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What Open Source // Open Society taught us

Open Source // Open Society was a compelling two days of confronting, wide ranging, exploratory...

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Open Source // Open Society was a compelling two days of confronting, wide ranging, exploratory and exciting ideas. We left inspired, challenged, exhausted and incredibly proud to have been involved. It's common that this feeling fades after the buzz of the conference event has faded. But OS//OS challenged attendees to be involved, not just to listen to speakers but participate in discussions and create ideas that can be be put into action. We're confident that the ideas sparked will continue to grow now the event has passed. Here's some thoughts from the SilverStripe team who attended: 

David Craig (Senior Javascript Developer) 

A number of the GitHub speakers mentioned that their developers open pull requests as early as possible. As soon as there is some work done on a feature, they open a pull request. This allows the community / internal stakeholders to comment on the direction of a feature as it's developed, instead of waiting until the end, when it's often too late to make major changes. We're going to try that internally so UX can give feedback as new features are developed. 

Ben balter

"Ship 0.1, not 1.0" - Ben Balter, Head of Open Government, GitHub

Hamish Friedlander (CTO)

I particularly enjoyed hearing from the many GitHub delegates. “Why are you attending this conference?” I asked some of my colleagues. “For the github stickers” was the only-joking-but-not response. I’m pretty sure they didn’t get any stickers, but they did get ideas - from Brandon Keepers’ (Head of Open Source, GitHub) introductory keynote on how the principles of openness have driven innovation, exploration and productivity throughout history, to Chris Kelly’s (Director of Outreach, GitHub) thoughtful deconstruction of how different methods of open collaboration can encourage or inhibit openness, capability and diversity, GitHub was definitely present and bringing it. GitHub challenged us to create an open source community that's truly open, and welcoming to everyone. 

Chris Kelly at OSOS

"Open can lead to an argument culture" - Chris Kelly, Director of Outreach, Github 

Carlos Barberis (Developer)

OS//OS was a great conference over 2 days in Wellington. The conference posed a lot questions, and attempted to come to consensus on the matters that are relevant for the society of the information age.

Some of the most important takeaways for me, just to name a few, were the super committed community, with a large number of young people, using technology and the values of open source to help government improve and therefore have a better society as a whole. Everyone agreed that technology is not the hard part, the challenges are mainly in changing people's mindset in order to introduce new ways to help members of the public, create a more transparent, participative government that includes everyone. 

Govt panel at OSOS

The Government should open everything! Panel (left to right) Ben Balter of GitHub, Bene Anderson of Department of Internal Affairs, Cam Findlay of SilverStripe and Laura O'Connell Rapira of ActionStation

Ingo Schommer (Solutions Architect)  

The "world cafe" format was an interesting way to engage 350 conference participants in meaningful discussion, and access their "collective intelligence". The idea is to form small self organising discussion groups around themed questions, such as "How do I participate in open source in both life and work?". After introducing themselves, discussing and collectively taking notes for a few minutes, the group disperses and finds new members around the same question. Everybody should have their opinion heard within a group. After a few rounds, participants from different questions mix and present the collective findings to their newly formed group. In short: Collaborative idea speed dating!

World cafe at OSOS

Well done to the organisers from Enspiral, Loomio and Chalke plus the wider OS/OS community! We're already looking forward to next year's event! 

Photography used with thanks to Mark Tantrum. Creative Commons License: OS//OS photography by Mark Tantrum ( is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International License.

About the author
Nicole Williams

Nicole has over 10 years experience in marketing and communications. As Head of Product, she is responsible for overseeing product management, product delivery, and marketing at SilverStripe. Nicole is responsible for engaging with public sector agencies to drive forward the vision and roadmap for the Common Web Platform, harnessing the potential of open source to share government innovation

Nicole is an advocate for knowledge sharing, believing it’s key to keeping up with the pace of tech. Her writing has been featured on Hubspot, and Huffington Post.


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  • Re: David's point about opening pull requests early, here's a highly specified pull request procedure for making the most open contributor community:

    Posted by Rich, 04/05/2015 9:05am (9 years ago)

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