Open Work

An open work is a project, community, or institution built on “architectures of openness.” That is they are organized and structured in a way that anticipates & encourages change. They are in a sense “hackable.”

Open works have three core characteristics:

  • They are many voiced.It draws on the Collective Intelligence of the crowd/community/tradition. It is holistic in its approach to knowing rather than being one singular voice/text/role for truth. Within a model of collective intelligence all are Apprentices.
  • Their knowledge is decentralized. They are based on “collective intelligence” and have processes that support this. It is rooted in knowledge as participatory, shared, experienced through living and practice rather than “abstract and known.” In an open work, the process of making decisions is itself a tool for building community.
  • They are structured in a way that anticipates & welcomes change. There is a big difference between proprietary and open-source software. One is locked down, only a few have access to the source code. The other is structured in such a way that it anticipates many different streams of source code and is programmed to handle such diverse flows.

A Few examples of open works are:

  • YouTube
  • – Wikipedia
  • – Theaster Gates artwork in architecture
  • – Godly Play as a pedagogy
  • – Quaker use of Queries
  • – Quaker Meeting for Worship
  • – Quaker Group Decision Making

I wrote more in-depth about this concept in this issue of my newsletter and in my book Convergent Model of Renewal.

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