Example of a specific program feature: the OuiShare Fest Forward Accelerator
OUISHARE FEST FORWARD IS A 3-DAY ACCELERATOR FOR COLLABORATIVE, OPEN SOURCE PROJECTS WITH HIGH SOCIAL IMPACT.
Fest Forward aims to help projects overcome challenges in areas such as strategic and product design, business models and community building. It does so by leveraging the creativity and expertise of the high profile participants of Fest. The selected projects created impact in the areas of sustainability, social development or decentralized governance.
STEP 1 - First definitions
First team meeting to coordinate goals and expectations of deliverable at the end of the program (pitch, canvas, prototype, graphic).
Define the number of projects accelerated and the selection criteria for the projects (3 open source and social impact).
Have a general idea of the program structure for the acceleration. Notice that it might depend on some characteristics of applicants, such as : hardware/software ; start-up/scale-up
Schedule a meeting and make a slide explaining the concept to present to the team and the partners. Alignments with both teams (production and partners) is essential.
STEP 2 - Website
Create a logo or use this
Create a website including : strong image, tag-line, short text explaining the concept of the acceleration, basic selection criteria, conditions (accelerated projects get a ticket for the FEST, travel expenses were not included), dates and deadlines, list of jury members, and eventually a basic structure of the acceleration program.
I used a time-line made with this tool
Create a form for application. I used typeform. As it allows integration via Zap with a Trello board (ask Francesca for OuiShare account). I asked the projects to discuss both their impact and the challenge they would like to work on during the fest. Some areas were : design, impact measurement, business models. I also asked them to present a short bio of team members (include linkedIn) and since when the initiative exists. Pictures and videos were not obligatory, but applicants could include them on the form.
Connect with the communication team on the dates and deadlines to coordinate social media + newsletters.
STEP 3 - Promote applications
Make a short video and write an article about the project for the OuiShare magazine.
Publish on social media : LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Do not hesitate to pay for extra views on facebook - it is definitely worthy. Applications more than doubled after that, especially on the last week.
Write a newsletter about it.
Send e-mail to previous candidates (awards and poc21), and also to communities and key people that could apply or share the information with their networks.
Post on Loomio and Slack to ask the OuiShare team to share the call. It is also good to map if there are people from inside the community who are interested on applying or helping as facilitators/mentors.
For Fest Forward 2016 we had almost 50 applications
STEP 4 - Selecting the projects
Send the criteria explanation to the jury and set the time for the decision call. We used the trello voting system, and the criteria was written on the first card. I looked at the Awards2015 criteria here to get inspired, but I decided to make it more flexible and simple. You can also see the list of the Fest Forward 2016 candidates on this spreadsheet.
The jury did not reach consensus and we short-listed 8 projects. The community should vote for two among them. Community voting helps to create more visibility, but it is important not to promote it as a competition.
STEP 5 - Community voting
Set the voting tool and integrate it on the website. I used tricider as it was free and easy to embed. Feedback received : you can change you IP address and vote a thousand times. So votes were actually not real. On that matter Auli suggested later a different idea for a "voting" system: indieweb [Known on hello.ouishare.net]. The idea was that instead of just voting, the vote is counted by retweets, likes and comments on an original post.
Send e-mail to candidates [rejected & selected] *Rejected applicants received hacker tickets (limited to 10);
Send email to short-listed candidates and ask them to mobilize their communities. *Short-listed had 1 free + 1 hacker ticket per project;
Invite the community to vote. Prepare tweets and facebook posts. The projects usually do the job on the community engagement on this part, so it was not necessary to pay for the promoted post.
STEP 6 - Define the Program
Up-date the website to include the description of the selected projects.
Make a call with each of the projects to better understand their concept and their challenges. I also asked them to mark on sched the sessions they would like to attend and the speakers they would like to connect with. This idea came from a feedback received from Marie-Anne, who organized the Deceleration Week on 2015. She said that the projects did not take the time to check on the mentors expertise, so they did not know what to ask them. Requesting them to build the program together with me helped on that, but it is important to ask all the team to do it, not only the leader or contact point of the team.
Send emails to mentors to confirm their participation (mentors received a free ticket to the Fest)
Write an article about the selected projects and ask them to send short videos.
Build the program based on each projects needs and interests. It is hard to define a program beforehand as the speakers are usually not defined and the projects that apply might be very different from one another. *However, if I would make it again, I would probably set in advance a larger part of the program and put it on the website from the beginning, so that applicants know what they can expect. The program can definitely be a little adapted for each project, but something 100% dedicated as I did is time consuming and not necessary to provide a good experience. (More on that below).
Discuss with the program curation team to map speakers that could also be interesting to connect to the project holders.
STEP 7 - Thanks & Feeback
Send e-mail to thank for mentors participation
Send e-mail to projects with evaluation questionnaire
Write an article about the experience
Document the process
TIPS & Feedback on the Program
I had a check-in sessions every morning, It is really important to have a moment of integration and to explain to the teams what they will do everyday, what is the flow, why will they meet with certain people, what can each mentor provide, etc. It is nice to include some stretching/yoga/meditation or other team building exercise with them to set the mood in the morning, especially on the third day when they are often very tired.
I did not include - but should have - a check-out session at the end of the day to collect feedback. It is better to do it during a separated moment than during the check-in. They also suggested a moment to take a beer or diner together to connect more with the other projects. We did have a closing session at the last day before the OuiShare Love, but the projects said there should be another before.
It is also important to have someone facilitating every session. Not all the mentor checked on the projects before and even if the projects are asked to check on the mentors before the fest, some people did not. So sometimes you have a group of people that do not really understand why they are meeting. Facilitators previously informed about the projects and the program would be very helpful. On top, facilitators can make sure that all voices are heard, even those who are more shy to speak in groups. It is important to balance the sessions in terms stronger personalities of mentors too as it people with strong presence might overshadow others in the same session.
We had different types of sessions : collective brainstorming with the public, sessions with many mentors, individual 1x1 mentoring session, workshop or informal conversation. The tree formats were appreciated, but it is nice to make sure they are long enough (ideally from 1h to 1h30) and balanced in terms of energy demanded for each. If you have a challenging session on the program, make sure to include free time after or a lighter session in sequence.
I tried to created a logic flow for the program : starting with the business model, including some reflection on basic concepts such as Open Source, moving to identifying and engaging stakeholders, internal governance and community building, going to brand positioning and service design and the best way to communicate that all trough a good story-telling and a preparation to the final pitch. One of the teams had an entirely different program as they were interested on governance, decentralization and blockchain issues. My suggestion is to adapt less than what I did and to leave more free time on the program to casual meetings and interaction with the attendees.
I received the feedback from the OuiShare team that it would have been good to include them more on the program. I am not 100% sure on how it could have been better... Maybe have a meeting with the production team only to present the projects selected and the acceleration program for them?
Projects were requested to keep record of what they did after each session, take pictures, make a short movie or write a paragraph about it. One of the projects published an article about the acceleration that can be seen here.