Open Leaders X

X factor: Populating the globe with open leaders

Open Leaders X, a growing program supported by Mozilla, aims to cultivate leaders who think and act openly—all over the world.

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At Mozilla, we think of open leadership as a set of principles, practices, and skills people can use to mobilize their communities to solve shared problems and achieve shared goals. Open leaders design and build projects that empower others to collaborate within inclusive communities.

Mozilla's Open Leaders program connects and trains leaders from around the world whose communities can help one another address the challenges and opportunities they face in creating a healthier internet, more trustworthy AI, and better online lives for all.

Starting small

Open Leaders began in 2016 with a face-to-face meeting between dozens of scientists interested in creating more open labs, datasets, methods, and communications. Their passion, questions, and insights helped shape "working open workshops," which quickly developed into an open leadership curriculum reaching hundreds of people online—from all across the open ecosystem.

What began as a small, collaborative inquiry into the nature and possibilities of open science has become a thriving community of open leaders helping one another infuse their projects and cultures with the principles and practices of openness.

While Mozilla staffers have historically organized the program, returning graduates have served as the experts, mentors, and community call co-hosts of each subsequent round of programming, contributing their time and expertise back to the program and its participants. They have also helped us at Mozilla better participate in discussions of engagement, value exchange, sustainability, power-sharing, care, and labor (among many, many other interwoven open topics).

We are humbled by the notion that a meeting of 25 like-minded people dedicated to opening their practice in science has become a network of hundreds of leaders working to connect their home communities and parts of the open ecosystem—like open art, campaigning, data, education, hardware, government, and software—with the internet health movement and the push for more trustworthy AI.

Growing up

At Mozilla, we think of open leadership as a set of principles, practices, and skills people can use to mobilize their communities to solve shared problems and achieve shared goals.

As we tried to think of how best to bring core lessons from the Open Leaders program to the global MozFest community while also sustaining the program, we organized the most recent round of Open Leaders—the last we'll organize for now—as a train-the-trainer program. Working with program graduates, Mozilla staff and fellows, and leads from 10 different community projects, we co-designed Open Leaders X (OLx) to help community members run, connect, and sustain their own open leadership programs. We hoped that by distributing the development and ownership of Open Leaders across the open ecosystem and internet health movement, we could ensure its survival and strengthen its development through community co-ownership. This would allow each program to tailor itself to the needs, challenges, and opportunities each group faces.

We are so proud of the entire Open Leaders community and especially grateful to our OLx leads and contributors, who took the plunge with us and dove into this new train-the-trainer model. Rather than close the loop on Open Leaders, the decision to make it a community-driven program continues its upward spiral.

In October, we brought together nearly all 30 of our OLx leads at MozFest 2019, the momentous 10th anniversary of the festival. They launched their programs and issued their calls for applications, as well as their invitations to community members (like you!) to serve as mentors, experts, and guest speakers for each program. In 2020, these 30 leads and their 10 projects will welcome the next 200 open leaders into the community and the internet health movement.

We look forward to all the new connections we'll make together between these new Open Leaders cohorts and the burgeoning MozFest community. Our goal is to help people across these communities stay connected and engaged with both one another and the open, federated principles and practices of MozFest all year long.

We can't wait to collaborate, learn together and to discover what's next for Open Leaders, internet health, and more trustworthy AI.

You are invited to join this work and all of its challenges, learning, and fun! Watch the OLx launch party videos and find links to each program online!

You can also check out the OLx syllabus. You can even look further back at the most recent Open Leaders syllabi from round 7, both the project track and the culture track. You can visit Mozilla Pulse, as well, to keep track of each project and sign up for our newsletter to keep up with our latest programming.

We hope you'll join the Open Leaders community and visit us at the next MozFest! We can't wait to collaborate, learn together and to discover what's next for Open Leaders, internet health, and more trustworthy AI.

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About the author

A photo of Chad Sansing
Chad Sansing - Chad works on training and events at the Mozilla Foundation.