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Open Innovation: What Companies Can Learn from Open Source Communities

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I’d like to explain what we learned building an open source project, strengths and drawbacks. Why this is an example of how successful product development is done and what it means for a company working out in the open.
Ready-to-use, concrete advice on what works and what doesn’t.

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Open Innovation: What Companies Can Learn from Open Source Communities

  1. 1. Talk Title Here
 Author Name, Company Open Innovation: what companies can learn from Open Source communities
 Alessio Fattorini, Nethesis - NethServer
  2. 2. @ale_fattorini
  3. 3. OPEN INNOVATION ALESSIO FATTORINI ▸ Work at Nethesis (Italy) ▸ Community Evangelist / Leader / Junkie ▸ Build Welcoming Communities ▸ Connect People and work with Open Source ▸ Prosecco Evangelist
  4. 4. #neth17 NETHESIS 2003
  5. 5. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES SYSTEM INTEGRATORS ▸ Clear business model ▸ We added value ▸ Gave back to the upstream projects ▸ Times were different then
  6. 6. 2010
  7. 7. OPEN INNOVATION OUR OWN OPEN SOURCE PROJECT ▸ Espresso and pastry ▸ From scratch ▸ On top of CentOS ▸ Assuming that we had: experience, know-how, workforce
  8. 8. WE FELT SO BRAVE
  9. 9. WE FELT SO BRAVE AND FOOL
  10. 10. OPEN INNOVATION MAKING SYSADMIN’S LIFE EASIER ▸ Free to Download ▸ Openly developed ▸ Community-driven
  11. 11. WHY A COMMUNITY?
  12. 12. OPEN INNOVATION DEVELOPING IT BY OURSELVES ▸ We would have been more effective ▸ Faster decision process ▸ Like any other company ▸ But deeply into the Open Source culture
  13. 13. TO GO FAST, GO ALONE. TO GO FAR, GO TOGETHER. African Proverb OPEN INNOVATION
  14. 14. OPEN INNOVATION HOW CAN WE BUILD A COMMUNITY? ▸ Never built one ▸ Good at code not with people ▸ We were a company
  15. 15. HOW TO BUILD A GOOD RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE COMPANY AND THE COMMUNITY ITSELF?
  16. 16. GOLDEN RULE OF COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT
  17. 17. THERE IS NO GOLDEN RULE
  18. 18. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES WE LEARNED MANY THINGS ALONG THE WAY ▸ Sharing with you what we have found ▸ Be useful ▸ Avoid you some mistakes and failures
  19. 19. YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THE OPEN SOURCE RULES IF YOU WANNA PLAY THE OPEN SOURCE GAME
  20. 20. START TO WORK OUT IN THE OPEN CONVERT IN AN OPEN COMPANY
  21. 21. GIVE TAKE
  22. 22. GIVE
  23. 23. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES COMPANY HAS TO GIVE FIRST ▸ Build trust ▸ Code is not enough ▸ You have to invest in people
  24. 24. PEOPLE OVER THE CODE PUT PEOPLE FIRST
  25. 25. OPEN INNOVATION NOT AN EFFICIENT SHORT-TERM STRATEGY ▸ Even if you get some quick returns ▸ Long journey and it takes time ▸ Can take months/years ▸ It pays off
  26. 26. OPEN INNOVATION IT’S NOT A MARKETING CHANNEL ▸ Entire different animal ▸ No direct sales ▸ Company -> Audience ▸ Member <-> Member
  27. 27. BETWEEN THE COMMUNITY / COMPANY CLARIFY THE RELATIONSHIP
  28. 28. OPEN INNOVATION BETWEEN THE COMMUNITY / COMPANY ▸ Why the org has decided to build a community? ▸ What it hopes to gain? ▸ What community will gain? ▸ Understand community needs ▸ No spaces for grey areas
  29. 29. OPEN INNOVATION NETHESIS AND NETHSERVER COMMUNITY ▸ Community effort founded/ supported by Nethesis ▸ Nethesis business model ▸ Revenue used to fund the development, sites, community ▸ Same target: making NethServer better and successful
  30. 30. BECAUSE THE COMPANY WORKS OUT IN THE OPEN AND AS PART OF THE COMMUNITY
  31. 31. EVERYBODY WINS
  32. 32. @ale_fattorini RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COMMUNITY COMMUNITY MANAGERS AREN’T SOLELY
  33. 33. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES HIRE A COMMUNITY MANAGER ▸ In charge of good communication between those entities ▸ Essential in the early stages ▸ Voice of the company/community ▸ Have to participate at a level that can appear disloyal
  34. 34. IN YOUR COMMUNITY? HOW TO SPEND YOUR TIME
  35. 35. OPEN INNOVATION BE WELCOMING ▸ First experience is critical ▸ Feel acknowledged ▸ Know what to do first ▸ First post -> prompt response
  36. 36. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW FUN AND AMAZING YOUR PROJECT IS. IF PEOPLE DON’T FEEL SAFE THEY WONT’ CONTRIBUTE.
  37. 37. OPEN INNOVATION BE INCLUSIVE ▸ Create an environment where people feel safe ▸ Be humble - don’t patronize ▸ Create some rules and lead by example
  38. 38. @ale_fattorini
  39. 39. Thank you Toolset
