Learn From Mozilla How To Create A Multiple Event Strategy For All Needs

January 22, 2012

in Future of Conferences, Miscellaneous

Rarely have I seen such a clear and useful way to represent the event strategy of a company. Michelle Thorne (blog, twitter) of the Mozilla Foundation (the guys behind the web browser Firefox among other things) has recently published the Mozilla Event Menu, and overview of different event formats they will be acting throughout the year to add value to its participants in several different ways.

Any organization using face-to-face and virtual events should definitely learn from this approach to better define their event offerings, the goals and increase the value provided by them.

Extracts from Michelle’s blogpost:

The goal is to provide an overview of event formats, with bite-sized descriptions and value propositions to participants. Many of these formats can be combined; many of them already offer abundant materials and case studies. For the remainder, there is work to be done to improve and support the format.

What’s interesting too is that Mozilla offers several ways for its community to get involved by “hacking” the menu (i.e. suggesting improvements, taking part of the events, volunteering, etc)

Together we will continue hacking on this event menu and additional materials to improve these activities and make them more accessible to communities around the world.

And above all, Mozilla recognizes what’s the uttermost reason of existence of event of any kind: value for the participants:

Value, value, value. The biggest lesson learned from Gunner, event facilitator nonpareil, is that an event must always deliver value to its participants. What is it that a participant aspires to achieve? How are they getting value out of the experience? What is the motivation and return for investing precious time and energy?


The Mozilla Event Menu (updated as of January 2012)

Download the Mozilla event menu in PDF here (link to Michelle Thorne’s blog).

An Event Ecosystem For Learning

The Mozilla Event Menu presents several event formats, varying in size and type (from small & virtual to extra large & face-to-face) and scope (from  learning to making). The 5×3 matrix includes 13 event types with a description of what it is, what it is for, the duration (e.g. one hour to 3 days), format (e.g. a virtual call, a pop-up tent within a larger event).

With this different array of events Mozilla is able to reach participants where they are, facilitating the learning/making process and establish a year round involvement with them.

It also acts as a roadmap for the Mozilla team and a point of reference for an audience that wants to get involved.

You can use the Mozilla Event Menu for inspiration on how to use different event formats to reach different audiences throughout the year. In fact, I suggest that any kind of organization that uses events (an event can also be a board meeting, a press conference, a business lunch, etc) to better focus what’s the event for, the goal, expected outcomes and most importantly what value does it add to the participants. 

[Update – 26 January 2011]

Mozzila Event Menu Lite (Version 0.2)

Michelle published a first iteration of the Event Menu -the Event Menu Lite (link to pdf)- to simplify it and make it more clear/accessible to participants: “We asked ourselves what are the clear calls to action for participants versus an overview of all the event types the Mozilla Foundation is working on.”

The menu has been reduced to 5 formats:

  • Meet Up — A fun, local gathering for people with shared interests in webmaking. Meet friends, new and old, to discuss projects in a relaxed setting. 2hr – until drinks run out.
  • Fireside Chat — Thoughtful, informal presentation from a subject matter expert followed by discussion. Learn about a program or webmaking idea. Online or in person. 1 hour.
  • Learning Lab — A simple learning activity for the classroom, a workshop, or the pub. Learners become teachers. Suitable as a one-off or part of a curriculum. 15 minutes – 1 day.
  • Hack Jam — Design, code, and build solutions to real-world challenges. Bring skills together. Test and iterate with users. Share outputs with global community. 2hr – 2 days.
  • Mozilla Festival — A yearly celebration of webmaking that blends the activities above and then some. It brings together hundreds of passionate people to explore the open web and to chart the way for the future.

The Mozilla Event Menu Lite (Updated January 24, 2011)

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