As I hope you know, Mozfest 2015 took place from November 6 to November 8 2015 at Ravensbourne UK. Mozfest is organised by Mozilla, but it is not entirely about Mozilla products. Instead, it aims to get people together talking about policies Mozilla cares about as an organisation – such as being open, promoting free speech, and working against surveillance.
I was invited to Mozilla Festival as part of my new role as a Participation Leader At Global Events™. As Official™ and Important™ as that sounds, it’s really not. Being a participation leader isn’t being above others – on the contrary, it’s encouraging other people to be leaders as well. We can all lead participation, together!
In the participation space, there was lots of discussion of problems people face contributing. Lack of time and organisation, lack of support for non-technical projects, and the perceived very high barrier to entry were just some of these. However, there was also lots of discussions on solutions, and mainly how we – as participation leaders – can change these things.
Apart from sharing ideas on how to participate, there were also practical sessions that helped defeat the notion that the barrier to entry was high, and showed people first-hand how they can be involved – as well as answered any of their questions. I ran my own session in this format, entitled “FirefoxOS app-building workshop”. It was a bigger success than imagined – we must have had about 15 participants! I kept the session very practical, making giving a very small starting tutorial on Firefox OS based on my workshop blog post. I can say that it went better than last year’s session – both in attendance and in participant satisfaction. By the end of the session, everybody had built something, which was exactly what I wanted. If you can build an app in one hour, it can’t be that hard, can it?
My inspiration from the festival was to continue spreading the ‘participation bug’ to others. I want them to know how good participating is and how easy it is to get involved. As such, I really want to run a similar workshop to my previous one, or an open source hackathon/workshop in my local community, which is my goal for 2016 as a participation leader!
What do you think? Is that a good idea? What would you do?