Designing Open Projects: Collaborating Across Boundries

Designing Open Projects: Lessons from Internet Pioneers, by David Witzel, IBM Center for the Business of Government, 2012.

This report offers practical design advice to public managers and political leaders who are facing complex, dynamic public challenges involving multiple stakeholders on issues or problems where there is no clearly defined solution. In these situations, open project approaches have the potential to spark large-scale activity that could fundamentally change society.

The author examines the evolution of the Internet over the past four decades, exploring how a wide range of autonomous, overlapping, and interconnected open projects initiated by government staff, techies, entrepreneurs, and students around the world resulted in one of the most profound changes in society across the globe since the dawn of the Industrial Age.It provides lessons learned that can be drawn upon to tackle other enormous societal challenges facing us.

Based on his observations about the creation and evolution of the Internet, Witzel identifies a dozen tips for designing open projects. Author David Witzel believes, on reflection, that these 12 practices were critical to the Internet’s successful development. He then takes those design elements and shows how they are now being applied in other domains, such as the creation of the nationwide
health information network involving over 800,000 doctors and hospitals.