I took part in an interesting seminar at Demos on Thursday on Open Source Public Policy. It dovetailed well with my current crowd-wisdom reading which, at least partly, is what open source is about. Particularly as concerns decentralization and aggregation: it is easy to forget, amidst the hype, that Linux, for example, is a living, breathing, organic entity in its own right, which functions with no hierarchy or structure. Which is, of course, nonsense: Linus Torvalds and his small band of merry men decide which bits get added officially to the source code of Linux, just as a small band of users 'approve' new entries on Wikipedia and so on. What Surowiecki makes clear is that the decentralized crowd can be smart and powerful, but needs to be aggregated in the 'right' way.
Anyway, all that aside, it was good to let the mind wander and wonder what an "open source health service" might look like, for example, or to discuss the potential of the BBC's creative archive if released into the digital/virtual ether. Also good to have clarified the difference between open source as a concept and as a strictly defined term...indeed, I found it more useful to talk of open source characteristics than, for example, an 'open source model' for an organisation [Charlie Leadbetter makes a similar point in his write-up]. For me, personally, it was also good to consider the possibilities with relation to the Global Ideas Bank: to what degree could we be considered to have open source characteristics; to what extent could we be more so; how useful would that be; should I stop being, in the words of another contributor, the 'dictator' (!).....I'm sure some would say yes.... ;0)