OTI seeks new Field Operations Director

The Open Technology Institute is seeking a new Director of Field Operations. The DFO leads OTI's participatory research and technology implementations. It is an unparalleled opportunity for someone who thrives at the intersection of practice and theory. I am leaving this position and continuing with OTI as a Senior Adviser, now based in New York, my home town. My colleague Greta Byrum has graciously agreed to serve as interim director while we conduct a search.

From when I started with OTI in 2010 and became the first to have the title, we have had to invent the entire idea of "field operations." I am proud of the way New America increasingly values the core tenets of this work: community engagement, accessible design, and applied learning. It is a professional thrill to see OTI's field operations enduring and expanding into the future with a new director.

It has been an honor to lead a team of organizers, researchers, engineers and urban planners reshaping communication around the world, working in partnership with dozens of local governments, universities, libraries, technologists and community organizations. Together, we helped communities in the US win over $30 million in federal funding for innovative community technology programs, which OTI documented and evaluated through a two-year, multi-city effort. With our Commotion deployments and development of the Commotion Construction Kit, we transformed wireless networking from a top-down process into community-driven exercises in civic participation. No one who sees our work ever looks at the Internet quite the same way again.

With this transition, I will have time to write about the big ideas that animate our work: digital stewardship, durable social infrastructure, and community-controlled networks as a means of self-governance. I also hope to be more available to engage directly with our global, growing network of partners whose insights generate the big ideas and whose clarity of vision fills my spirit.

It's an exciting time at OTI and the prospects for OTI's field operations are glowing brightly. The right person will have an instinctive sense of digital justice, a global network of potential partners, and a profound vision for the role of hands-on learning and collaborative design for an institution like New America. Please help us find a new Director of Field Operations to take us through our current projects and define the next era of this work.

Author:

Joshua Breitbart, a former senior advisor for New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, coordinated a team of researchers, organizers, graphic designers and technologists to learn how people adopt new technologies and participate in discussions of telecommunications policy.