Open Development: Beyond Proprietary Solutions


Information is power - this is not new - but information in the hands of activist citizen groups can determine the course of national development.

Information technology, the open source system in particular, has begun to revolutionize the people-centered development movement, contributing to a phenomenon called open development. The open source system enables citizens to access resources that used to be held only by experts in the form of knowledge and influence. The system breaks this proprietary hold on resources and “allows communities to work together and solve problems” (Irving Wladawsky-Berger. OSS Watch Team Blog).

Open development implies collaboration among networked individuals and communities. In the developing world, citizens and civil society groups are becoming co-creators of solutions, not passive recipients of assistance.

Open development has four key attributes:

  • user engagement,
  • transparency,
  • collaboration (participation in resource creation), and
  • agility (the ability to “ride waves” and the flexibility to respond to changing environments).

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