As Lucy and George noted in January, it is an important year for advancing openness in Mozilla. Openness defines Mozilla more than anything, in both what we make and in how we operate. But we also believe that our openness is not always the competitive advantage for Mozilla that we know it can be, and we need it to be. For this reason, we’ve started a project to define a long-term Open Innovation strategy for Mozilla.
The project will show how being open and participatory by design gives us a way to change the rules of the game in our favour. To set the foundation for the project, we’re kicking off our research components now:
- internal research - interviewing Mozilla staff about their work with communities
- a detailed, data-driven look into our communities and contributors, and
- an analysis of the external open innovation landscape
For most people here, #2 in this list is of particular interest. To give a sense of the types of questions we’re digging into: we aim to understand Mozilla’s relationships with existing volunteers and collaborators, who they are, how and where they engage, their motivations, and how they’re connected to one another as well as to other open source and open Web projects. Part of this will involve analysing years of contribution data (in Bugzilla, GitHub and elsewhere) and part will involve surveying and interviews (and reading through existing documentation about this including Discourse!). Very important for this work is to develop a better understanding of the many and varied motivations of contributors to the project. I know that this is not the first time these questions have been studies - but I think it is the first time that we’ve looked at this in the context of the rest of the research.
This is a project with a large number of stakeholders. Mozilla communities of volunteers and contributors are one of the main groups that are essential to the success of the project. I’ll aim to communicate updates and findings on a regular basis here - but for more details of our process, who’s involved, and the timeline, please have a look on our wiki.
In parallel, George will start a broader conversation about all of the large ongoing strategy projects at Mozilla, and how this one fits in. You’ll hear about this soon from George. [update: George’s post is here.]
Many of us are very excited about the project. I firmly believe it’s much needed, and success will mean that we connect projects with contributors in more, and in more valuable, ways. Everyone in the project team would like to thank everyone in advance for their participation in the research, and of course, your questions (or just your thoughts) are most welcome.