OPEN everything (Toronto) Reflection

The first half-day OPEN everything event happened in Toronto at the Centre for Social Innovation on Wednesday and was a great start to what’s going to be a very interesting series. Mark Surman – the mastermind of the series – opened the agenda and launched the group into an exploration of what ‘open’ is and what are the underlying principles.

I twittered some of my observations on the day and have a running tag which is going to capture the ongoing conversation (#openeverything). Some of the highlights for me were:

  • social capital is the key currency – more important than financial capital
  • leadership is essential and often looks like a benevolent dictator
  • control is of priorities rather than tasks
  • purpose and values are more powerful than strategy and logic
  • it’s better to graft on to an existing community than try and create a new one
  • open projects need to be big to be able to absorb the capacity of the community
  • open isn’t new (1 example was from the 17th and 18th centuries)

That last point helps also to remind me that this is part of our ongoing nature and evolution – and part of the Great Remix. What we are seeing as expressions of open now are necessarily coloured by the context of our society today. Clearly. So what will be interesting as we go forward with this is what are the essential enduring principles? What’s the heart of open? How do we kick-it up to kick-up the pace of our evolution to a just and sustaianble state? Fun.

Thanks to Mark, Tonya and everyone who participated. We’re on to something here.

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