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As a social entrepreneur in the BeNeLux my focus lies on a holistic approach for helping companies mature their social media exploits, externally and/or internally. Rogier is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 45 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Open Business, there’s light at the end of the tunnel

11.11.2013
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In the grant scheme of things we are merely pawns.

Most of us try to change the world, only a handful actually do. However, when it comes to social business, or rather society, things are slightly different. Here, numbers count. The more people involved with, lets call it “the movement”, the more chance it has of succeeding. Sounds logical, don’t it?

One of things I wrote about earlier, and I hope is inevitable, is the convergence of two different “movements” with the same name. There is a third, with a slightly different name, but with a very complimentary set of standards.

Open Business

Last week someone mentioned Open Business, I just had to check that out.

The definition according to Wikipedia:

Open business is an approach to enterprise that draws on ideas from openness movements like free software, open source, open content and open tools and standards.

So, yes, there is a  difference between Social Business and Open Business, mainly the openness. Hence the term.

I do agree we have a long way to go, for any form of social or open business to establish itself firmly in our society.
Open business makes it a bit less abstract, meaning it might help us in clearing the air a bit around the enigma that is Social Business.

Social Business

Open business is NOT social business. It’s no the same thing. At most, it can be seen as part of the whole.
The way I see, it is neatly placed between the two existing definitions of social business.

social_vs_open_business

The ideal situation would be combining the three into one, a very progressive way of doing business. Although not entirely unobtainable, it seems more routed in a Star Trekian philosophy than in the real world.

Below are the main ideas of concept of Open Business. You be the judge on how ‘real’ this is.

  • Open learning/sharing — a fundamental tenet is open collaboration at all levels in all locations
  • Open participation — open invitation to join the organization (similar to SourceForge, Blender community, where individual/team input within the community framework [for special services, consulting, training, adaptions, courses, camps, symposiums, books] can help to build individual income)
  • Individual rights — each person is supported and encouraged to identify and optimise their personal development, i.e. technical, personal, spiritual, etc.
  • Community focus — productivity activities are seen as part of a range of normal human activities e.g. family life, community life, religious commitments, etc.
  • Institution free — the organization is not based on any existing institution – state, religious or otherwise. Members can hold whatever views or affiliations they like.
  • Open knowledge — the free exchange of knowledge by making use -as much as possible- of open standards, open source and open content principles.
  • Open member details — including open access to the contact details of all other members in a convenient form (i.e. once the range and depth of those details have been approved for release by that particular member)
  • Open financials—all accounting information including the compensation of others

Some of these ideas are in tune with social business, others not so much. And some are outright difficult to achieve.

Awerness

In communicating these ideas, these values, combined with The Ten Tenets of Social Business, there is potential for some great implementations. Especially for fledging companies.

If any entrepreneur is starting a new company, it would be relatively easy to base its philosophy on these ideas. Anybody who wants to work for or with the company must abide to this philosophy.
Building it up like that gives you the very best chance of succeeding.

Changing an existing company takes more effort and time (but is not impossible).

Available Information

The good thing about all this is that all the information you need to change your business and have a positive effect on society is right available to you. The almighty and all knowing Internet provides enough reasons to become a social business.., or even an open business.

The choice is always up to you, whatever part you play within a company, anybody can start this. Having the support and involvement of top management makes everything a lot easier, but not having it, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

However, help can be found. There are more and more professionals turning their attention towards social business. People with different backgrounds, like HR or Change Management, but with a common interest and a joint passion. The first step to a successful change is understanding Why this is important. It’s the first step on your journey towards the future.

Published at DZone with permission of Rogier Noort, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)