Strategising Drupal for the Dot Org Boom

NetSquared's picture

One of the things that energised me about last year's Netsquared conference was buzz of community activity around Drupal. i had already experimented with Drupal as a basic CMS, but at Netsquared I met Drupal developers who shared a passion for web activism, and social activists who wanted to use Drupal in cool new ways. Looking back, I can see that my experiences of advocating for open source in NGOs seems to have been leading up to the Dot Org Boom that Netsquared represented (see also the blog post Drupal and the Dot Org Boom). However, a comment from David Geilhufe points out that

across the landscape of all these NGOs using open source software, there is no real open source strategy. No strategy for: (1) Ensuring your organization does not bear the maintainence/upgrade burden of your innovations exclusively. (2) Leveraging other groups with similar needs to jointly produce and maintain functionality needed by all.

There is the feeling that if I build something in Drupal, then somehow it will magically benefit the community. It takes a lot of planning and work to make this statement true. For all the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been invested in Drupal by social change groups, there is a surprising lack of quality, well maintained social change modules available for download.

I'd like to raise this as an issue for discussion at the edges of N2Y2 (even though i can't be there to take part). In Drupal and the Dot Org Boom I highlighted how much Oxfam's strategic approach to Plone was an inspiration. And Jon Stahl recently posted to the Riders-Tech list about ONE/Northwest's development of end user documentation as part of the Plone open-source ecology. Perhaps N2Y2 could be a space for Drupalistas to discuss a collaborative strategy for Drupal development in the social change sector.