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Public Lab Wiki documentation

Strategic Plan for Community Development

2 | 39 | | #10480

Table of Contents:
October 2014 update
April 2014 first draft

October 2014

Objective 1: Scaling engagement

  • Refer to Model of Engagement described April 2014
  • Need to recognize there is a learning curve at each moment, and that to support this learning both online and offline components need development
  • Enhance support for organizers: handbook, summit, annual survey, intro videos on profile, role on profile
  • Build a strong tech developer community -- first contact moment on http://publiclab.org/wiki/developers
  • Build connections between commenting / following tags on publiclab.org and topic-specific mailing lists
  • Q&A "Ask a Question / Answer a Question" structure overlaid on wiki to provide easier entry points
  • Need to track depth of engagement by categories that transcend current technologies in use.

Objective 2: Incorporating Resilient Social Methodology

  • Resilience, culture, values
    • Scale community welcome/manager functions into the culture of Public Lab itself
  • Create clearer chapter models:
    • levels of maturity: “seed,” “shrubbery,” “flowering,” “canopy,” & individual roles to fill: activist, technologist, ambassador, wrangler (via profile tagging)
  • Prioritize the creation of new social event guides / series of workshops, including:
    • place-based stakeholder engagement,
    • collaborative goal setting / identifying the problem,
    • community asset mapping on paper and with mapknitter (related to OpenLand GM eval),
    • reliable interaction modes (best practices that can be flexibly mixed and matched) that support the strengths of different types of contributors -- setting tone (tenor of event, what is expected when people walk in) and communicating that an event is speculative with unknown outcomes
    • the design of research that prefigures the future use of the data for advocacy.
  • Create a guide that bridges tool incubation with community process /wiki/new-projects, articulate the “win-win” of developing in community.
    • begin with Mat + Adam's tool ladder illustration + expand the diagram with other points where community partners can connect with PL
  • Incorporate project management tools for high capacity projects:
    • partner tracking,
    • transparent task management that welcomes new contributors,
    • articulating and reporting back “soft” outcomes that are usually omitted from research notes (conversations with politicians, sidebars with gov’t employees, numbers of passers-by spoken with, etc).
  • Manage the projection of expertise, of staff, of organizers, of jargony newcomers. Instead, take on role of "bard" in new and legacy projects--the oral tradition of Creative Commons.

Objective 3: Integrating Outreach with Kits

  • moving from customer to member
    • kit boxes have a checkbox that says "this tool is available for community use"
    • geographic outreach (profile tagging by region, regional mailing list outreach, international chapter development)
  • Connect Tool Incubation to community development
  • Connect bulk sales to Education Working Group

April 2014

Understanding our engagement model

  1. First Contact
  2. Welcome moment
  3. First contribution
  4. Building peer-to-peer bonds
  5. Becoming an organizer / being an organizer
  6. Chapters
  7. Circle back

First contact

  • trace how folks first find encounter Public Lab and get drawn in: http://publiclab.org/wiki/first-contact
    • kits (online store, physical packaging, object without packaging), web presence, social media, press coverage, heard about from a person (evangelism?), Kickstarter campaign, ...
  • ISSUE: website front page
    • too much information, lacks community presence/identity, not synthesized

Welcome moment

  • Looking for how I "fit in"
    • lead with values
    • culturally, is the first "welcome" over dinner or by typing into a technical discussion?
    • identifying the "need" to engage -- begin with what is already known locally -- asset mapping exercise -- needs to be systematized. This can combat the perception problem of tools seen as speculative not results-oriented.
    • attracting diversity in the context that many current active members have leisure time, are high capacity with degrees.
  • whose responsibility is it to welcome / orient new members who ask?
    • everyone / no one?
    • Welcome Working Group: good, but has scaling issues
  • option to speak to types of stakeholders:


First contribution / activity

  • "When do I see myself as a part of Public Lab?"
    • Hello Moment
  • publiclab.org/signup --> profile page
  • joining a mailing list
  • going to an event / meeting someone in person
  • posting a research note
  • NEW: Ask a question / answer a question forums
    • serves as a venue for matchmaking
    • develops a Most Wanted List to prioritize R&D

Forming peer-to-peer bonds

  • mailing list discussions
    • prompts upon joining to say "I am interested in [...], I can help with [...], bio, location
  • comments on research notes
  • website:
    • further integration of lists and website (future)
    • regionalization of website / feeling of place
    • listening to interests and areas
    • tours of places through mapknitter
    • collaborative editing on wikis / pads**
  • regularly scheduled meetups
    • not just tech, but also goal setting, asset mapping, strategizing, learning
    • on research sites
  • cross-group and cross-region exchanges
  • voice channels: openhour
  • ISSUE: social bonds should not result in clubhouse effect

Becoming an organizer

  • update / demystify nomination process:
    • change nomination process to focus on profile pages
    • self-nomination for folks instantly seeking a higher level of engagement
    • options for community organizers who may be offline / won't join email list
  • attracting new organizers:
    • targeting outreach, diversity

Being an organizer:

  • resources for organizers
    • buddy system with experienced organizer
    • event "guides"
    • receive all foldable kits
    • direct mail service for distributing kits / GMFs within their region
    • speaking opportunities on OpenHour
    • Organizers Summit (day before annual Barnraising)
  • benefits / expectations
    • regional focus to nurture new members, partner orgs, and research sites
    • staying engaged monthly
    • annual survey for re-up
    • fundraising support
    • Fellows Program

Developing organizer-supported chapters

  • review and publish pathway for chapter creation
    • have regional organizer in place
    • guidelines for joining a regional list before starting a new hyperlocal mailing-list
  • Place pages:
    • highlight research site(s)
    • subdomains like boston.publiclab.org
    • featuring partner organizations
  • resources for chapters
    • organizers can apply for resources for local events
    • funders can "Adopt a Chapter"
  • ISSUE: organic growth vs targeted growth?

Circle back

  • barnstars model outcomes
  • finish and review Values statement

Priorities for depth:

  • develop better structure to become and contribute as an organizer
    • Organizer Summit
    • distributing resources
  • include social process throughout online and offline
    • community asset mapping workshops, dialogue education facilitation, modes of communication beyond email groups, OpenHour, guides and distance learning, offline logbooks, etc
  • make a strong translation model for our "communities of practice", see below:

Priorities for growth

  • improve first contact experience
  • integrate with Kits Initiative