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Growing the Civic Web

Supporting and showcasing work of social entrepreneurs using open source and internet DNA to build civic value on the internet.


  • Amplify and accelerate the work of people using open source and the open web to build civic and social value.
  • Demonstrate the concept of "the internet as a public resource" as embodied in real projects, people, and stories.

Key Messages

  • 1st message: Open source and the open web are helping to grow the civic value of the internet.
  • 2nd message: Leading - or even supporting - a civic web project makes the internet better.

Audience and geography

  • People using open source and 'internet DNA' in areas like healthcare, human rights, government, education, etc. These people start to feel they 'a part of Mozilla'. (10k)
  • People excited by the projects. Want to be in the know. These people start to think about the web as a public resource. Maybe replicate some models locally. (100s of k)
  • Geographic scope could be quite wide. While the examples are quite different, people are using the internet to create civic value in many parts of the world. So, stories come anywhere in world.
  • Ground game might start w/ focus on N. America, India and Brasil? These are places w/ significant numbers of existing projects.


Broad, public audience

  • Growing the civic web e-newsletter w/ definitive and compelling overview 'open civic internet' space. Could have quite broad appeal if done right. (Bongo)
  • Kiva for the Civic Web - showcasing and fundraising for best civic web projects. (Bongo)
  • Toolkits that people can use in local / org presentations to argue 'why open? '(Conga)
  • Also, remixable presentations on good civic web ideas that people can use locally. (Conga)
  • Son of Service Week. Grow new community of volunteers who contribute time and skill to civic web projects, online or in their community. (Conga and Bongo)
  • Awards or contest for best open source / internet DNA apps growing the civic internet. Helps drive awareness for fundraising component. (Bongo)

Social entrepreneur audience

  • Shared problem solving w/ civic web trailblazers on on big internet issues (e.g. data or mobile). (Conga and Tympani)
  • Advice and support on legal / community / 'selling the open model' for civic web projects.
    • Could mix online, local events and maybe even fellowships.
  • Growing the civic web event showcasing / gathering / documenting work of wide variety of civic internet projects. Nothing of this broad scope exists yet. (Tympani)
  • Needs some way that social entrepreneurs can 'join' Mozilla, feeling like they belong to something
  • Also: could we connect social entrepreneurs who aren't open web heroes with open web developers to improve their projects? Build up an "open web corps" of developers who can dive into projects for a weekend hackathon and help some civic org.


  • Fit: Not clear. Speaks to Mozilla mission, but beyond what we've done (and our comfort zone?)
  • Appeal: High. Buzz is significant. A way for many people to feel a part of the web as public resource.
  • Leverage: High in areas like PR / fundraising / shared problem solving. Can help alot of entrepreneurs at once. Low on things like advice.
  • Timing: Good. Critical mass of projects is emerging. Fit issue means start up will require significant time.
  • Impact: Strong in terms of explaining internet as public resource. Broader social impact depends re: whether projects / allies themselves change the world.
  • Fundraising: Significant if we can build in a component where we do directed donations to the projects we're working with.


Early (activity)

  • Newsletter subscribers: is there general public interest in this topic?
  • Fundraising - both dollars and number of projects supported
  • Number of local events and presentations
  • Media and blog coverage of projects highlighted by Mozilla
  • Volunteer hours provided (if we have a service component)
  • Collaborations amongst participating projects
  • Number of social entrepreneurs 'joining' Mozilla

Over time (impact)

  • Shift in media conversation, civic web = internet as public resource
  • Ideas and projects highlighted by Mozilla, replicate or ripple
  • Impact of these ideas on social systems: eg. education or government


  • Big question: can Mozilla do anything useful inside that story?
  • Would it end up being too much about the specific issues? Open gov? Healthcare? Environment?
  • What's the large scale participation angle beyond awareness and fundraising?
  • What's a better term than 'civic' or 'social' ? How do we make this sexy and simple?