Open Source Public Policy
But you can have projects which are formally open source which do not encourage open source ways of working: an open source airliner might fit into this category. The plans might be available open source but it might be impossible to organise an open source community around the project.
Then the question is whether you can generate open source style ways of working - decentralised, collaborative, peer to peer - without needing formal open source ownership. The answer to this is clearly yes but they are less than pure open source.
This latter point matters because in some cases the obstacle to creating an open source style of working is not to be found in intellectual property constraints. The blockage might be, for example, about professional power. What stops people in health and education devising more open, collaborative, self-managed approaches is the control that professionals still exert in defining what the service should be. Making medical knowledge formally open
source under a public license might help but you would need other reforms as well to encourage open source ways of working.
So I think the task, at least for us at Demos (not for the pure open source evangelists) is to describe the conditions under which mass, collaborative, decentralised solutions become possible; when do they work; and what stands in their way? How do you spread open source styles of working even if you cannot spread open source ownership?
If we think these distributed, co-created, collaborative approaches are potent in creating public goods then how can be enable more of them? In some sectors the biggest obstacles might be IP reform. In others it may be to do with professional power and inequalities in access to resources.
Anyway, the session certainly got me thinking. Thanks to all who came along.