Wed 4 Mar 2015 12:10AM

your open questions

SJ Simon Jarvis Public Seen by 322

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Hey you! Post your open question here, critique, discuss and rebuild those questions.

What does open mean to you? What does it mean for your business, organisation, or project? What concerns do you have?
How do you value open?


How are we going to define open?

In recent times, the word open has been used and abused. For us open means aiding and encouraging the human urge to share, explore and improve. Anything that thwarts peoples’ desire to share, explore, and improve is closed, not open.

The recent move towards openness in the digital world was enabled by the Internet, as the most powerful communications infrastructure that has ever existed, which was built on free and open source software. This digital movement taps into the underlying human urge for openness that has always existed.

OS/OS is a celebration of efforts to consciously reverse practises that deny people the right to share, to participate, to collaborate. We celebrate “the commons”, both physical and virtual, and work to improve commonly-held resources that benefit all, rather than exploit them for our own limited gain.

open principles

-Freedom to innovate


Jaco van der Merwe Wed 4 Mar 2015 5:09AM

overlap, possible duplicate of what-is-open tread?


Simon Jarvis Wed 4 Mar 2015 5:20AM

Hey @jacovandermerwe - idea here is that our champions & speakers will post their open question here, rather than debating the meaning of open itself.

We want to use this thread to start breaking down the barriers and answering those questions that individuals and companies have when it comes to 'open' :)


Simon Jarvis Fri 13 Mar 2015 3:03AM

Excerpt from facebook discussion: Do commons principles already exist in cities? Community gardens, or community permaculture systems? Do some suburban communities already exist in a pseudo commons state? When building a city, do you ever really start from scratch? Can new cities be built using commons structures in both tangible and intangible areas, based on currently existing and implemented forms of commons?


Simon Jarvis Fri 13 Mar 2015 3:04AM

Above came from this question: [Michael Reynolds] Sure....one question I have is how can you use a concept like the commons in a building of a city - both the physical landscape and the social structures that should accompany????


Dimitar Fri 13 Mar 2015 3:12AM

Same question with any conventionally non open system.
what are the key elements to make it more open - governance structure, control, decision making mechanisms etc.?


Simon Jarvis Fri 13 Mar 2015 3:23AM

Could be about empowerment of communities? Shifting the community mindset, giving permission through empowerment? Community involvement is a huge aspect in the commons structure from what I understand.


Greg Cassel Fri 13 Mar 2015 3:42AM

Here is one of my most basic interests and questions:

What is the proper role of outside investment, and investors, in open business?


Simon Jarvis Fri 13 Mar 2015 4:04AM

@gregorycassel Open business == built on the ideas of transparency, stakeholder inclusion, accountability. Things like FOSS (Free and Open Source Software), Open Source, Open Content, Commons, etc. The idea of outside investment? Well the cash helps things run along, but if it's commons then that might not be needed? What if the investment was time and non-financial resources? What does the investment garner? A shareholding? Is that something that still exists in this model of Open business?

From my perspective we need to define what open business means, before we can talk about outside investment? :) Ah! Such interesting. Also, for an 'open business model' you should check out https://open.bufferapp.com/buffer-values/ from Buffer - they pride themselves in being open and transparent _^


Greg Cassel Fri 13 Mar 2015 6:08AM

Oh my goodness @simonjarvis your customer service is immaculate! :)

I agree 100% on your opening descriptors for open business: transparency, inclusion, accountability. Thanks for the extra questions. People should IMO talk about these things all of the time, possibly even in their sleep! I'm a fan of the Buffer values.

Oh hey, is anyone gonna talk about cryptocurrencies at OS//OS?


Simon Jarvis Fri 13 Mar 2015 11:12PM

Haha thanks @gregorycassel ! :)

Excellent, I think that from this you could form an open business model, something that involves these values. Or more to the point would this be the start of the open guide to open business investment? Do you have thoughts on this @silviazuur ?

re: crypto, not sure. We don't currently have anyone lined up for that, but then again @silviazuur will know more around this.


