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What’s The Value of Open Source?

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March 7, 2019

We’re still several months away Halloween, but who can forget the classic 90’s movie, Casper     Yes, he could walk through walls, but he was also friendly.  Casper wasn’t a typical ghost.  If anything, Casper demonstrated the value of being open and transparent– about seeking the input and help from others.

So this week, we’re wondering how can we create open source cultures in our organizations and why it even matters.

In traditional technology circles, open source means making software’s source code publicly available so that anyone can make their own version through replication or modification.  Popular examples of source are PNG image format, Apache, Firefox web browser and Linux operating system.

While professionals tasked with managing organizational risk would appropriate caution leaders to balance open source policies with compliance, intellectual property and other legal considerations, perhaps we should reconsider what we make open source.

The intangibles: much like particularly countries export elements of culture — think Jamaican reggae music, Italian pizza, or Bachata from Dominican Republic– so too can we make available our vision and values for to adoption and adaption.  How well does your customer community know the story behind the solution your product or service? While some things are better left unsaid, the impetus for innovation is not.

Expect The unexpected:  The transparency of a open source culture and related policies have tangible benefits like increased speed and agility of the innovation cycle. Perhaps more importantly, when external collaborators have greater awareness of the novelty of your product, it’s relative success and functionality become a point of personal connection and buy-in. Yet, CEO and Founder of Mobilfy, Igor Faletski, notes that “successful open-source projects get rigorously reviewed and improved by thousands of community members.”  So be ready for more feedback then you ever expected.


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