Why Open-Source Principles Are a Recipe For Innovation

April Burbank | Forbes | July 25, 2012

Open sourced software has proven that proprietary ownership often precludes innovation — and that with proper organization and oversight, you can trust the wisdom of the masses. But what does open sourcing look like in health care, government or everyday situations where there is no software code?

The open-source movement has blossomed into a robust philosophy of transparency and collaboration with the potential to transform all industries. In a recent TED talk, Don Tapscott summarized the central components of the philosophy: collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment. When hundreds or thousands of “developers” contribute toward a shared purpose, everyone benefits.

Unlike crowdsourcing, which asks crowds to contribute to a single project, open sourcing puts the project in their hands. It works well when cities open their data to the public or when, as in the case of Wikipedia, an open-source software platform supports open-source content. The website Opensource.com shares the ways open sourcing goes “beyond technology,” effecting innovation in government, business, education, health care and more. People want to improve their neighborhoods, businesses and communities — they just need to be empowered to access the source of the problems...