Don't Reinvent the Wheel, Open Source it
by Michael Meyers
Last week, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk announced that the company would open source their entire patent portfolio and exemplified how organizations can drive innovation by adopting open source practices and principles throughout their entire businesses - beyond software development.
In particular, Musk highlighted that top human resources – talented, motivated people – are what drive the success of organizations, not patents. Talented people gravitate towards environments that foster innovation and growth, where they’ll have an opportunity to work on new and interesting challenges.
At Acquia, we see first hand how open source is transforming businesses and driving innovation. Many of the large organizations I work with at Acquia solved their talent and recruiting problems by getting more engaged in open source projects and by adopting basic open source practices and principles. This is a very common “first step” that I see many organizations take with open source, but the benefits go well beyond attracting and retaining talent.
In addition to growing their amazing talent base, by opening up their patent portfolio (or software etc.) and seeking to work together with their peers, organizations create economies of scale; they drive down costs across the entire lifecycle of their investment by sharing these costs with others. This is a huge win in R&D heavy environments like software and automotive manufacturing. Furthermore, instead of reinventing the wheel, by collaborating with others on common problems Tesla and other automotive manufacturers can focus more time and resources on the challenges that haven’t been solved - a much more effective approach that better utilizes resources.
Through the Acquia Large Scale Drupal (LSD) Program we help leading organizations adopt and leverage open source practices and principles so they too can execute faster, and foster a culture of innovation. We help companies understand the benefits - like attracting and retaining talent - and come up with ways to enable organizations to successfully adopt these strategies and methodologies.
The LSD Program works with organizations around the globe, across every industry including media and entertainment, sports, and pharmaceuticals. These organizations traditionally compete on things like creating compelling content, and bringing life saving drugs to market but they recognize that they are not Internet technology companies - and they aren’t competing with each other over software frameworks like Drupal.
Like Tesla, the organizations participating in the LSD Program understand that the benefits of working together significantly outweigh any downside and that this approach gives them more resources and funding to compete where they truly differentiate and provide unique value.
Every business should be looking to adopt open source practices and principles to operate faster and create better products through the input of many minds and perspectives - great ideas can come from anywhere, and it’s easier and quicker to build on ideas in an open shared environment that fosters collaboration.