One of the hot issues that came up during the Vision document discussions (also here) was the idea of Open Research.
It's FP7 season, and time to put our money where our mouth is (sorry for the Americanism).
I'm sure many people in the network are working on proposals. Why not have an open process for this?
Now, you may think this is crazy, after all - we're in competition. But I say - think again. I remember back in the days of the Web1.0 gold rush, I had an idea and wanted to talk to some venture capitalist about it. I asked him to sign a non-disclosure argeement. He said "If the only thing you have going for you is that no one knows what you're thinking about, then don't bother. Either someone else is thinking the same, or they'll copy and better you the first time you expose it"
Here's a theory: the product of an open process can never be of a lesser quality than the product of a similar closed process. So if we open up, share our ideas, we can:
- learn from each other.
- form new teams.
- focus on our relative advantages.
As for myself, I'm party to two efforts. Since I'm not leading either, I can't say too much without my partners' consent. But I can say that one follows up on weblabs and playground, the other follows up on the learning patterns project .
Clive Thompson is researching for a Wired article on Radical transparency, and what better way to do it than post a note on his blog asking for input, or, as he puts it tapping the hivemind:
Normally, I don't post about magazine assignments I'm working on --
because the editors want to keep it secret. But now I'm researching a
piece for Wired magazine, and the editors have actually asked me
to talk about it openly. That's because the subject of the piece is
"Radical Transparency". And, in fact, I'd like your input in writing it.
The piece was originally triggered by a few postings on the blog of Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, and
the thesis is simple: In today's ultranetworked online world, you can
accomplish more by being insanely open about everything you're doing.
Indeed, in many cases it's a superbad idea to operate in highly secret
mode -- because secrets get leaked anyway, looking like a paranoid
freak is a bad thing, and most importantly, you're missing out on
opportunities to harness the deeply creative power of an open world.
Interestingly, much of the discussion refers to scientific process, which seems to tie in nicely with Kaleidoscope's notion of an open research community.
The thing about openness, is to know where it works, where it doesn't and how to tell the two apart. Its just like its absolutely great to be radically transparent with your spouse, but not always a great idea with your mother in law. But then, Clive means radical. Open to all. Again, sometimes, for some things, its great. As the LA times realized, it doesn't work so well for writing editorials. Then again, maybe it could - if you carefully designed the right technology and the right social practices to use it.
I have seen it, touched it, and played with it. The final industrial
design prototype for the XO, the device that the One Laptop Per Child
(OLPC) Initiative is going to start shipping to countries across the
world this summer. AMD hosted a luncheon on Monday to give the press an
update on the project, and to unveil the completed design.
Although the exterior form factor is now pretty much set
("Unless," said OLPC official Michalis Bletsas half-jokingly, "Nicholas
has another late-night inspiration.")
Educational content is still too expensive and inaccessible for many
developing countries, whether it is digital or traditional. As
connectivity rates increase dramatically, it makes sense to prepare
digital materials for these newly connected educational institutes,
teachers and young people. There are a number of interesting projects
worldwide to do this, including the Global Text Book project,
aiming to "create a free library of 1,000 electronic textbooks for
students in the developing world". These textbooks will cover areas
typically included in the first two years of undergraduate study - I'm
sure many developed world students will use them too.