As well as Cloud Ventures, which is for development of commercial start-ups focused on Cloud Computing, I also provide a voluntary executive role for iFOSSF, a USA-based 501(c)3 non-profit.
iFOSSF has a social mission to leverage open source for repeatable solutions to achieve the UN’s Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), and it’s an exciting area where the two overlap. Cloud computing can accelerate innovation, and that can include ‘Social Innovation’.
It can also accelerate more ‘Open Government’, which is the most powerful model for re-engineering how government works, and Social Innovation can stipulate what the end result of that re-engineering should be.
Open sourcing best practices
We’re now applying for various grants to fully launch iFOSSF in 2011, such as the Landmark ‘IT for Good’ RFP: Read more here.
To build a partner group to respond to these projects our main activity will be building a Global Best Practices system, a community and knowledge base, where locally developed innovations can be globally replicated using open source as the distribution mechanism.
The objective is to build a repository of Open Government case studies from all over the world, and define how these can be repeated elsewhere.
For example Tami won the AOL Innovation in the Community award for the use of open source technologies in the ‘Guid Life‘ project, and other social groups could use the same software the same way.
The open source software ecosystem caters for this naturally, and so our ambitions for an additional best practices network is to augment this process with more structured adoption processes. For example including the business reference materials and technical support help.
Open Data Innovation
The objective of this best practices community is to harness and integrate a number of innovative trends, and direct them towards pioneering Social Innovation in a repeatable manner.
Throughout the world there are a multitude of pioneers leading the way in different but related areas.
For example in British Columbia they’re pioneering the adoption of ‘Open Identity’ Infocards for their online citizen identity systems, and in Toronto and Warwickshire they’re pioneering Open Data projects.
These are just a few of many thousand, but typically the remain isolated projects. So the objectives of a best practices system is identifying each of these individual advances and then providing the mechanisms for replicating them globally as part of one overall joined up system.
So the partners we’re looking for include roles such as:
- Policy leaders and social entrepreneurs – Groundbreaking individuals with a vision for how the system can be changed to achieve the MDGs.
- Institutional ‘intrapreneurs’ – These new models should drive enterprise transformation of the government behemoth administrations, requiring internal ‘institutional entrepreneurs’ to drive these changes.
- Software innovators – Developers creating the new software to enable these new ways of working.
In particular we first need the technical experts who can design such a best practices sharing system…..