In 2017, as employees on the Open Innovation Team (a new team made from the combination of the participation and innovation teams), we’re shifting our focus and resources toward experimenting with new open source and open innovation methods. This has some implications for community support activities, which we want to explain in this post.
Some background - still not “winning” with open methods
In examining the approaches we’ve been taking over the past few years, product and technology teams at Mozilla are still not benefitting from open and participatory methods as much as we would all hope. And despite important improvements in the past couple of years, we can still get much better at having interesting opportunities for contributors and external collaborators.
And yet, more than ever Mozilla believes that participation and broader external engagement is a key part of what makes us Mozilla and needs to be a key part of our success moving forward. Creating a multi-year strategy for achieving competitive advantage through open methods has been highlighted as a main goal for Mozilla overall in 2017; this is a project our team will be leading.
(Keep an eye out here - on Discourse - for opportunities to participate in this strategy definition, including a community census!)
Focusing on open source and open innovation experiments with product and technology teams
Mozilla communities accomplished a lot in 2016 and we’re very proud of how we together (employees, Reps Council, many others) improved ways of supporting these communities. While initiatives like the Activate platform provided a new way to surface opportunities, the impact from participation is not reaching the potential we would all hope.
Because of this, we’re changing our approach in 2017: Employees on the Open Innovation team will be focusing on experimenting with new open source and open innovation methods, in partnership with product and technology teams across Mozilla.
We’ll be supporting projects like figuring out how sentiment analysis of project discussions can predict contributor engagement, and trying new methods of sourcing ideas to solve hard problems, like the Equal Rating Innovation Challenge. We’ll have more of these to talk about in the near future, and as always welcome your ideas.
Community support will change in 2017 - we’re relying on volunteer mobilizers
Focusing on open source and open innovation experiments will mean some changes for community development activities.
We’ll have less employee time dedicated to regional community support and initiatives like the community gatherings. We won’t be adding major new tools, like we did in 2016 with the leadership toolkit or coaching training materials (though we will be using these as part of existing and new initiatives, like improving Reps onboarding).
As a result of these changes, we’re relying even more on volunteer mobilizers to support regional communities and distributed activities. We’ve seen some good success from the Reps Regional Coaches and so we’ll be expanding that program and investing even more heavily in these “super-mobilizers”. And we hope that tools created last year (like the leadership toolkit mentioned above, an event playbook, etc) will be used by regional communities in a self-serve way.
We will continue investing in the Reps program evolution (RepsNext) and building-out more and better opportunities on the Activate platform. Building-out Campus Clubs, with a focus on technical and open source contribution, will be a major priority. And we’re excited about working on a diversity and inclusion strategy for community development at Mozilla.
There’s a lot more detail about this work in the 2017 Objectives and Key Results for community development.
Some of these changes involved tough decisions and prioritizations, and we didn’t make any of them lightly. We realize that many of you may feel the effects of these in the short-term.
We wanted to finish by emphasizing: As we move forward with a more technology and product-focused approach, we’re going to need to shift not only some of our activities but our thinking as well – it’s easy to fall back on our habits. This year we’ll need talented mobilizers and new collaborators who can push us all to think differently, to prove that open and collaborative methods are how we achieve Mozilla’s mission.
Lucy & George