If the Goal is Scale, Promote Theft

if scaling impact is the goal—versus the security or perpetuity of our organizations and its members—making our playbooks open source makes perfect sense

Excerpted from Eric Stowe:

“Organizations can’t ignite systems change alone. They will always be hindered by their own programmatic myopia, constrained by their internal innovation cycles, isolated by their own geographic limitations, restrained by their ever-present funding limitations, and hampered by their capacity to manage rapid growth. If we could free existing solutions from these constraints, would we continue to see more new innovations or would we start to see greater replication of established, effective models?

Imagine if successful organizations learned to systematically make their business models open source without being territorial, without having to safeguard brands. This epochal shift in traditional development thinking would actually promote, rather than hinder, significant gains in the overall reach and efficacy of social sector work.

I am not suggesting a new take on collective impact. I see it as a new way of iterating that would allow for significant and rapid improvements on existing and successful products—not rapid prototyping of early-stage innovations or “hack-a-thoning” new ideas, but rapidly scaling what already works by way of entirely new actors who can tangibly increase the efficiency, expansion, reach, and net impact of the original model, whatever the sector and wherever the work.

By opening up our models, successful groups will make second-mover advantage (when a company benefits from feedback on a competitor’s earlier release) possible—in fact, probable. And if scale and real saturation are the end goals, versus a single organization’s success and acclaim, then this is exactly what we need to see. “

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