2013 Mifos Summit Recap
Amid the hustle and bustle of the summit, we shared a couple of posts recapping the vigor and vitality of the opening days of the summit. Now that we’ve all settled back into our day-to-day routines, we want to look back on the 2013 Summit, rekindle that energy, and map out what lies ahead for 2014.
First off, a tremendous thank you to Paul Maritz, the lead sponsor of the summit as well asGoogle’s Open Source Programs and the ThoughtWorks Social Impact Program who came on as silver-level sponsors. Their financial contributions made possible the scholarships to bring so many delegates to the summit and the selection of such a world-class city and venue in Jaipur. A huge thank you to Amit Jain, and all the staff of Digamber Finance for welcoming us to Jaipur as the local host guiding all the preparations and assistance during the summit that made it such a memorable event.
Poised and Ready for Growth
2012 – Awaiting the Future
In 2012 when we hosted our inaugural summit in Bangalore – it was exactly what were aiming for – uniting the community together for the first time in an intimate setting to help us forge a new path forward for our community. Forty-two of us came together behind a common product vision and roadmap for Mifos X. Fresh out of the transition, we were leading the community into a relatively unknown future.
2013 – Embracing new Potential
Fast-forward to October 2013 and the community is starting to take the reins. This past year, we have built up a solid nucleus of an organization guiding the community and launched the initial Mifos X platform. Heading into the summit, new partners have already begun to prove out the viability of building on top of the platform and were ready to show off their creations, while the general community was eagerly awaiting the launch of our brand new community app.
More than seventy-five of us arrived to the beautiful pink city of Jaipur, ready to step forward, on a path of their own taking. The future for Mifos X was not unknown and everyone was eager to embrace it and enthusiastic about its potential. From the interactions in the halls and the energy in the room, immediately you could see everyone knew their role, and were ready to take ownership of the Mifos X platform.
- Final Summit Agenda (PDF) & List of Attendees
- 2013 Summit Wiki – Notes & Slides
- Summit Evaluation Form
- Photos – So many beautiful photos were taken at the summit – we’ve created a separate post – 2013 Mifos Summit in Photos – that links to all the public galleries.
Taking Ownership in 2014.
Before we highlight some of the key themes that emerged from the summit, let’s call out some of the major next steps we’ll take together as a community. In an open source community, in fact any community in general, you get what you put in. 2014 will be when members of the community start to enjoy the rewards of the investments they’re making.
- Formal Partner Program and Training for Specialists – Specialists see and are already receiving demand in the marketplace – we need to launch our formal partner network and certification and expand our training for them to develop new apps and deploy Mifos X effectively.
- Dedicated Product Website – To reflect our new positioning and properly show off the Mifos X platform, we need a world-class website to showcase the product for users and Specialists alike, as well as to attract new innovators that can extend and integrate with the platform.
- Training and Documentation for Users – MFIs responded well to the new UI with its enhanced flexibility and in-depth accounting module but expressed a need for a comprehensive user manual as well as a guide for processes to follow before a new implementation.
- Local Mifos Chapters – All delegates eagerly embraced plans to launch local Mifos chapters to grow demand and collaboration locally on the ground within their regions. Bolstered with the bright prospects of Mifos X, they’re proud to lead the way in growing their local Mifos community.
- Clear Product Roadmap – We need a clear 2014 product roadmap that aligns user need with the resources available in the community – our core team, volunteers, and our Specialists. It should answer the following – 1) what’s forthcoming in the core platform 2) which features users still require 3) how volunteers can contribute and 4) where we expect Specialists to contribute and extend.
- Developer Community – our partners are ready to contribute back to the core platform and we need to ready our development processes and documentation to accelerate that.
- Ecosystem and Marketplace – as adoption of the platform grows, we must support the discovery, development and delivery of applications, modules, and extensions on top of Mifos X – the Mifos X AppStore will be born.
Progress: The People, The Participation and The Place
Progress is a key theme that emerged from the summit. From the growth of our community as outlined above to the progression of the content and caliber of the summit venue itself. Most notable is the progress of the people in our community and their readiness to participate: everyone alike is unified behind the platform, developers want to build it, specialists want to distribute and extend it, users want to learn and master it.
Many new opportunities began to emerge at the summit that has the community set for broader market adoption of Mifos X in 2014:
- We heard of multiple new opportunities being taken on by our Specialists across sub-Saharan Africa. Landing these new opportunities, the need at this year’s summit had shifted from business and sales support to technical training and the broad new possibilities opened up by the Mifos X API.
- MFIs see the extensibility of the platform as well as extensions like our Client Impact Portal prototype which we demo’d at the summit for the first time
- Our ecosytem partners like Musoni and Quipu have compelling apps that summit delegates were delighted to see. As they grow their user base around their own apps, they’re ready to contribute back to the platform.
