Ismael Ghalimi of Intalio came to see me the other day, and I gave him the advice I give almost every entrepreneur: think about how you can move beyond just open source code to a broader architecture of participation, in which your users build collective value by automatically sharing the work product they create while using your software.
Tim’s idea is to encourage users of our process design tool to share their process models through a public repository, much like people contribute articles to Wikipedia today. With the proper infrastructure in place, a process analyst building a custom order entry process for SAP could immediately get access to the list of processes that have been built using the same SAP BAPI that lets you create the header for a purchase order for example. You might not find the exact process that you were trying to build, but you would benefit from the collective experience of your peers, and you would start from were they stopped, as opposed to starting from scratch….on my way back from Sebastopol, I met with a company that builds advanced factory floor automation software for the manufacturing industry, and they offered to contribute some of their processes if we were to build the proposed repository.
A good start. The key point, though, is not just to have a repository to which people can contribute, but to find ways to make that contribution the default behavior, in the way that Napster set off the p2p revolution by having sharing be the normal state, rather than an exception.