The following guest post is by Michelle Thorne from Mozilla. The OKF is really excited to be a partner in the upcoming Mozilla Festival on Media, Freedom and the Web. Look out too for our forthcoming collaborative challenge, Data-Driven-Journalism-in-a-Box – more details soon!

Media, Freedom and the Web is Mozilla’s second annual innovation festival. Three days of passionate people using the web to bend, hack and reinvent media.

The event will revolve around design challenges, ambitious yet achievable chunks of web making that address a particular problem set at the intersection of media, freedom and the web. There will also be learning labs, core conversation, a web media science fair, an evening of inspiring talks, a speedshow, and a party during Bonfire Night.

###The Model

We replace darkened lecture halls and ‘the sage on the stage’ with 5 floors of maker labs bursting with people building things in real time. All driven by Allen Gunn’s model for mass collaboration. One of the largest hackjams you’ll ever see.

  • Gather the right people. Choose them for the diversity of their skills and experience. A careful balance of thinkers, storytellers, diplomats, facilitators, builders, developers, designers, etc.
  • Let them inspire each other. Kick things off with with a party at a ‘science fair’. Get everyone excited and seed new ideas through a heady mix of cool demos, great music, and strong drink.
  • Set up an amazing space. Lay out the venue to encourage informal and accidental collaboration. No stages, few lecterns. Big maps to show where to gather around the Design Challenges, with room for overflow, break-off groups, and general mutation.
  • Help everybody focus. Post the schedule online to be edited by everyone. Big-ticket attractions remain in place, but shift the rest to capitalize on success, need, and interest. Lean on challenge facilitators keep things simple, civil, and moving. Dole out heartfelt ‘love-bombs’ to people and ideas leading to results.
  • And let them work. It’s all designed to support and encourage making stuff. Labs. 3D printers. Production studios. Huge bandwidth. And on-site tech experts from key web services. Everything needed to launch new projects, prototypes, services, and tools.

Media, Freedom and the Web will capture the generativity that comes from the freedom to propose radical ideas, share them with capable people, and access the resources required to pull them off.

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Theodora is press officer at the Open Knowledge Foundation, based in London. Get in touch via

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