Categories: Summit

Some assembly required.

This past week has been all about getting ready for the Summit Planning Assembly in Paris (I’m writing this from the air, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean).  While not in the driver’s seat for this meet-up, I have been happily, albeit sometimes uncomfortably, working along side the Assembly team to help shape the event.

The purpose of the Assembly, ultimately, is to generate a set of broad themes (opportunities, threats, challenges, issues, aspirations, etc.) that Mozillians feel, when addressed, discussed, hacked, solved, in a significant/intentional way, will move the Project and mission forward, through the next 15 years.   We will “harvest” these big themes at the weekend’s close and transform them, magically, into our 2013 Summit agenda.

This is a pretty lofty goal for a weekend and certainly would not happen without explicit intention and focused attention on this outcome.   I thought I would share out a bit of how we’re planning to go about it since the meet-up will not be streamed or recorded (we will photo-document and record participant interviews only.)

The majority of the Assembly will be facilitated by a group we’ve been working with for about nine-months –  They use “Open Space” methodologies to help groups run participant-lead meetings where content and outcomes are the responsibility of attendees, not meeting organizers.  The Mozilla Foundation uses an “unconference” approach at MozFest, so some of you may be familiar.  Here is a very brief outline of the weekend’s agenda:

Friday:  Evening reception dinner – lots of introductions, ice-breakers (so we can start to get to know one another), and expectation setting for the following two days.

Saturday:  Most of the first day will be spent discussing responses collected during pre-Assembly interviews (both those from the Mozillians we interviewed and our own thoughts/opinions).  Later in the day, representatives from our executive leadership team (Mark Surman, Mitchell Baker, Debbie Cohen, and Pete Scanlon) will offer their reflections on the conversations they have witnessed throughout the day and offer their own thoughts.

Sunday:  This will be our Open Space day, meant to move from broad discussion to a more honed set of themes.  We’ll have three sessions (about 45 minutes each) where smaller groups self-organize to more deeply discuss the topics/themes they are most passionate about.

The meeting facilitators will wrap the weekend by presenting back for discussion, the observed themes that we will focus on for the Summit.  The group will come to agreement on next steps including a declarative personal commitment.

(Reminder: This is a very brief outline only.)

I have never attended an unconference-type meet-up.  I am nervous in the unknown and excited at the same time.  My hope for all participants at the end of this weekend is that each will come away with:

  • one new friend
  • one new way of thinking about something
  • a sense of ownership/accountability to make the Summit a success.

The agenda will be published as part of official registration set for July 15th.

As always, if you have questions please ping us in IRC #summit2013 or email