In Spring of 2017 the Open Innovation team conducted a strategy research project that identified a large number of individuals who support and contribute to Mozilla in ways that provide value for our products, technologies and mission not directly through code contributions.
When we analyzed the Communities & Contributors Research we were able to identify 4 engagement groups of people who are primarily driven by Mozilla’s mission:
Local Groups (E.g. - Clubs)
Regional Communities & Product Evangelism (E.g. - Web VR, Marketing, Reps)
Mission Evangelism (E.g. - Advocacy & Web Literacy)
Product Support (E.g. - SUMO, L10N)
There is some movement between these contribution clusters and all of these contributors report being motivated by a desire to have an impact on the Mozilla mission.
While we lack the ability to get a definitive number, estimates based on Mozillian profiles and estimated community sizes suggest there are currently between 3000-4000 Enthusiasts.
Challenges Facing Mission-Driven Mozillians
At Mozilla we have always had some form of engagement with Mission-Driven Mozillians communities and contributors. Over the years Mozilla’s activities and campaigns have attracted tens of thousands of people eager to evangelize, localize, advocate and support the mission.
We know that when we have set clear expectations about the goals of the individuals and the goals of the organization, and matching that with appropriate investment levels we have created healthier and impactful Mozilla-community relationships. One example of such as success was the recent Quantum Sprint or the #NewFirefox campaign.
However, we have been executing diverse strategies at different times through different teams without rigorously having established a cohesive approach or value proposition for how these Mission-Driven Mozillians contributions can best support Mozilla’s mission.
For staff who work most directly with contributors a lack of centralized systems has made it very difficult to get the support they need and to stay aligned with other parts of the organization.
For non-coding contributors there is a frustration when their contributions are misaligned with the organization’s expectations, and not valued or recognized as a result. They experience disillusionment when continuous changing direction from the organization and lack of short-term direction leaves them feeling incapable of contributing effectively, and confused when, as they move across the organization, they have inconsistent experiences with different teams who aren’t aligned on goals or priorities.
We believe there is untapped potential in the Mission-Driven Mozillians communities with which we engage but in order to move forward we must make some choices and become much more intentional on where or how we invest in our Mission-Driven Mozillians communities.
The Mission-Driven Mozillians Communities Project
The goal of this project is two fold:
- To produce a proposal about the impact of Mission-Driven Mozillians communities and get alignment with Mozilla Leadership around direction.
- To produce a strategy and roadmap for implementing structures and processes to optimize the health and impact of Mission-Driven Mozillians communities.
This proposal is different to anything we have done in the past, we want to make a decision that will be incorporated in Mozilla’s 2018 strategy and that is a shared approach across the whole organization.
The initial proposal is being worked on by a small but diverse group of staff and core volunteers who are currently working on producing a first solid draft with the initial thinking, so we can share it with Mozilla leadership for feedback and sign-off.
The proposal will address this set of 11 themes that surfaced in our interviews with staff and volunteers:
Regional/local/geographic identities: Approach, formation, visibility
Diversity and Inclusion: How do we ensure D&I across everything we do?
Metrics: How do we measure activity across all areas?
Accountability: What are the expectations around accountability in different volunteer and staff roles?
Volunteer Leadership: How do we approach leadership roles?
Recognition: What’s our strategy for recognizing and motivating contributors?
Systems - tools & Comms: What’s the strategy around the tools that enable contributions? How do we communicate with volunteers?
Opportunity Matching: How do we surface, present and decide on opportunities to contribute?
Competitive Advantage: What are the key factors where contributions provide a unique value? How do we leverage them?
Staff Support: What’s our strategy around community-facing staff and workflows?
Onboarding: How do we welcome and approach volunteers into their first contribution?
We are currently also kicking off a process, with the same group of staff and volunteers, of framing broad conversation for each of these areas, that we’ll be inviting everyone to engage in as we begin to think about strategy and implementation. This needs to be a collaborative process across the organization.
The first topic will be Volunteer Leadership - this is how you can engage. We choose this as the first one because most volunteers engaging in the first phase of this project are part of leadership roles and programs at Mozilla right now.
In the meantime, we would like to know:
- What do you think about this project framing?
- What challenges do you see/experience related to each theme?
- Which opportunities do you think we can unleash?
- Would you add anything else?
You can find this project at Mozilla’s wiki.
If you are interested in getting updates about this project, please subscribe to the mission-mozillians tag.
Lucy and Rubén (Open Innovation Team)