This year‘s Open Forum in Stuttgart just ended and I would like to share some thoughts about it with you. First of all it was an amazing gathering of people who believe in something important: change should be embraced and enabled. As always there might be the argument “why change something?” but often the argument should rather be about “how to facilitate and govern change?” The keynotes by high profile figures from German engineering giants showed that this is now entering the corporate world. Among the best car manufacturers and their closest suppliers are using modern techniques – not just on the assembly line – but for managing teams and facilitating innovation in an open environment as well.
But questions remain: What will to do with user and usage data of all those integrated devices? How should privacy be defined in the future? And does this open up opportunity for new forms of democracy? And to get back to automotive: How do the mobility patterns of the future look like? And once again the question of how openness can facilitates and enables change. For many speakers the answer to the last one is crystal clear: open-source software is a major enabling factor. Also they stressed the importance of giving and receiving within a community. This enables their growth to new horizons that had been impossible to reach with proprietary software. Also the managing and governance patterns in the open-source world offer to be a model for commercial software vendors as well.
Apart from the software aspect: openness is a state of mind – an attitude towards people, knowledge, tools, and eventually the whole world. Understanding this and drawing parallels to the open source software movement might help to cope with an increasingly complex and dynamic world – and even enjoy the new blue oceans of possibilities. The Open Forum 2011 was a great event to meet, speak and network with others persons who embrace change in the same way.
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