Everything that we look at has to be done through the lens of the new paradigm.

This week I had the pleasure of introducing open principles at the launch of the LearnTech Meetup.  At the launch, we were introduced to LearnerShape’s opensource project. The event covered introductions to AI in learning, open standards for education and shaping our future through open principles.


You can read the transcript from my talk here:

We’ve talked a lot about technical things today. And for me, I’m going to be bringing forward more about open behaviors, and how they can change how we live and work, and how we develop and create more successful projects in general.

So here we are in late 2020. It is a year that no one could have seen coming. In the tech industry, we’ve been talking about the speed of innovation for some time. And yet I think that most people prior to 2020, you know, felt like we were moving along very rapidly. Things were changing. And even within the constructs of digital transformation as we know it, we had plenty of time to begin to make changes and adapt. Even knowing that we were facing significant reskilling over the next couple of years in both North America and Europe. And then 2020 comes along and it shatters all of that because it doesn’t matter how fast we were innovating, no one was prepared for an entirely new paradigm to be on the scene.

What do I mean by that, “the world as we knew it” – you may have called it normal or even best practices but that is all gone or is now ineffective. There’s no way to go back to them and they are no longer applicable moving forward.

So everything that we look at has to be done through the lens of the new paradigm.

And so you may say, “Well, we’re not there yet. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic. We’re still figuring out what life is going to look like. And we just don’t know.” And this is true.

We are actually in a liminal space. We’re in a space now where the new has not yet been birthed. We’re still figuring out what we want it to look like and how we’re going to shape it. And whether you realize it or not, we’re all an active part in creating that reality. We have this opportunity right now to take a look at understanding that we had challenges we were previously addressing, but we are also now facing something completely new and unexpected.

We have an opportunity to revolutionize everything that we touch.

So in that context, I want to talk to you very quickly today about the principles of open.

I believe that the open principles will shape the foundation of the society that we’re bringing forward in the new paradigm. From business to education to how we interact as citizens. All of these things will be shifting based on these five open principles as a foundational level.

And it is also how we will be creating adaptable and resilient structures. A little over 5 years ago observations started to be made about what was going on in the opensource community. How are they working? Why is it working? What is the difference here that we can observe?

And through that, the Open Organization, which is an upstream community sponsored by RedHat’s OSPO, came to be and it started looking at identifying what the practices were that were being used in an opensource. The Open Org community began to define open principles (and to develop tools and resources) to support what we learned. They were identified and defined as adaptability, transparency, collaboration, exclusivity and community. [read the definitions here]

And the interesting thing, over the last five years that I’ve found as I’ve delved into the research and worked with organizations at scale around open, is that there’s still so much confusion. Because open principles mean something very different to a development team that’s looking at processes, development and design as they use very different descriptions and terminology. And yet when we look at them from a people context, like leadership and culture, these principles defined and operationalized look at our ways of working, general behaviors, and how we interact with each other.

But what I want to highlight for you is that the open principles, in general, is really the missing link.

They are the bridge between both the development and the ways of organizing for work in the people context. These five foundational values are the bridge to change.

They are the difference between an unsuccessful project or a successful project.

They are the difference between how we organize for work and our cultural ways of being.

So when we identify with these principles and ways of working, we’re able to clearly see how to look at the behaviors of humanness from a very different construct. And…why it is imperative to technology development and reskilling as well.

Since we are discussing learning and reskilling today we need to understand that we are still doing business and management from theories developed in the 1880’s. It shaped the fabric of our work and how we manage and govern the work of people.

But unfortunately, at that time we were designing it for people to act as cogs in the machine and we weren’t asking them to be human. However, we humans are beautifully gifted to problem solve, to foster community, to care for others, and we are inherently learning agile and adaptable.

We have an opportunity now to make adjustments within business structures, how we organize, how we hire, and even how we design solutions. 

If we are to address reskilling, new ways of organizing for problem-solving, or even product design, we need adaptable, resilient structures, and different learning opportunities. Learning from any traditional mindset or institution will not move us forward. It will keep us bound to the past — no matter how much tech you throw behind it. Because, without open people, open leadership, or open culture….our open software and technologies will not work.

Bridging the two areas [opensource and open people] will lead to sustainable and resilient solutions — and citizens….which is highly needed in a time of extreme uncertainty and the new paradigm emerging.