Knowledge, unlike gold, accumulates as it is shared and hints at an economics of abundance rather than of scarcity.  Can we find new ways to think about investment, wealth and intellectual property and transform our communities? 

Please share your thoughts or for more background, read the editorial

Check here for the references to literature and web links that Rosemary Cairn's has been curating: RosemaryCairnscurateddocuments.doc 

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Have a look at The Open Source Revolution, by Nathan Schneider, in Utne Reader.

In the article, two of the Occupy organizers discuss the power of open source approaches. Here is how Devin Balkind and Leah Feder describe its power:

Devin: "I was a history and film major; we definitely botched the development of the thing. But it brought me into contact with large nonprofits, and I realized that the non-profit sector was a disaster, primarily because organizations weren’t collaborating with each other. They basically mirrored the corporate model. That made me curious about good models for collaborative problem-solving. At the same time, I was dealing with a software project that was proprietary, and I was finding that it was a terrible, terrible way to go. So I was learning about the open-source software movement while I was recognizing the need for it in the non-profit sector. That led me down the path of developing a generalized understanding of open-source software for community organizing."

Leah: "I’m not a techie, either, and as a non-techie one can only get so deep into open-source software. I can’t really contribute to open source projects, for instance. I can use open source tools, though, and that increases my capacity as an individual tremendously. I can spin up a WordPress site and make it look pretty nice, really, really quickly. But then, once I learned more about the open-source model and realized that it’s also an organizing model for doing a lot of other things that can increase our capacity collectively, I saw more of an entry-point for myself in the broader peer-to-peer revolution. What it’s really about is changing the way that we organize ourselves, as individuals and as a society. Occupy could be the overtly political manifestation of this phenomenon, whereas open-source software is how the tech world takes on these same principles."

Very interesting, Rosemary but I fear they are a paradigm ahead of me.  Interestingly, 'fear' is the right word for me.  I'm afraid.  How will I make my living if I give away the products of my work?  David

Hi David

Not so much a reply as a correction! In my article about the labyrinth as preparation for Open Source Thinking, I used a drawing of a cave picture from Italy dating back to 500BC- I wrongly accredited it to Sig Longren. In fact, the drawing was made by Jeff Sayward who kindly allowed us to use the photograph of the Alkenborough Turf Labyrinth. I promised Jeff I would issue a correction. So this is it, and thanks again, Jeff for being tolerant of my mistake.

Alison Piasecka

An evolving OST Library and Resources

By popular request, we've also started to develop a list of useful OST References and other resources.  Here's our starter for 10, begun by Rosemary.  Please feel free to add your own suggestions, annotations and comments.


Hi David

I absolutely get what you say about 'fear'.  I am only just beginning to understand at a deeper personal level that what I am drawn to- that is genuinely working with not for/against other people- is quite different from what I used to do a decade ago.  I am beginning to understand that what I do and the way I do it is still uniquely mine-and so if people want me and my services, they will still get that when they buy me.  But the possibilities of growth and development of what I am interested in and care about blossom massively when I step away from the 'fear' that you describe.  And connections and possibility become the currency of change and growth- both individual and in a bigger sense.  

David McAra said:

Very interesting, Rosemary but I fear they are a paradigm ahead of me.  Interestingly, 'fear' is the right word for me.  I'm afraid.  How will I make my living if I give away the products of my work?  David

Thinking about Open Source Thinking

Great challenge, Alison.  And here's a brief overview of the articles from the Spring 2013 edition of e-O&P, and an initial list of 26 questions, inspired by, or distilled from, those articles.

Please feel free to comment on, develop or add to them.

This string should help to get us started during our workshop in Brighton on 2 August.

See you there!

Best wishes. Bob and Rosemary


I really enjoyed the OST workshop in Brighton and thought I'd share a facilitation method called Gift Garden. I'd really appreciate comments to help improve it.  The Gift Garden is a method I originally developed for an interactive session on climate adaptation for 80+ participants at a conference in Ethiopia in 2011. It brings together elements of large group facilitation from approaches including World Cafe and Open Space with Yes, and from Applied Improvisation. There's a description of the method here on the KSToolkit, a blog piece on Eldis Communities reflecting on using the method and a short video introduction :-)

Hi, Carl

I'm glad you enjoyed OST 2013 in Brighton.  It was good to share ideas with you there.

I'll certainly click on your links, and let you know if I have any suggestions.

Very best wishes.  Bob

Our 'group of four' (Bob, Patrick, Alison and Rosemary) have been chatting via email about open source developments and sharing some of our recent discoveries with each other. Here, in case you'd like to join the conversation, is some of what we've found over the past few weeks:

Otto Scharmer on America Emerging - Western Civilization 2.0 

Open Source Workers, Harold Jarche

Digital transformation skills, Harold Jarche

A wave of disruption is sweeping in to challenge neoliberalism, Jonathan Dawson, Guardian

Reimagining Work(RSA) 

The data revolution: finding the missing millions(ODI)

World Bank,  Open Knowledge Repository 

Appreciative Inquiry for Co-creating Society 3.0

Deloitte: Canadian businesses woefully unprepared for pending techn... (Canadian Manufacturing)

The Uberization of Personal Services (CBS News)

Swarming - creating your new market that lasts, without throwing ca... (posted by Felix Lepoutre, Society 3.0 website)

Swarm Theory, by Peter Miller, National Geographic, July 2007

Feel free to share any interesting articles, relating to open source thinking, that you have noticed recently :)

Thank you for adding to our growing list of resources, Rosemary.

Two other useful items might be:

The entire themed edition of e-O&P in which we initiated this conversation in 2013: Open Source Thinking: possibilities for "yes ... and conversations", Vol 20, No 1, Spring,   and

John Lanchester: 'The robots are coming', The London Review of Books, vol 37, No 5, 5 March 2015, pp: 3-8,

I hope that others will feel free to help in identifying useful OST resources.

Best wishes.  Bob


Her is a catalogue - with links - of Rosemary Cairns' curated documents that she mentions in her article in the Spring 2016 edition of e-Organisations and People (Vol 23, No 1). It's called ‘How social media, open source, and self-organisation are changing governance: the impact of migration from Syria’, and it should give you some helpful context.

Best wishes. Bob.


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