SPARKcon: Art, music, and success with open source process

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SPARKcon: Organizing creative thinkers with open source

Process over content. Aly Khalifa from Gamil Design and Designbox used this mantra to instill open source roots at SPARKcon—an annual event that showcases, celebrates, and influences the creative momentum naturally found in North Carolina's Triangle region.

"I think at first it was hard for people to understand—it was hard for us to describe. Sometimes it was embarrassing—this commitment to process over content," said Khalifa. "Open source has been great for us--the idea that the community decides ultimately what the content is that gets generated. That's what we've been dedicated to, that same spirit. Now because there's other people doing it in different strata, it's been great. People are beginning to understand that we're dedicated towards process."

Beyond process, there’s collaboration and cross-pollination. By allowing people with different interests and expertise to plan the individual content areas (they call them SPARKs), something bigger is created.

"SPARKcon is definitely a bit on the open source platform because it allows us to bring in folks with smaller expertise to create something much bigger than we could, by programming or planning it all ourselves," said Sara Powers from the Visual Arts Exchange.

Do you see an opportunity to bring an open source process to something you work on or a project you’re passionate about? It could be related to school or work, business or personal. Maybe it’s something creative like SPARKcon. Or maybe its something in your community that can empower the organizers to improve an event the open source way.

Jason Hibbets is a Community Director at Red Hat with the Digital Communities team. He works with the Enable Architect, Enable Sysadmin, Enterprisers Project, and community publications.

1 Comment

I can attest to the open source process, having recently used this methodology for Innovate Raleigh. It creates collaboration and transparency -- and it's fun because everyone gets to participate. Sparkcon has been a great addition to Raleigh. Another open source success story!

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