Concept Series: A time to evolve into something new. What is it? How will it work?

dchinniah

The present day Mozilla Labs Concept Series has been a hit with our community. Today though, we’d like to call on you to help us shape its future!

The Mozilla Labs Concept Series, with an open call for participation, has been around for a while now. We’ve seen awesome projects emerge and had thousands join the community, share ideas, develop concepts and give feedback shaping the future of many Web explorations.

The Seabird ‘Open Web Concept Phone’ alone, by community member Billy May, has had more than 1,000 blog comments and 2 million Youtube views to date.

Despite its initial success we feel it’s time to evolve the Concept Series into a larger scale program – take it to the next level and make it a whole lot bigger and better!

Aided by a team of global volunteers [0] working on the Crowdsource Crowdsourcing project, we’ve explored this goal and had an initial go ourselves. Their hard-work and tremendous insights have largely aided the initial proposals below.

Today we’d like to share our proposals and call on you for feedback to aid in shaping the future of the ‘new’ Concept Series.

[0] Coleman Foley, Roei Yellin, João Menezes, Jan Dittrich, Ryan Bubinski, Ajay Roopakalu, Peter Organisciak, Euge Ortiz, Jimmy Chion, Abraham Taherivand, Piyush Kumar, Zach Williams, Chao Xu & Ola Möller

Questions

To help outline our proposals we’ve attempted to answer 3 questions:

  1. What is the “new” Concept Series program?
  2. What are the aims of the Concept Series program?
  3. What defines the pieces which make up the Concept Series program?

1. What is the “new” Concept Series program?

The Mozilla Labs Concept Series lays the foundation for an engaging innovation hub which will live on the Mozilla Labs website. It will be fueled by a community with a common passion for the open Web.

As a program the Concept Series will form the core foundation of activity, consisting of multiple initiatives, referred to as channels. These channels, like the ever popular Design Challenge, will provide various challenges and topics by both Mozilla and collaborating partners.

Each channel will create an environment of interaction within the community (designers, developers, students, teachers etc.) – really anyone that uses the Web whether they have just an idea, some thoughts, wise feedback or some technical skills to implement these on the Web.

A quick overview of the proposed channels:

  • {Mozilla Labs} Jam Days
  • {Mozilla Labs} Student Outreach
  • {Mozilla Labs} Community Concepts
  • {Mozilla Labs} Design Challenge
  • {Mozilla Labs} Open Web Library
  • {Mozilla Labs} Prototype Challenge
  • {Mozilla Labs} Local Frequency

2. What are the aims of the Concept Series program?

We aim to create a hub of innovation channels, fueled by community interaction and collaboration – ultimately leading to the creation of varying artifacts (research, ideas, wire-frames, concepts, solutions, prototypes etc.)

We envisage these artifacts, under open licensing, will lead to a formidable educational library, a resource that is freely available and sharable for everyone.

Each channel will engage community activity by:

  • provoking thought
  • sharing ideas
  • facilitating discussion
  • collectively innovating

This community engagement will inspire the future vision of the Mozilla project, Firefox, and the open Web as a whole.

3. What defines the channels which make up the Concept Series program?

Each channel needs to aid in the aims of the overarching program to create an innovation hub fueled by community interactive and collaboration.

The following are the initial channel proposals with a little more information…

3.1 {Mozilla Labs} Jam Days

A channel providing support and an initial framework for the organisation of physical un-conference like Jam Days.

This encourages interaction between local community members tasked with investigating challenging topics for the Web.

These events could include:

  • Design Jams
  • Hackdays
  • BarCamps

3.2 {Mozilla Labs} Student Outreach

A channel to expose students thinking from co-created course modules between Mozilla and education institutions.

We aim to directly work together to propose and structure a engaging course module that’s relevant to the institutions own goals, interests and timing schedules. Full support will be provided during the duration of the course including community feedback, guest lecturer and mentor appearances throughout the project.

Potential student audience departments include:

  • Human–computer interaction (HCI)
  • Computer Science
  • Robotics
  • Engineering
  • Social sciences
  • Arts

3.3 {Mozilla Labs} Community Concepts

A channel aimed at molding proposed ideas and concepts from the community into potentially viable features, applications or products.

Once vetted for quality and viability by an expert panel, the concept originator or team is given full control to lead the projects evolution by engaging the community with updates of progress (mock-ups, prototypes, videos, blog posts etc.)

Providing this platform helps expose the concept to the community and the feedback and other input given improves the chance of success.

3.4 {Mozilla Labs} Design Challenge

This channel exists today but we’re looking to revamp and enhance the offerings. It will be aimed primarily at all design folk with a love and passion for the entire user experience design process.

Education, exposure, portfolio pieces and recognition are a major driver for this channel.

Challenges and topics will be split into phases and exposed across a number of categories including:

  • Web
  • Mobile
  • Social
  • Hardware

Feedback and mentor-ship from the community as well as industry professionals will prove to be invaluable for students, junior designers as well as anyone else keen on experiencing a design process.

3.5 {Mozilla Labs} Open Web Library

An educational channel resource for topics promoting the open Web. Content will be delivered virtually by leading authorities via video and audio.

These resources could include:

  • Training courses
  • Q&A sessions
  • Workshop exercises
  • Lightning talks
  • Conferences

An enhancement to this offering would be the translation and subtitling of the original content into local language, thus making it even more accessible to a global audience.

3.6 {Mozilla Labs} Prototype Challenge

This is a channel based very much on the mechanics of the Design Challenge. It’s however more aimed at the developer engaged community.

The major driver for this channel will be the posing of engaging and difficult engineering problems. We’ll provide the questions and let you get back with the possible solutions.

These challenges will be posed either virtually or as actual events and could take the format of:

  • Quizzes
  • Developing Design Challenge outputs
  • Hackdays
  • Demo nights

3.7 {Mozilla Labs} Local Frequency

A channel showcasing video and audio content from local tech events and meetups across the globe.

Hundreds of these events take place daily, all containing valuable educational content. It’s unfortunate though that if you weren’t able to attend that this knowledge sharing is lost.

We propose enlisting trusted local events and empower the coordinators to create and upload video & audio content and have it exposed to a far wider reaching audience.

Once again this offering could be enhanced by the translating and subtitling the original content into local language.

Closing Thoughts

Phewww, apologies! That was slightly longer than expected. We hope that you are all as excited by these proposed channels as we are.

Just remember that your feedback is highly valued and appreciated, so go ahead and add your thoughts, comments, ideas, anything really! We promise to go through it all.