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Experimentation And Community Are Driving Mozilla's Innovation

There’s a common misconception about innovation at technology organizations: that big, transformative ideas can only come from a lone genius, or a small team, or one company toiling alone in the wilderness. In short: That innovation must be lonely.

At Mozilla, we know that’s not always the case — and we have 25 years of proof. We know that innovation also happens when a critical mass of people, projects, and organizations collaborate, swap code, and trade ideas. We also know that having a critical mass of diverse people with unique perspectives — not only technologists, but also activists, artists, designers, and researchers — can spark innovation in surprising and powerful ways.

This approach to innovation — experimentation and community — is how Mozilla has fueled global movements around open source, online privacy, and trustworthy AI for a quarter century.

In 2022, experimentation and community continued to drive our quest for innovation. On the product side of Mozilla, we doubled down on our ecosystem approach to product innovation, building with, for, and alongside others. Products like Mozilla Hubs embody that spirit: open source, and created not just to stand alone, but also to foster a global laboratory for open virtual tech. We don’t want our products to just be excellent. We also want them to be generative — something others can build off of or expand upon to add value to the broader internet. Because Mozilla realizes that ecosystem innovation also breeds ecosystem impact.

Mozilla will emphasize this ecosystem approach in the months and years ahead. Before we build, we’ll convene. That’s the philosophy behind the new Mozilla Internet Ecosystem Grant Program, which funds bright, creative builders who want to leave the internet better than they found it. We think of it like Xerox PARC — but with the Mozilla Manifesto as its North Star. Our motto: Be impatient with action and patient with results.

Experimentation and community also sit at the heart of our philanthropic and advocacy programs. We are constantly engaged with a galaxy of fellows, awardees, partners, and volunteers. There’s something special about working with a crowd like this — people arrive in the Mozilla fold already opinionated and knowledgeable about how to best disrupt inequalities online, or create more equitable digital experiences. They come ready to innovate.

For example, Mozilla’s Data Futures Lab grantees arrived ready and eager to make the gig economy more equitable for workers. We began recruiting for the next cohort of Mozilla Technology Fund, seeking people and projects who are auditing AI systems with open-source approaches. Mozilla’s Trustworthy AI Working Group allowed ethical AI builders to contribute to one another’s projects. Meanwhile, Mozilla’s Senior Fellows brought a wealth of knowledge about mitigating algorithmic bias and climate injustice. And of course, the annual Mozilla Festival convened nearly 10,000 like-minded individuals, creating a space where veteran technologists and young activists could stand on equal footing.

Another example is our latest Internet Health Report. Researchers from our movement building team, producers from our marketing team and the dozens of external contributors lent their insights to the relaunch of the IRL podcast.

More than ever, the internet needs innovation — innovation that pushes online life in a new, better direction. Mozilla intends to be in the vanguard of that change. We’re a pan-Mozilla innovation engine using tireless experimentation, big communities, and diverse perspectives to make bold ideas a reality.