The sixth quality of open collaboration

So far the list of qualities for being open collaboration I had were
non-hierarchical, emergent, open, non-owned, participatory. These are not qualities set in stone for most open collab projects also have the opposite qualities.

I’ve been pondering for a while now of adding a sixth quality – which is transparency.

I think transparency is really useful because it allows different parties in the group to make their own decisions on what to do on a larger information source. Traditionally in firms there
is a lot of secret stuff that the higher ups know that the underlings dont. This makes it difficult for underlings to make their own decisions that are in the best interest of the firm. So underlings thus need to take orders from higher ups. But if we want a less hierarchical system then we need to distribute the intelligence and make all parts self-organizing. And that comes with transparency.

In Linux, all discussions are kept on record for everyone to read. Very different than discussions at Microsoft about their software.

I think transparency is kind of scary – it is for me, because it can result in a certain loss of power. And certain positioning. And it can mean revealing things that seem embrassing, like all the unprofessional things about your organization.

Transparency though also breeds a certain kind of loyalty as many can see what you are doing, and see all your pimples and warts. Its like reality tv on your project.

I also think though there are things that are private, and things that are sacred. If all discussions were made public would that confuse a lot of people because of all the different opinions? So I still have to think about this transparency quality more. In general though I would say open collaborative projects are more transparent than traditional hierarchical ownership oriented organizations and projects.


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