Impact Projects that inspire us

Video recording of the Aug 26 Mozilla Learning community call

For the Mozilla Learning plan right now, we’re focused on impact. What impact will our advocacy and leadership work will have in the world over the next three years? How do we state that in a way that’s memorable, manageable, measurable and motivational?

How do other orgs do it? As a way to think big and step back, we asked participants in Tuesday’s community call to give examples of organizations or projects that inspire them right now. Here’s our list.

Who inspires you?

  • Free Code Camp — learn to code by helping non-profit organizations (Amira)
  • 18F — kicking ass when it comes to bringing open source to government (Kaitlin)
  • The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies — cool network and community of practice for 15,000 people teaching in refugee camps and other emergency settings around the world (Surman)
  • The Engine Room — small and scrappy, but doing amazing work with teaching open tools for social change (Michelle)
  • GDS — because they somehow manage to work like MoFo, even though they are part of Government (Adam)
  • Keyboardio — open source mechanical keyboard with a wonderful backlight, shipped with a screwdriver so that you can tinker around and reprogram.  (Shreyas)

  • Born Accessible — thinking about web content as “born accessible.”(Emma)
  • WikiSpeed — a non-profit that’s building open source, energy-efficient cars in 17 countries,  with no org chart or management structure (@OpenMatt)
  • NESTA — engaged in some interesting thought leadership that relates well to our work (Sam)

  • Ocean Cleanup — addressing “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” with business / philanthropy / sponsorship / science / data / youth vision all coming together to stem it (Rebecca)
  • Conservation International — I’m digging their current campaign: “Nature doesn’t need people, people need nature” (Paul)
  • Mercy for Animals — they take a big, often controversial topic and make it approachable — and they have a massive, engaged volunteer force (Lindsey)
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission Canada (Simona)
  • Generation Squeeze — taking on the impossible task of advocating for worklife balance, childcare and affordable housing on a living wage (ErikaD)

  • NYT documentary of bieber + skrillex + diplo –  Love the focus on storytelling and combo of graphics / animation. (Cassie)
  • model view culture — cranky and continuous analytic deconstructions of intersections between technology, inclusion, diversity with anger and no apologies and a paper journal that arrives on a regular basis. (@leahatplay)
  • Colors magazine — open contribution (Jordan)
  • the Unilever rapper campaign — because it was a long-stale pollution problem that was revitalized with creativity (Andrea)

  • Hollaback — uses online tools to work with young people and confront street harassment (Sara)
  • Craigslist — because their success is based on the assumption that most people are good. (David)
  • Dark Mountain — thinking through how WebLit does / does not survive in the anthropocene. (Chad)
  • NPR – They strike a successful balance between mass appeal and education. (Simon)

make things better -- 5319988695_22db1bded5_o


The above examples are…

  1. Crisp. Our group was able to communicate the story for each of these projects — in their own words, off the top of their head, in a single sentence. That means the mission is telegraphic, simple and sticky.
  2. Viral. Each of these organizations has succeeded in creating an influential, mini-evangelist to spread their story for them: you!
  3. Edgy.  Many of these examples have a bit of punk rock or social justice grit. They’re not wearing a bow tie.
  4. Diverse. There’s a broad range of stuff here, not just the usual tech / ed tech suspects. This is a party you’d want to be at.
  5. Real. There’s no jargon or planning language in any of the descriptions people provided — the language is authentic and human, because no one’s trying too hard. It’s just natural and unscripted.

Can we get to this same level of natural, edgy crispness for MoFo and our core strategies? Would others put us on a list like this? Food for thought.

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