The Education Track team's first experiment revolves around the idea of a digital mentorship program for newcomers and experienced ICANN community members. We are working to discover whether such a program will increase engagement for ICANN, and if so, how to build such a digital program. Coming out of last week's ICANN Labs Kick-off Workshop, the team started laying out a product vision in the form of a hypothesis. Read on for their product vision, the riskiest assumptions associated with that vision, and the team's plan for mitigating those risks in the form of ongoing experiments. You can follow the team's progress and contribute your own thoughts on the Discovery Track page and through the ICANN Labs newsletter. We welcome your thoughts on our product vision and first experiment in the comments below.
We believe that building a formal digital mentorship program for newcomers and experienced ICANN community members will increase engagement, by matching newcomers with relevant mentors so that all participants can successfully accomplish their Internet governance goals.
During a month of research in Durban that led up to the ICANN Labs launch, we identified a common thread among those newcomers who successfully navigated the ICANN community: they had the help of an active and experienced ICANN member as an informal mentor. These success stories are the "bright spots" that we hope to duplicate and make available to the larger ICANN community.
We hope to create a digital service that scales these informal mentor relationships by making it easier for experienced community members to support one or many newcomers looking for resources and support.
Education Track's design lead Kristine Mudd takes the launch workshop attendees through her Design Studio worksheet
- Experienced ICANN community members will donate their time to one or many newcomers as part of formal mentorship program.
- Experienced ICANN community members who currently provide informal mentorship will seamlessly participate in a formal program. Do we understand the motivations of these mentors, and why mentorship matters to them?
- Can we enlist enough mentors and newcomers to create relevant matches?
We believe that experienced ICANN community members are willing to participate in a formal program to share their expertise and knowledge with newcomers; that newcomers are interested in finding a mentor; and that we can effectively match up mentors and newcomers based on contextually relevant interest and experience.
- Experienced ICANN community members who have mentored newcomers, or are interested in mentoring newcomers but haven’t before.
- Newcomers to ICANN and/or other Internet governance organizations such as Internet Society (ISOC) or the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
- Registered users of ICANN Labs who are interested in the Education Track.
Our current goal is to enlist 5-10 experienced community members as potential mentors and 5-10 newcomers, based on an initial outreach of 50-100 prospects over email.
Build a landing page for the prospective mentorship program by presenting the value proposition and asking experienced community members and newcomers to sign up.
Prospective users will be asked a few questions to help us better understand their needs and motivations coming into the program. Our goal is to identify individuals who would be interested in participating in future experiments and prototypes for a person-to-person knowledge sharing network that might ultimately manifest as an apprentice, mentorship, or peer-advising model.
We will use the ICANN Labs site, social media, and potentially search engine marketing to promote the landing page for this new mentorship program. We will reach out to contacts in partner organizations to help promote the site. We will work with ICANN newcomers and ICANN fellowship applicants and see if they would be interested in signing up.
In addition, we are going to interview people that state they are interested and learn more about their level of commitment, motivations, and capacity to participate. We will be interviewing community members with mentorship experience, as well as mentees, to inform personas and help us define the problem and solution space.
- ICANNLabs Education Track Team (firstname.lastname@example.org)