The Open Source Method
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
~ Buckminster Fuller
A corporation gets its charter, mandate or right to exist from the state. If we want to form organizations that get their mandate from the people we need to find a better method. People’s organizations exist by the will of the people and don’t need any contract with the state to exist. Groups can be free, autonomous and find legitimacy because of our civil rights of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly.
Corporations have a formula or model of organizing themselves that has been the standard for decades, if not centuries. A corporation files its articles of incorporation with the state and then forms a board of directors who oversee a pre-organized structure. The corporation creates departments and divisions with appropriate executives and managers and then seeks to hire qualified people to plug into various positions with pre-arranged duties and responsibilities.
That’s not the model we want to use because it’s not the model of a grassroots organization. Just as a side-note, this isn’t a contradiction of the previous chapter on cell groups that we talked about in the first book. Some people are more inclined and have greater goals that require an organization. There is always a danger with dissident organizations that they will become infiltrated and coopted by agents. Almost all non-profit organizations are underfunded and struggle to raise donations so they are very vulnerable to nefarious actors providing funds and inserting themselves inside the organization to compromise and control it. If non-profits grow larger it might be a good idea to split into two groups as a strategy to remain effective and avoid infiltration.
To continue, the open source method is a way to organize a small fledgling organization of people with common goals. The open-source method advocates the application of the philosophies of the open-source and open-content movements of democratic principles to enable any interested citizen to add to the creation of policy, as with a wiki document or software program.
It’s very simple. Get your group together in one place and get a few large sections of paper or you could use a whiteboard. Large pads of newsprint or artist’s paper are available at Staples or other stationary stores.
1. Ask everyone what their vision for the group is and write each answer down. Make them bullet comments or you’ll use up too much space. Everyone is asked to answer. Note: this isn’t a grudge session so avoid getting into complaints and gripes.
2. Ask everyone what they want to do personally and write every comment down.
3. Compile the comments, and the visions and desires of the group will become obvious. Present the compiled comments in condensed form to the next meeting.
4. The idea is to create a “vision statement” for the organization. It should be one sentence only.
5. Usually several goals will become apparent and then at the next meeting break up the group into the sub groups of those suggested goals. These will become the departments of the new organization. Those who want can volunteer to be the leaders of each department.
The Open Source Method creates a grassroots organization that truly is of the people, by the people and for the people. The corporate model is not inherently democratic. It’s a top-down system built on an escalating hierarchy created for the sole purpose of making profits. As we have discussed previously, freedom and democracy are horizontal, not vertical. That doesn’t mean that there are no leaders. We should avoid the danger of creating an organization that is too democratic. There will never be a leaderless group, organization, government or society. The alphas will always rise to the top, for better or worse.
If you want to learn more about Open Source Organizations, download a free pdf here:
While every organization is different—and therefore every example of an open organization is unique—we believe these five characteristics serve as the basic conditions for openness in most contexts:
Transparency, Inclusivity, Adaptability, Collaboration, Community.
Part of the solution to overcoming the Empire of Chaos is to plant the seeds of new institutions that can eventually replace our existing, outdated, failing institutions. The Open Source Method makes it easier for small groups to quickly create an organization organically from the ground up.
Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat is one of the leaders of the Open Organization method. His company Red Hat is a meritocracy based on the principles of transparency, participation and community. From his book Open Organization on Amazon, “he shows how to leverage it to build community, respond quickly to opportunities, harness resources and talent both inside and outside the organization, and inspire, motivate, and empower people at all levels to act with accountability.”
If we want to create a better world, it starts here and now with our community of freedom-loving people. We can no longer be content with abdicating our responsibility of managing our societies, cities and nations. We must plant the seeds of a new and better world to ensure the prosperity of future generations.