Webinar 3: Understanding the Current Landscape

In our third webinar, Valerie Casey, who is leading the Innovation Challenge for Mozilla, and Jochai Ben-Avie, Senior Global Policy Manager at Mozilla, discuss the current landscape of Equal Rating. The conversation is structured around the ten most frequently asked questions from entrepreneurs, policymakers, and researchers at our Innovation Challenge event. Topics included:

  • Recognizing the difference between Equal Rating and net neutrality
  • Understanding the profile of people online, and the barriers for those still unconnected
  • Mapping the ecosystem of players, and understanding telco and corporate roles better
  • Exploring the Innovation Challenge priority around localization and scalability

You can review the full webinar here.

There’s still time to submit your solution — the deadline is January 6th! Check out the whole schedule of key dates for the Innovation Challenge on the site.
If you have any questions on Equal Rating or submissions please do not hesitate to contact us at equalrating@mozilla.com

Top tips for creating a successful submission

We’ve had the great opportunity to host lively and interesting discussions with many entrepreneurs about their concepts throughout the Innovation Challenge. As we enter into the second half of the open submission period, we wanted to share the top five tips for creating strong submissions:

1) Read the Criteria, but study the Judges’ Scoring Rubric

The criteria provides an important list of what the judges will be looking for in each submission. However, the Judges’ Scoring Rubric lets you know the exact potential percentage points awarded in each category. Make sure that your submission addresses these categories. For instance, describe how your submission will deliver on creating a compelling experience for its target users, explain how it is differentiated from solutions currently in the market, and share how your team is uniquely qualified to build and launch this project.

2) Scalability is the key metric for this Innovation Challenge

Could your solution help people in other communities, regions, and countries? We see many innovative solutions that perfectly satisfy the needs of a small community, but our hope is to bring these great solutions to a broader population too. Even if you have not made a formal plan to scale your solution, make sure to share your initial ideas for how you might do so on the submission form. We know all of the best ideas start small and grow — don’t forget to describe both points!

3) Short and simple!

Each question on the submission form has a maximum number of words you can use to answer the question. This is a boundary, not a goal. Be clear, succinct, and free of jargon, and if you only need half of the words to answer the question, there is no need to write more!

4) Help the judges see what you see

As the saying goes, an image is worth a thousand words. If you can create a diagram, flow chart, or sketch that helps make your concept more understandable, please add it to your submission. You can also attach an image of a person or people benefiting from your solution. Attaching an image is optional, so if you do not have an image you will not have points deducted — it can only help!

5) Every journey starts with a single step

Many entrepreneurs we’ve met have shared incredible visions of the world when their solution is in every person’s hands. We love that ambition and forward thinking, but the judges will also want to know about how you plan to get to make your vision a reality. The strongest submissions are ones that feel tangible and specific, where it’s clear exactly how the early idea turns into a real product or service that an actual person will engage with. Specifically, describe exactly what your solution is (e.g. an app, a service, a contract, a research project), where you will launch your idea (e.g. city, community, tribe), and who you hope will adopt it first (e.g. girls, students, elderly, businesses, governments). We want you to be successful so please make sure to be as clear and precise as possible in your submission. Vision combined with practical details will make your solution very compelling!

As always, if you have any questions, please email us at equalrating@mozilla.com. And make sure you get your submission in by the 6 January deadline!

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Webinar 2: What is Equal Rating

In this brief webinar, Mozilla’s Senior Global Policy Manager Jochai Ben-Avie discussed the concept of “Equal Rating” and how it ties to Mozilla’s mission and goals. You can view the recording of the webinar here, and a summary follows:

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Part 1: Reviewing the Innovation Challenge mission and key dates

    • Mozilla’s goal for the Innovation Challenge is to stimulate new conversations and creative solutions for providing affordable access to the open Internet.
    • Submissions must be received by 6 January. We are also happy to provide feedback on your draft submission if you share your ideas before the end of December.

