR Conference

Kirill Shtorm is a community manager for the RPG project at Mail.RU and a project manager for the Moscow “VR/AR/MR Conference” on 8 June. He previously worked for the interactive platform Mars, which provides gamified education services in Moscow. He studied game project management at the Moscow Higher School of Business Informatics and participated in different roleplaying festivals such as Igrokon and Rolekon. He also worked for Transparency International Russia, where he developed a board game about corruption. Kirill studied journalism at Vladimir State University in Russia.

Alexey Sidorenko


Alexey is Director of “Teplitsa: Technologies for Social Good”. He is an active member of civil society and leads a collective of more than 30 individuals in various regions of Russia who spread knowledge about new tools for civil society organisations and social entrepreneurs. Throughout his career, Alexey has collaborated with various civic groups, think tanks, and international communities, including Carnegie Moscow Centre, Global Voices Online, Freedom House, and Reporters Without Borders. In 2010, he developed the “Help Map” project, an award-winning crowdsourcing initiative to help the victims of summer wildfires. Since 2012, he has run Teplitsa, a project to help Russian NGOs with IT and innovative ways of civic engagement. Teplitsa runs the largest Russian-language civic tech portal, attracting more than 10,000 unique readers a day. It also organises hackathons and meetups (201 events in 2016 in 9 Russian regions) and develops open source software. Alexey regularly presents at Personal Democracy Forum Central and Eastern Europe. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography (Moscow State University, 2010) and speaks Polish, English, and Russian.

Michal Škop


Michal is a programmer with a background in mathematics, statistics and demographics. He is the co-founder of KohoVolit.EU, a civic organisation which uses data to empower citizens, for instance through voting advice applications which allow people to compare their views with real votes which took place in parliament. He is also a researcher with the Faculty of Law at Palacky University Olomouc.

Christiaan Triebert


Christiaan is a conflict researcher with Bellingcat, a multi-award winning collective that uses online open source information to investigate armed conflicts and corruption. Among other topics, Christiaan has focused on investigating Russian and Coalition airstrikes in the Middle East both for Bellingcat and in his capacity as geolocation expert for monitoring organisation Airwars. His reconstruction of the Turkish coup d’état attempt won  the Innovation Award of the European Press Prize. Christiaan aims to spread Bellingcat’s techniques and tools by giving worldwide digital forensics workshops, for example in Iraq, Ukraine and Colombia. He holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict, Security & Development from King’s College London.

Rostislav Valvoda

Prague Civil Society Centre

Rostislav is Executive Director of the Prague Civil Society Centre. He has a decade of experience working in human rights across Russia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. He launched the Prague Civil Society Centre in 2014 while head of the East European programme at People in Need, where he also started programmes in Azerbaijan and the northern Caucasus. He was also one of founders the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum.

Kira Youdina

World Economic Forum

Born in Kyrgyzstan and raised in the United States, Kira now calls Switzerland her home. Through various positions at organisations such as UPR Info and the Prague Civil Society Centre, Kira’s main focus has been to provide support to civil society organisations from all over the world. In her current role at the World Economic Forum, she is working to find common ground between business and civil society in their efforts to protect and promote human rights.

Asem Zhapisheva


Asem is a journalist from Kazakhstan. She is currently the editorial director of Oyla, a magazine which aims to make science accessible to everybody. She writes in both Kazakh and Russian and her work is franchised to outlets in Australia and New Zealand. Before joining Oyla, Asem was a journalist, editor and PR manager for various organisations, including Kazakh Red Crescent.