Four ways open source principles can improve your business

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Doodles of the word open

More than ever, companies are embracing the principles of open source to make major improvements, both internally and externally. Openness, transparency, democratization, and collaboration can be used to make your business a better place to work and create a better culture.

Be transparent 

Encourage employees to provide candid feedback. Have a review process with frequent C-level updates on how the feedback is being acted upon. Asking questions and providing the means for open communication between employees and customers makes identifying issues and making improvements much easier. Be clear about company goals, financials, and how individual performance is measured. A great discussion of the trust that can be built by corporate transparency was hosted in this open thread. 

A culture of openness (including doors)

The days of all the “important” people sitting behind closed doors should be long gone. Honestly, most of the companies applauded for innovation or creativity have open cultures and office setups. Tony Hseih, CEO of, sits in a cube like all the rest of the Zappos team. The only offices in their entire building are for jobs that need privacy--like legal and finance. Foregoing secrets for openness helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. has a great guide to how an open door policy should work. It could get you headed in the right direction. 

Every idea is equal

 Ideally, interns should have the same level of influence as the C-suite. Embracing this mentality and giving everyone equal opportunity to make an impact is extremely important. Many companies have a review process that rewards great ideas, process improvements, or innovations. These sorts of behaviors encourage participation and incremental advancement.

Host and foster collaboration

When was the last time you had a great brainstorming session with your colleagues? Disney has multiple 'professional brainstormers' who foster innovation sessions to keep everyone involved and thinking creatively. Gert Garman, one of Disney’s Creative Directors, recently discussed an example of a Magic Kingdom employee who raised concerns about the stroller rental process and proposed a new solution. Now, every single stroller rented in a Disney park runs through the streamlined process proposed in an innovation session by someone who many companies wouldn’t take the time to listen to. Dedicate time to collaborating and working together to make your business better.

How is open source making your company a better place to be?



Chris is a marketing and branding dork currently leading the marketing efforts for Follow him on Twitter @cnmoody or connect on LinkedIn at


I agree, the idea of open-source can transcend a design process and become more of a general philosophy. I think if we adopted a model that focused on collaboration over competition, we could grow business for everyone.

I know right now, there are some barriers to anb open-source philosophy in the business world, especially now when times are tough and people are competing just to keep their jobs. But hopefully we will be able to overcome this.

I am actually really interested personally in how open-source can be a part of software design, hardware design, I interviewed my CTO recently about some areas where it could work for hardware, curious what your audience thinks - - and do you think adopting open-source philosophy will eventually usher in open-source companies and design?

Very nice post.

There is certainly a lot to be learned from the organizational practices of open source communities, that can then be applied to enterprise management. On productive approach is to analyze organizations as a network of transactions with associated costs, as well as a network of nodes exchanging information for the purpose coordinating production activities.

The open source approach, reduces transaction costs, and increases the effectiveness of coordination by channeling information horizontally across the organization.

Nice post.

Although the adoption of open source methodology to organizations faces some major obstacles( the biggest one being the "closed" mindset of the corporate leadership )it can change the face of the organizations in particular and the world in general once implemented to its core.

Just finished reading Freedom, Inc, a great book exploring the successes companies have had with an open and empowered culture. It was on the Summer Reading List post post:

Well worth a read

Hi, I really enjoyed reading this post. Well my question is: If open-sources focus more on modern design. Anyways it's a very good system.
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This is an excellent piece that is very timely. I'm reading Stephen Covey's "Third Alternative," and this seems to fit so well with that synergistic approach.

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