Part 2: Definition of the term Equal Rating

    • Equal Rating builds on Mozilla’s commitment to net neutrality and digital inclusion.
    • Users should be able to choose their own content based on the quality of the content and their interest in that content, not just what a provider selects.
    • Equal Rating does not support “pay-for-play” arrangements or “gatekeepers” monitoring access.

Part 3: Mozilla’s three-fold strategy to support Equal Rating

    • Open Innovation: Catalyzing new thinking and business models and bringing together a community of people who are activated on this topic.
    • Policy: Work with governments and regulators to seed the right conditions and environment for providing access to the full diversity of the open Internet.
    • Research: Ongoing partnerships with research experts to get data about how we can work to break barriers to accessing and using the open Internet to its fullest potential benefit.

If you have any questions on this topic or other related to the Innovation Challenge, please don’t hesitate to contact us at equalrating@mozilla.com.

Innovators and Researchers Collaborate in Bangalore

One of the key premises of our work on Equal Rating is to come to a better understanding of the barriers to access that users face today. What are the kind of experiences and content users want? How and why do people use the Internet to have the most positive and productive impact on their lives? How can we unleash and educate about the potential the Internet offers to those who have had no experience with it before? According to Professor Rahul Dé, who is the Hewlett-Packard Chair Professor in ICT for Sustainable Economic Development at IIM Bangalore, these are the critical questions that need to be addressed when talking about connecting people to the Internet.

Professor Dé kindly followed the invitation to join an Equal Rating Innovation workshop our team held in Bangalore, adding valuable insights from his extensive research around development and economic impact of open source software as well as the evaluation of e-Government systems.

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His keynote was complemented by participants of Mozilla’s DinoTank India “Connecting Rural Women” workshop who presented first results and on the ground perspectives around Internet usage and Equal Rating. The DinoTank team comprised of around 25 staff, volunteers, and allies in the Bangalore community. They applied Design Thinking methodologies to the problem statement proposed by Mozilla India community members Vsnisha Srivastav and Shagufta Methwani at the 2016 Mozilla All Hands in London:

“India is the second largest Internet user base, but also has one of the greatest online gender disparities. Girls were told by their parents that the Internet is not safe for women, and that’s why women should not use the internet. The women in India are at risk of getting left behind as the world goes online. In villages, generally parents do not allow girls to continue their education after 8th grade. While even urban women are coming online, rural women are struggling. There are many women out there who do not know what the Internet is, and have never seen a laptop or tablet before. If they were able to get online, there would be a massive transformation in the live of these women. With the knowledge they would obtain, they would be able to earn an income and stand on their own feet.”

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The full result report will be published soon and we’re looking forward to seeing and supporting more research in this field. Because it is qualitative local experience that is needed to stimulate innovative and holistic solutions in providing affordable access and cultivating digital literacy. This is what we hope to catalyze with our Equal Rating Innovation Challenge.

Mozilla and Start Up Chile Explore the Benefits of Equal Rating

Our latest partner in Mozilla’s journey to galvanize the innovation community around the topic of affordable access to the open Internet is Startup Chile, the biggest accelerator in Latin America. We hosted an event on November 30th in the Start-Up Chile Coworking Space and met many incredible thinkers and doers. Mozilla’s Senior Global Policy Manager Jochai Ben-Avie interviewed Rocio Fonseca. Rocio is the Executive Director of Startup Chile and one of the five judges of the Equal Rating Innovation Challenge. Jochai and Rocio had a lively banter about entrepreneurship, the complexities of changing mental models to solve social challenges, and

the importance of building a diverse community that drives toward to common goal. We are thrilled to have Rocio’s perspective and experience on the judging panel for the Innovation Challenge!
We are looking forward to seeing the submissions that come out of each community around the globe. You can find more about Rocio’s background on the judges page and submit your proposal HERE. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have at equalrating@mozilla.com.