NSL Blog

Openness the new model for society

September 7, 2013

Openness is resilience

Openness is resilience

It has been said that privacy is dead. Not so. It’s secrecy that is dying. Openness will kill it. Writes Jeff Jarvis, he goes on, Openness is the more powerful weapon. Openness is the principle that guides, for example, Guardian journalism. Openness is all that can restore trust in government and technology companies. And openness – in standards, governance, and ethics – must be the basis of technologists’ efforts to take back the the net. Think of it this way: privacy is what we keep to ourselves; secrecy is what is kept from us. Privacy is a right claimed by citizens. Secrecy is a privilege claimed by government.

That said its not just about the net, its about the future direction of our societies, what does an open society look like? Because by exploring that idea, we might get beyond constructing something of greater value.

The principle of Openness: this is my conclusion on the potential of openness, the concept of being open facilitates a new organisational, social and commercial capability. And it plays a key role in helping participatory cultures to function properly, as part of a new operating system where mutuality and the sharing of knowledge, information, data and resources can accelerate innovation and redistribute wealth and provide for a better world. It is inclusive by design, and its by-product is organisational and social cohesion. In designing for a more resilient world, we must seek mutual gain and mutual benefit. Mutuality recognises a sustainable world which can only be achieved through, as Elinor Ostrom described, the sharing of common pool resources. I think that those companies and organisations that go the furthest in exploring and seeking mutual benefit will be the most resilient, whether tending the land, a people or an organisation. This requires organisations therefore to be open and collaborative. Leadership must then be divested from a few to the many, bottom-up not top-down, narrative led rather than in broadcast mode. And organisations need to learn how different designs in open innovation and collaboration can significantly enhance their performance.

Openness helps people to come together, to share, compete, discuss, vote, deliberate and create for a whole variety of rich and complex human needs and motivations which takes us far beyond how an industrial world thinks about markets, motivation and commercial exchange.

Both philosophically and practically we must always be open to new knowledge, and open platforms, open legal frameworks stimulate collaboration and innovation, whereas closed knowledge systems have a finite shelf life. Therefore, we need to challenge whether we are working in closed silos or in open ecosystems. This open ecosystem is also supported by the human ethos of sharing, and that sharing in fact opens up and stimulates our world in many wonderful ways. We need to become literate in really understanding how open as a concept and reality can help us deliver better in today’s world.

Claiming an open society: But we have to claim it, and the point Jarvis is making is that we are, in so many ways, moving towards a more open participatory society, and there are enough good people to want to see it happen, Paul Hawken calls it Blessed Unrest. Of course there is great resistance from those that think a safer world is one in which everything is secret, and surveillance rules.

We have to define and describe that destination, what does an open society looks like?

Below are a few examples of that destination

MORE:         /   /   /  Comments (0)