Saturday, September 11, 2010

Problem/Solution? No. Opportunities + Pathways? YES

You may or may not be familiar with the idea of ‘open source’.  Its one of those things (like design thinking) that came from somewhere else and is picked up and embraced.  The trouble is that the original idea can be muddied or watered down.

Not to get too “meta-idea” but THAT IS the idea of open source.  Concepts, structures, ideas are picked up and run with and made into something new.  It is a fascinating cultural and psychological phenomenon. 

In the article “Forking is a Feature” by Anil Dash http://bit.ly/9LY4PT we learn of the idea of developing many responses to particular situations.  Linus Tovalds, in developing an open source operating system—dubbed Linux, not by Mr. Tovalds, but by its users—created what Dash believes is his most lasting legacy.  That is plurality trumps duality.  We are more and more, embracing and/both thinking rather than just either/or. 

Dash’s opening point about Torvalds legacy it true, I believe. I know little of the world Mr. Torvalds has built, but the idea of open-source and the use of what comes of it pervades my world. 

At ConsumerX we work with retailers and consumer products companies to build "culture" around their brands.  The idea of "forking" (if I understand it correctly) makes a great deal of success in my work.

You see, much of my world has been consultants (designers, architects, advisors) like me developing a solution to a problem when the reality has been a that a complex situation warrants a set of responses, often times, each with a significant investment necessary to execute.

When we allow ourselves to be inspired by ideas such as open-source we develop structures akin to language.  (And subsequently, grammar, and perhaps even poetry.)  Just because the words are out there, don't mean nobody knows how to use 'em right.

So, yes the legacy is there.  We see it today with the most sophisticated (big and small) companies being open with their culture (that means they need to nail down their purpose) and allowing their customers to make new things.  Facebook is the best example of everyday people taking bits and pieces and making new value for themselves and those in their orbits.

This construct actually liberates us from the duality of problem/solution and gives us a plurality of opportunities/pathways.  The trick is and always has been, deciding what to do then.

Posted via email from ConsumerX: cXChuck's Stuff

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