Business

The open source way: designed for managing complexity?

This week I finally got a chance to sit down and digest IBM's latest Global CEO Study, newly published last month and entitled Capitalizing on Complexity. This marks the fourth study IBM has done (they complete them once every two years), and I've personally found them to be really useful for getting out of the weeds and looking at the big picture. » Read more

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Improving product quality the open source way

If we look at the differences between closed and open source software development processes, we can identify aspects that can be generalized and applied to other industries and domains.

Open source development—that combination of transparency, iterative development with early-and-often releases, and open participation—leads to higher quality products. When we're talking about software, people tend to think of quality in terms of bugs. But this is only part of the story of open development. » Read more

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Handbook for practicing The Open Source Way

Imagine you are there on the day of Open Your World forum and listening to all the talks that day, seven hours so far with a few fifteen minute breaks.  You are learning, things are clearer, but all the ways of applying the open source way outside of software may have you feeling a bit lost in a sea of new ideas.

Just in time, the final talk is here, and it presents more relief than just the end of a long day.  It is here to tell you about a handbook called » Read more

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Is the influence of social media overhyped?

So maybe I'm just getting old, but when just about every article about the Silly Bandz craze credits social media with the spread of the fad, I can't be the only one who thinks we're overvaluing the role of Twitter and Facebook.

Word of mouth marketing has always been the best type, and social networking and the Internet are really just amplified versions of it. But when I compare the progress of the Silly Bandz fad to a similar one of my youth (Millennials, I'm talking about slap bracelets), the colorful silicone bands don't actually seem to be spreading any faster or in a different manner. In fact, substitute the word “Silly Bandz” for “Slap Wraps” in this 1990 NY Times article, and you'd hardly know it's been twenty years since the bracelets made news headlines.

(I'll give my fellow Gen Xers a moment to pick themselves up off the floor.) » Read more

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Let the open source way take you outside your comfort zone

This is the second in a series exploring the things I have learned from the open source way during my journey with Red Hat.

In the traditional proprietary software world, developers are limited in their ability to collaborate with other developers outside of their own companies. In contrast, developers in the open source software world collaborate beyond the walls of the company. And collaboration isn’t limited to software development, but also extends to collaborating in multiple ways with customers and partners. » Read more

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Integral Innovation

In his keynote speech at the Red Hat Summit in Boston, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst made the case that of the $1.3 trillion USD spent in 2009 on Enterprise IT globally, $500 billion was essentially wasted (due to new project mortality and Version 2.0-itis). Moreover, because the purpose of IT spending is to create value (typically $6-$8 for each $1 of IT spend), the $500 billion waste in enterprise IT spending translates to $3.5 trillion of lost economic value. He goes on to explain that with the right innovations—in software business models, software architectures, software technologies, and applications—we can get full value from the money that's being wasted today, reinforcing the thesis that innovation trumps cost savings.

But then along comes Accenture's Chief Technology Architect Paul Daugherty, and in his keynote he presents a list of the top five reasons that customers choose open source software (which is now up to 78% among their customers):

#1 (76%): better quality than proprietary software.

#5 (54%): lower total cost of ownership.

So which is it? Does innovation trump cost savings? Or does quality trump cost savings?

» Read more

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Two tips for meeting survival in an entrenched bureaucracy

It might be a better world if we all worked in open, collaborative organizations where the best ideas win. But unfortunately, the reality is that bureaucracy still rules in all but the most progressive companies. We have a long way to go. The reality doesn’t always match the dream.

In the real world, we generate great ideas, propose elegant solutions, and then force them to run the bureaucratic gauntlet. “the best ideas win” becomes “the safest ideas win” (and then lose eventually) as they travel through the bureaucracy and its meetings.
» Read more

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Strategic Planning the Wiki Way

BE BOLD.  Those were the closing words of Eugene Eric Kim's enlightening talk at our first Open Your World forum. To what was that advice pertaining? Look no further than the title of Kim's presentation: "Wikimedia: Strategic Planning the Open Source Way." » Read more

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Crowdsourcing vs. collaboration: Which yields superior results?

Lately I feel like I'm trapped in an endless loop of a certain Steve Ballmer moment, except the refrain is “crowdsourcing, crowdsourcing” on one hand, and “collaboration, collaboration” on the other. It seems everyone has jumped aboard either the crowdsourcing or the collaboration train. Call me a fence-rider, but I'm staying firmly on the platform.

Sure, I believe there is wisdom in crowds. But there is also power in collaboration. » Read more

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How to find a community's cheeseheads when they aren't wearing foam hats

The other day I was chatting with friend and digital strategy/social media expert Ken Burbary on the phone. He was advising a colleague on some good community-building techniques to consider when all of the sudden the following words came out:

"You have to find your cheeseheads."

What? I did a double-take (or at least the conference call equivalent) and asked him to repeat himself.

I had heard him correctly. » Read more

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