December 14, 2010 1 Comment
Pretty much everyone is familiar with open source software. However, the concept is transcending into other industries. Hence, we label this trend ‘The Open Source Economy’, an economy where organizations don’t design to protect (patent) but rather to spread (share). The idea behind open source is that someone can take an idea or design and develop it further – which in turn can lead to better solutions.
Roots: Open source software – Drupal
Drupal is the most widely used open source web content management system. It is used as a back-end system for 1% of all websites worldwide. Drupal is behind complex websites such as whitehouse.gov; data.gov.uk and even Ebay. In addition companies deploy it for knowledge management and/or business collaboration. Telenet for instance, the largest provider of broadband cable services in Belgium, used Drupal to develop their knowledge base.
Open source in other industries?
- Publishing – Open Source Magazine: The July and November issue of a South-African magazine “hip2b2” only consisted out of open source content licensed under a Creative Commons.
- Fashion – Open Source Fashion Label: A label for green and fair fashion items is open: other designers and artists are invited to enrich the label with their own creations. The label ensures that the product is high-quality and sustainable.
- Automotive – Open Source Eco-car: An open source project that aims to design the car of the future. More than 800 people collaborated on the car’s blueprints. Those blueprints are publicly available under an open source license. The new car is open for modification by others as long as any derived works are shared with the public as well.
- Food / Lifestyle / Leisure – Open Source Restaurant: At a restaurant in Amsterdam, everything starts with a web-based documentation platform. The web app allows people to share their with others and the restaurant deploys it for crowdsourcing basically for anything. What’s more, the instructions for creating a similar restaurant yourself are available online.
How to “open source” your business?
Open source seems a sustainable recipe for success. We’re not saying you have to comply with this trend but why not consider it at least? Is it also applicable to your activities? If you were to transform into an open source business, how would that affect your current workflow (a.k.a. cost structure)? What market advantages would you get from it? Would it result in a unique position that positively impacts your bottom line?
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