In my previous post on Obsolescing the Middle Men, I had referred to commons-based peer production. From George Siemens I learned that Irving Wladawsky-Berger, VP Technical Strategy & Innovation at IBM, takes this form of production very seriously. Wladawsky-Berger states that :
Clearly, despite having built a highly successful, profitable business on a proprietary model, IBM takes the open source movement in its many manifestations very seriously. Working in an open community is for us a no-nonsense business decision, made only after considerable analysis of the technology and market trends, and due diligence on the community, its licensing and governance, and the quality of its offerings.
I think that we are seeing the next phase of open source getting bigger and more serious. Even more traditional business publications, such as Knowledge@Wharton are discussing open source models. This is a practical and pragmatic way of doing business which can be profitable, but also idealistic in that it fosters the common good. This may be the new model that our antiquated managerial capitalist world needs.
Commons-based peer production is a BIG idea.
For the past several years I have participated in a number of regional economic and industry-focused development initiatives. They have focused on how a region can be more innovative, get more jobs, create wealth, etc. In all of these cases the status quo remains, in terms of power and wealth. I also don’t see much real innovation, especially the quantum type referred to by Franz Johansson. The Commons could be the unifying idea that allows companies to make profits, individuals to opt-in on their own terms and non-profits to participate and benefit. However, to really make commons-based peer production work, the traditional power centres (corporations, executives, bureaucrats) will have to give up control, and that could prove to be most difficult.
Perhaps it could start with the CBC?