I’ve just returned from the best conference I’ve ever attended. It was the “summit’ of the Free Libre Open Knowledge FLOKSociety held in Quito, Ecuador. In recent times I’ve followed the free software, open source, open knowledge, open culture, new commons movement and its leading advocates. What happened in Quito was phenomenal: a gathering of activists, academics, pubic policy types, writers, hacktivists, indigenous people, visionaries, etc. — all mapping plans to take the “open knowledge” and the “new commons” approach into education, agriculture, new industrial production, public affairs, and other spheres of contemporary life. Under the general label of “Buen Conocer,” the event and the year of extensive research projects that preceded it were supported by the government of Ecuador. The next step is an attempt to realize at least parts of the vision mapped at the summit within that nation’s public policies, perhaps becoming a model for other countries as well as they seek alternatives to the toxic forms of capitalism and old fashioned socialism that earlier centuries have left behind.
There was a enormous amount of good energy and lively debate. Unlike the dreary scholarly gatherings I sometimes attend, there was very little show boating and trade show self-promotion that academic conferences usually feature. People seemed committed to making good ideas come to life in down-to-earth practical ways.
This site on the Resilience web page provides a good introduction and links for anybody interested.
Here in Spanish, is the summit’s site. I was primarily involved in the “Open Data and Open Government” table (“mesa,” shown below), skillfully moderated by Enrique Rojas, one of fourteen “mesas” where the issues were hammered out.
I’ll have more to say about this later as I ponder what I heard, saw and felt about it all, and as the results of the gathering emerge. Evidently, this June will be a month in which the central organizers and researchers edit and publish the summits findings and recommendations. The only newspaper reporter from the U.S. or Europe covering the scene was a fellow from The Guardian. I spoke with him at length. We’ll see what he has to say about the deliberations.