Session: Scaling (October 5)

Hope (Facilitator), with Dan, Alex, Kevin, Kyle

Group discussion format

Post-it notes that instigated the session:
Scale is a “conceptual framework”
“Tweaking margins or building differently?”
“Grow/expand without breaking”
“Near - long-term balance”
“Talking vs doing”

Developer/client relationships: client needs something now, but proper development may need more time
Open source has challenges - social/organizational/planning is a bigger challenge than technical
Is there a problem with scale mismatch?
How do we converge on a goal, given huge overaching goals in open source? How do we mobilize effectively?
Navigate where everyone is
Collaborations are possible (or not) depending on what’s going on now, but may foreclose on future opportunities
Do we work together on specific project or just remain in the same orbit?
Distributed nature of open source is a factor. We’re not a single division at Hewlett-Packard taking orders from a central authority
Need a framework for understanding if/when to collaborate
Fragmented funding sources also a challenge
Are there other models from which open source can borrow?
Lots of work is side projects…libraries
On a scale of maturity, open source is still on the low end
Need to build a foundation that enables the right kind of scale
What can we do?

  • Catalog of tools
  • Can’t all be GOAT and OpenTEAM

General discussion about “lists of lists” - need to be careful because:

  • No one just jumps into a list to answer a question
  • Many people have lists, but they’re not necessarily relevant to others
  • Curation may introduce bias into the selection of what’s on the list, who “wins” or “loses”

Domain knowledge: people may do their thing well, but coordination requires different skills
Maybe patience/friction is just an endemic part of open source/democratic governance
What can be done quickly?

  • Very specific tool development…not complete products
  • Way to visualize in one place the roadmaps of multiple projects and resources available. E.g., Project 1 publishes a roadmap, Project 2, etc. Gives visibility into bigger picture
  • Developer cooperative to take on various functions: recruitment, payment, admin, facilitate collaborations.

Example in circular economy (goods): to get materials where they need to be at the right time requires advance planning. Is there an analogy in mobilizing resources in open source?

  • Visual tool for showing people available and opportunities for collaboration?
  • Example: Regen Network’s Notion page

If you bring enough people together… there will be tendencies toward centralization. What’s the “appropriate” level?
Developer co-op would also be good from a project manager perspective
May not be possible for ~10 orgs to align for a design sprint
Network is the value/asset, but not highly reproducible
Look to conference grants to help enable regional work efforts?
Return to topic of lists. Alternative is maybe to organize info around the question of “what do I want to do?” rather than in more traditional catalog format
Some VCs use a scoring system to guide investment amounts into companies that reflects the company’s development,

  • e.g., Idea < Prototype < Product-Market Fit
  • Similar to NASA and other US government agencies: Technical Readiness Level (TRL)
  • Potentially helpful for projects looking for funding: “We are [at this stage], we should be looking for [this kind of resource]”

Use of term “scale” implies there is a scale.
Readiness scale can also help match people - e.g., some people are good at the “zero-to-one” part of an effort, others are good at different stages
What platforms/events would be useful?
How do we get people/projects to orbit together?
Social things need to happen - more events
Findability: visual map - spaces where tools/teams work - maturity level
Some examples already, e.g., OpenTEAM
Share these ideas with the other sessions on funding

@hopeCAL @awlayton @DanT @kcussen @kylebirchard