Accelerate innovation with open source. Be Social.

If the key to innovation is creativity and the key to creativity is collaboration, the key to innovation is collaboration. The value of open source lies not within the software, but within the community. The open source community fosters collaboration, and collaboration accelerates innovation.

The Collider

The open source community is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of ideas. It accelerates ideas and analyzes the byproduct of collisions: solutions. They might require the right combination of ideas, in whole or in part, or they might require the right sequence of ideas.

Gone are the days where interacting and collaborating with other businesses or like-minded people was seen as giving away commercial secrets.

Collaboration and inspiration are the keys to innovation (link)

The key to creating collisions is a diverse set of ideas, and that requires a diverse set of people. It requires people with different backgrounds, different experiences, and different knowledge. The idea is to avoid collaborating with the same people in the same position with the same objective. The value of the open source community lies in diversity.

Collaborating with people who think in the same way is never going to produce anything radical. Companies need work with the unusual suspects

Leadership paradox: why collaboration is key to innovation (link)

Pit Lane

While acceleration is important, software development is an endurance race much like Formula 1, IndyCar, and NASCAR. Drivers make pit stops for refueling, new tires, and mechanical adjustments. Developers make pit stops for refactoring, new features, and bug fixes. The open source community functions as a pit crew by providing feedback at each pit stop. As such, collaboration results in a feedback loop with ideas generating feedback and feedback generating ideas.

Having open-minded people around you can quickly validate whether the idea will have merit and help build upon that idea…and alternatively, they can help you save time by burning through bad ideas.

5 Reasons why collaboration contributes to innovation (link

The People’s Choice

When it comes to open source software, it’s the people’s choice.

  • The ideas are generated from the bottom, not from the top.
  • The feedback is provided from the bottom, not from the top.
  • The direction is set from the bottom, not from the top.

This allows software ideas to rise based on merit rather than authority.

This allows software specifications to evolve to meet user requirements rather than user requirements evolving to meet software specifications. This open source community includes both developers and users, and it encourages users to play a role in setting the software direction.

This allows software development to be agile; to be flexible and responsive. it allows the software direction to pivot based on emerging trends and evolving user requirements.

The Difference

The open source community relies on two way communication for collaboration. It is not limited to users asking for feedback from engineers (e.g. support tickets), it includes engineers asking for feedback from users (e.g. mailing lists). It is not limited to requests for enhancements, it includes contributions. It is not limited to feature discussion, it includes design.

Be a part of the open source community.

Create new tickets (e.g. bug). Submit new code (e.g. patch). Participate in the discussion forums. Be active on the mailing lists. Join the discussion on IRC.

Provide feedback. Share your concerns. Voice your opinion.

Accelerate innovation. Be social.

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About Shane K Johnson

Technical Marketing Manager, Red Hat Inc.

View all posts by Shane K Johnson

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