Open – Review

“How do our minds cope with the torrent of information coming at us from every angle today? How do we convert so much knowledge into socially productive wisdom? What can we do to close the gap between those who have access to open learning, and those who (still) do not?

The genuine democratisation of knowing is still being fought over.”
David Price in Open: How we’ll work live and learn in the future

I really enjoyed reading “Open” as it flowed well and was full of interesting stories, all bound into a singular framework. The core of this book is David Price’s SOFT model and I have highlighted some components in this summary table, with further explanations below.

Open SOFTSociety

A Global Learning Commons is “… essentially a shared resource, which works through carefully balancing rights and responsibilities. As it is with air, or water, so should it be with learning. Your right of access to the knowledge and skills of others is balanced with a responsibility to share what you can offer.”

Three characteristics of a GLC are participation, passion, and purpose. “The enthusiasm and ability of small groups of self-organising citizens to respond to respond to challenges makes bigger, better funded, organisations look slow and cumbersome in comparison.”


A commitment to sharing radically alters the culture of organisations.” On the subject of open for business, the CEO of Ingenious media, an investment and advisory group, states, “The reason why we don’t worry about giving that knowledge away is because most people can’t implement what they know. The capital value of something these days is the ability to implement it rather than to create it originally.” Freedom to fail is what enabled 3M to invent post-it notes and Google to develop new products through Google Labs. Finally, trust needs to be a core business value; “The lesson to be learned from IBM is that trust demands courage; the courage to let go, the courage to trust others, and, more than anything, the courage to jump the knowing-doing gap.”


“[Innovators cited in the book] believe in education as a force for social equality – Marc Lewis sees his school as a catalyst for diversity and equality in the communications industry (a notoriously white, male, middle-class occupation). They believe in values-driven learning – Larry Rosenstock is fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson, ‘The purpose of public education isn’t to serve the public; the purpose of public education is to create a public.’ And they see it as a duty to ensure that the ideas behind their successes don’t remain in the petri dish, but spread virally throughout the system – witness Anne Knock’s sense of responsibility to educators across Australia. They all see themselves as part of a social movement to redefine education, not simply to lead it in their own schools.”

I recommend this book and would see it as a good one to keep a couple of extra copies, so you can give them away to those on the other side of the Open adoption chasm.

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