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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sooner or Later, the Open Source Revolution Will Come to Government, Too

Jeff Jarvis points to a Bob Garfield piece in AdAge that does a super job of explaining what the Open Source Revolution is about and its impact on marketing, advertising, media, manufacturing and much else.

The essence of the revolution is that it turns basic assumptions inside-out, starting with the rapidly obsoleting notion that centralized management of everything is the most efficient approach to organization of complex tasks.

Thanks to the Internet, decentralization is becoming the governing assumption. But not just on the org chart. Think tv ads made by customers, not automakers. Think new features created for an existing product not by the product development team but by customers. Think customer service by customers.

But when I read one of these pieces (and Garfield's is quite good), I am often struck by the silence on an arena that governs so much of what can and cannot be done in every other arena. I'm talking about government, of course.

Garfield doesn't address the issue of what the Open Source Revolution means for government. I think that is a fundamental issue. Of all the arenas where "customers" should call the shots, government is the one.

I suggest that Open Source also means Big Government is as alien to the future as grey flannel suits were to corporate creativity.