- Volunteer contributors, driven by user need for features like SMS notifications, offline mobile capabilities, and enhanced security measures, are to spearhead these projects.
- Mifos X and its support for mobile-centric apps opens up new possibilities to enable the growing business correspondent and agent banking models.
- The community wants to take ownership and make this collaboration starting happening on the ground in their communities through local Mifos chapters
Breaking down the more than 75 individuals in attendance, we had eighteen different countries represented including 20 Specialists, 25 Technical Contributors and 30 Financial Inclusion providers.
- New members of the community that have joined us this past year – Musoni, Quipu, HEWE, R-116, and ThoughtWorks
- Old community members that we’re meeting face to face for the first time – Fantsuam Foundation, Nuru, SECDEP, GoIT Solutions, and Missions of Hope.
- Community and summit veterans like Grameen Koota, Jitegemea, enda, Al Majmoua, Kongalend, Intrasoft, VasTech, Rara Group, Nirantara, Hugo Technologies, and the entire Conflux team.
- Those who are just getting the first taste of the community including the team at Harvest Field Corners, the Zambian community, RangDe, and Sanchayan Suraksha
- External experts like Grameen Foundation India, Accion’s Smart Campaign and representatives from YES Bank, and the State Bank of India
For the first time ever, we also recognized the shining stars of our community through our Community Choice Awards. We’ll be doing a separate post on the awards ceremony but here were the winners:
- Most Innovative MFI (sponsored by Google): Nuru International
- Most Dedicated Specialist (sponsored by ThoughtWorks) – Conflux Technologies
- Technical Volunteer of the Year – Gurpreet Luthra
- Non-Technical Volunteer of the Year – Deanna McCusker
- Distinguished Service Award – Edward Cable
We had a full four-day agenda that was packed from morning to evening yet many delegates stayed up late into the night collaborating , brainstorming, and learning from their fellow delegates. All the slides and notes can be found on the summit wiki (more still to be posted)
- Collectively we broke the ice at the summit on Day 1 by doing a rousing set of peer introductions which helped to set the stage for a fun and collegial four days ahead of us.
- Users were able to dive into using Mifos X for the first time, getting hands-on training and providing real-time feedback on optimizing the user experience. The
- ThoughtWorkers imparted their expertise across a number of sessions from agile development to improving code quality to building out mobile and web apps using the latest in user interface technologies
- Specialists were able to immerse themselves in the platform and try out building new apps through the API
- Seasoned developers and volunteer contributors were invigorated with new energy by getting to meet Mifos users personally and start their quest to build out features like SMS notifications.
- Musoni and Quipu were able to show off their beautiful polished web and mobile applications they’ve built on top of Mifos X and share with the community their expert knowledge around mobile payments and processes in the field.
- Delegates tried new foods and trained their taste buds to tolerate the spice levels of even toned-down Indian delicacies
- We danced and socialized atop the rooftop enjoying the cool evening breeze blowing off the Jaipur skyline.
- Visited the well-run branch and head offices of Digamber Finance, witnessing firsthand their finely tailored processes, meeting their clients and getting to assist in the loan disbursal process.
For next year, we might even be able to start exploring more of an un-conference format where you set the agenda. This year, by Day 4 we completely changed the schedule on the fly to reflect the need for more in-depth training sessions and some breakout sessions among more seasoned developers.
The city, the venue, and our local host could not have made for a more enriching and comfortable time for an international conference. George Lteif’s photos do a wonderful job of capturing how beautiful and enchanting Jaipur was as a host location.
Delegates were able to explore the beautiful pink city and all its historical gems during a half-day tour before the summit as well as throughout the evenings and the Saturday following the event. We were conveniently located within a mall and nearby shopping and recreational activities as well as the old city.
The venue itself was incredible. Many thanks to Amit Jain for securing us an affordable rate at the four-star Fortune Select Metropolitan Hotel. Above and beyond the convenience of having an all-inclusive venue, we couldn’t have been more comfortably accommodated. The attentiveness of the staff, the cleanliness and spaciousness of the rooms, the quality and variety of the menu to suit the palates of our guests, and the caliber of the conference rooms, lounges and rooftop restaurant have set the bar quite high for the venue for next year’s summit.
In no way could our summit have been possible without our local host, Amit Jain and the staff of Digamber Finance. Amit pulled out all stops and leveraged all his connections to provide us a smooth and unforgettable stay in Jaipur. Amit made it possible to coordinate the event remotely, pulling together a team of local vendors to handle printing, awards production, audio and video, local transportation, and more. To top it off, he helped us experience the local charm of Jaipur from a beautiful opening lamp-lighting ceremony to the prestige of having local dignitaries and friend in attendance at the summit, as well as a taste of some of the most typical Rajasthani cuisine.