The Mozilla StoryEngine

I’ve been working with Mozilla to develop a process to systematically capture, analyze, and use stories emerging from the Mozilla Leadership Network — an initiative to cultivate a global network of leaders with the capacity to build and protect our newest public resource: the open internet. Last month Matt Thompson, Chris Lawrence, and I got together for a three-day sprint to start thinking through what this might look like and release a rough prototype of StoryEngine 0.1.

Collecting these stories will yield qualitative data set that can illuminate member needs, surface opportunities and challenges, and provide insights into the mechanics of leadership development and network effects. We’re thinking that these stories can be used to:

  • Refine models / theories of change
  • Adjust strategies and activities
  • Demonstrate the strength and effectiveness of the network
  • Illuminate Mozilla’s contributions to the health of the open internet and beyond (including effects on social and economic development like strengthening civil society and boosting innovation, entrepreneurship, and employability)

In short, these stories will power a feedback and learning loop — an innovation loop. By focusing on listening to individuals, understanding their experiences, and providing opportunities for reflection and co-creation, Mozilla will be able to better serve leaders and surface new ideas, connections, and solutions.

So that’s the high-level, external-facing view. But there is an implementation-level, internal side to this that is equally important: serving Mozillians — from advocates to evaluators to leaders — with a well-designed source of insights, leads, and examples.

Examples from from other organizations

Who else has done this well? I’m collecting what I find at bit.ly/data-stories-examples. The sheet is open to view and comment. Highlights include:

Do you have any more examples? How about details about the examples we’ve already collected? Please let us know.

Next up: Prototyping, methods

This is the first of a series of posts about as we build out the StoryEngine. Up next: Feedback on our prototype tip sheet, and some geeky musings on methods. Your feedback and insights are most welcome.