Michael Reynolds Sun 15 Mar 2015 8:49AM

Another question I have been pondering for a while is how can we construct the conversation around adopting a commons based approach more easily digestible for a greater number of people?

I am so wary of the preaching to the converted syndrome these days that I am always questioning how we can break out of that?
It is public engagement/exploration?


Michael Reynolds Sun 15 Mar 2015 8:33PM


Wondering if anyone has seen/delved into this??


Dimitar Mon 16 Mar 2015 12:35AM

I do agree that OS is empowering and romantic idea giving an organization huge potential to grow in N directions in no time, but you have to agree that there must be something special about the way you manage this process in order to be successful. And I mean more specific and tangible best practices.

What would you say are good practices for governing an OS project?


Dave Lane Mon 16 Mar 2015 1:38AM

@dimitar1 a good set of business practises starts with stating a set of principles to which project participants should aspire... and then live up to them. Of course, review them continuously, but use them as the metric against which "success" is measured.


Dave Lane Mon 16 Mar 2015 1:43AM

@simonjarvis regarding your question about "open business" and shareholding and the shape of the business: remember, most businesses are "open businesses". Most businesses provide services without proprietary stuff: builders, accountants, restaurants, cleaners, automotive garages, retail establishments, etc. etc. If they do things well, make effective use of resources, value their staff and work to provide opportunities for them to grow, then they can be successful. On that basis, shareholders invest in them... Again, the key thing is to recognise that an "open business" is no different from a closed business, except that it "walks the talk" of openness... whereas closed businesses, particularly in the tech industry, often talk without the walk. There is a cost to being open - you have to be a good citizen in the ecosystem - you need to invest in doing open well. For example, provide a reasonable level of documentation to the technical things you make available, and ensure that things are consistently available... In my experience, doing this well is the best possible marketing a business can have - it wins truly loyal customers and lots of good will. Being truly open is probably on par, cost-wise, with traditional proprietary company marketing.


Dimitar Mon 16 Mar 2015 1:50AM

@davelane I am interested exactly in these principles. For example, there is extensive academic literature on open-source software communities and they all claim that OS projects need to have a flat hierarchy. This is one principle. From your practice, have you observed any other such principles ?


Silvia Zuur Mon 16 Mar 2015 11:27PM

One of my questions is: How can open happen fast and innovative? How can you consult and hear all voice and opinions - but still have the mandate to act?


Dave Lane Mon 16 Mar 2015 11:36PM

@silviazuur FOSS is inherently a "mandate to act". The beauty of FOSS is that it provides the platform for harnessing enlightened self-interest. Nothing more or less. Innovation happens as fast as the most motivated contributor(s) make it happen. That's often ''very'' fast. Often much faster than commercial timeframes. More importantly, the question of "how will this work return a profit?" is seldom a constraining question. As a result, a lot more "blue skies" exploration happens in FOSS. Also, if people don't like something, or if it only "almost" does what they want... they have the latitude to jump in at that stage and take it in a different direction. FOSS communities are the perfect free market... the difference is that value is not determined in terms of dollars, it's in terms of capability and lines of working code. The forces of "natural selection" works far more quickly in an open source world, because everyone can jump ship to the winning solution quickly without instead focusing energy on also-ran technologies (which often happens in the proprietary world where people are under pressure by shareholders to maximise returns from sunk costs).


aimee whitcroft Wed 1 Apr 2015 2:14AM

Hi all!

Great convo thus far :)

With my Govt.nz hat on (the hat I'll be wearing at OS//OS, heh), we're interested in how government can get more people participating in consultations - basically, how can we make consultations more open?

We (and hopefully, y'all!) believe good government decision-making is dependent on being open about what agencies are working on, what their objectives are and, importantly, getting public participation.

Govt.nz’s built a central consultation listing (at MVP level), and we want to know how to make it (and maybe consultations in general?) better, and what sorts of info people want/need.


We’ll be at OS//OS and working with those interested in an open session on day 2, and super keen to hear people's thoughts in this thread and there :)