June 21, 2004

Open Source Knowledge

A few years back a professor I had talked about the shelf-life of knowledge. His point was that informaiton goes stale quickly, especially in the technology world. There isn't much value in keeping it locked away. The value, in the information and knowledge space, is in sharing what you know.

This has stuck with me. This is good, because this was about the only worthwhile thing to come from this particular professor.

One obvious outgrowth of this concept is this weblog. Sure, I could keep it private, and use it as a place to store links and thoughts solely for myself. At one point, before the explosion of weblogs, I did keep a personal knowledge database. I find the weblog much more useful and interesting, not to mention easy to use (google indexes the weblog; no way it could get to my personal DB).

Anyway, I'm reminded of all of this thanks to a post from Evelyn Rodriguez:

I have a feeling this applies beyond professional services. I am always surprised by how much consultants hoard knowledge and even how I've been tempted to guard against "leaking" too much of my expertise. Even professional service firms talk about their "proprietary" intellectual "property" - often not in the form of products, but typically their practices, processes and methodology.
I don't feel that way anymore and had already been considering how to implement an open source innovation strategy - where clients participate in the ideation and solution-finding and the takeaway bonus is learning and instilling new practices and processes).