As I’ve stated in my previous articles on an open future, Towards an Open Future and 12 Trends – Now and Future – of an Open World, creating a more open world is truly the path towards creating a better tomorrow.
A more open world is the hope of the future – it is the key to a more enlightened future, one that can allow us to live more peacefully with one another in a very sustainable way.
A more open future is predicated on people being more open of mind, of thinking beyond themselves and including in their perspective the perspective of others, and how their behaviors and actions may affect others.
It can also allow for the blossoming of innovation and new ideas and new ways of doing things, because it creates a pattern of openness in which innovation and connectivity more readily occurs, as ideas and innovation are more likely to blossom in environments where connection is more valued than protection, and where truth is allowed to be unrestrained. In tightly controlled environments, where the natural movement of ideas and innovation are tightly controlled, creativity is strangled.
We are seeing new ways of innovation occurring in ways that could never have occurred before, thanks to this understanding of what open means. I firmly believe that as the concept of open and what it means continues to take hold, that its spread will be less for intellectual reasons and more for visceral ones. This concept is a natural and organic one, and as it becomes more commonplace and applied by more and more people, it will feel as if it is the right thing to do and become part of the cultural and social milieu.
Because of this natural movement towards open, we are seeing some very exciting things happening all around us. One of the things that we are seeing is the development and proliferation of liquid networks and crowdfunding, as a way to cultivate the development of ideas and their capability to be implemented.
Liquid networks are open networks, where ideas flow in unregulated channels, and where connection is more valued than protection. Crowdfunding is where the ideas that come out of the liquid networks are then put to the crowd, to either be improved on or to solicit funds.
Let’s look at some examples of this:
Twitter is an example of a liquid network: Twitter is based on API, application programming software. Usually a company starts with what the engineers want to do, and then from there build the API around the design. Twitter instead created the API first and then exposed everything to the public, the codes and language, and built Twitter on top of the API, creating a total open system, allowing for good ideas to come from anywhere. So instead of building the platform first – Twitter – they took the exact opposite approach, and let the liquid network build Twitter.
Apps for America, started by President Obama, is also a liquid network. Obama started the program to allow for citizen developers to bring their best ideas to government. Obama had the foresight to think of the government as an open platform instead of a centralized bureaucracy, and thought that by opening up government to citizens and activists and entrepeneurs, that all would prosper from the ideas and applications that are put forth.
The JOBS Act, signed into law by President Obama in April 2012, was a bill featuring a number of provisions to support startups. One of the most notable provisions of the bill was the legalization of equity-based crowdfunding, removing in effect the barriers to entry for seed-stage investing. This has allowed for crowdfunding to take on an entire new dimension.
And speaking of crowdfunding, this is something that is truly revolutionizing society, and it again is based on an open approach. Crowdfunding allows for people to fund projects more readily and easily. With websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub, GoFundMe, Razoo and others, people are able to get the money for projects and get them off the ground.
Before the JOBS act and the provision for crowdfunding, raising money on crowdfunding sites usually garnered a few hundred to a few thousand. Since then, funds raised have been amped up, and there are projects that have raised a million dollars or more. The record stands at $10 million for the Pebble Smart Watch.
Just think, if you have a project that you think is worth getting off the ground, no longer do you have to entice banks or other funding entities. Now you can put it on one of the crowdfunding sites and see if you can raise what you want.
Furthermore, the convergence of liquid networks and crowdfunding has found its apex in the maker movement, which has been called the new industrial revolution. The maker movement is the convergence of open-source electronics, crowdfunding and desktop digital manufacturing as a force which has the potential to reimagine our economy and world, because of its intersection of liquid networks and crowdfunding – all predicated on open systems and an open future.
And so, when you add it all up, you can say that the future looks bright, promising and hopeful, as long as it is open. And it will stay open, because the tide is moving in that direction, and it is a force that can’t be held back.