  40. 40. OPEN INNOVATION LISTEN TO YOUR COMMUNITY ▸ You will tempted to steer the discussion too much ▸ Be open-minded and be ready to change your mind ▸ Be ready to discuss and ask people to do the same
  41. 41. WHEN WE’RE CLOSE TO IDEAS, WE HEAR CRITICISM. WHEN WE’RE OPEN TO CRITICISM WHAT WE GET IS ADVICE. Simon Sinek OPEN INNOVATION, WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES
  42. 42. OPEN INNOVATION BE OPEN AND TRANSPARENT ▸ Introducing open innovation is a huge cultural shift ▸ You will tempted to keep your discussions private. Tell your people to stop doing that. ▸ Contributors can’t actually understand what’s going on
  43. 43. OPEN INNOVATION TRY TO WORK OUT LOUD ▸ Share what are you working on ▸ Keep people updated on your last achievements ▸ Ask your member to do the same
  44. 44. IN THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS KEEP THE PEOPLE INVOLVED
  45. 45. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES CONCRETE WAY TO PRACTICE OPENESS ▸ Some common advice: bugs, features, roadmap completely public, pull request NOT ENOUGH ▸ A lot of development happens in code repositories and bug trackers. ▸ Not places where users hang out
  46. 46. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES NO SEPARATED PLACES ▸ Don’t underestimate what people can see in some discussions ▸ Give their feedback and say thank you to the devs ▸ If you separate you can’t have this kind of contribution
  47. 47. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES LEAD THE SUPPORT ‣ Take over the support requests ‣ Answering all the support questions it’s still not enough ‣ Can’t always be the only one who helps ‣ Train your community to answer instead
  48. 48. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES TRAIN YOUR COMMUNITY TO SUPPORT ‣ Call upon specific people to help other specific people ‣ Three outcomes: ‣ More inclined to participate ‣ Feel like experts ‣ Help newcomers, be thanked
  49. 49. TAKE
  50. 50. BUILDING AN OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF
  51. 51. THE BEST WAY TO HAVE A GOOD IDEA IS TO HAVE A LOT OF IDEAS INNOVATION
  52. 52. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES INNOVATION ▸ Having different points of view on your product is essential ▸ How many disrupting ideas can a company create? ▸ Ability to invite the entire world to continuously improve the product
  53. 53. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES COMMUNITY = IDEAS FACTORY ▸ Really leverage the power of the collective ▸ 90% of all community feedback is crap, this means 10% is gold! (J. Atwood)
  54. 54. REFINE THAT RAW MATERIALS INTRO PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENTS WISDOM WILL COME FROM YOUR CONTRIBUTORS
  55. 55. DEVELOPMENT THE IVORY TOWER
  56. 56. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES THE IVORY TOWER DEVELOPMENT ‣ It’s dangerous to create an environment where developers have no idea who the users are ‣ Developers assume everyone else is a developer ‣ A community brings developers back to the reality and helps to stay grounded.
  57. 57. OPEN INNOVATION FROM THE OUTSIDE ▸ Enable the product/company to look at itself from the outside ▸ Catch your strengths and weaknesses
  58. 58. NETHSERVER IS AN OPERATING SYSTEM FOR LINUX ENTHUSIASTS, DESIGNED FOR SMALL OFFICES AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE
  59. 59. NETHSERVER IS AN OPERATING SYSTEM FOR LINUX ENTHUSIASTS, DESIGNED FOR SMALL OFFICES AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE
  60. 60. NETHSERVER IS AN OPERATING SYSTEM FOR LINUX ENTHUSIASTS, DESIGNED FOR SMALL OFFICES AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE
  61. 61. OPEN INNOVATION ▸ Feedback OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY BENEFITS
  62. 62. OPEN INNOVATION ▸ Feedback ▸ Comparisons OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY BENEFITS
  63. 63. OPEN INNOVATION ▸ Feedback ▸ Comparisons ▸ Testing and bugs OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY BENEFITS
  64. 64. OPEN INNOVATION ▸ Feedback ▸ Comparisons ▸ Testing and bugs ▸ Content OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY BENEFITS
  65. 65. OPEN INNOVATION ▸ Feedback ▸ Comparisons ▸ Testing and bugs ▸ Content ▸ Support OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY BENEFITS
  66. 66. OPEN INNOVATION OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY BENEFITS ▸ Feedback ▸ Comparisons ▸ Testing and bugs ▸ Content ▸ Support ▸ Development
  67. 67. OPEN INNOVATION OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY BENEFITS ▸ Feedback ▸ Comparisons ▸ Testing and bugs ▸ Content ▸ Support ▸ Development ▸ Translations
  68. 68. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES ENABLE THE COMPANY TO GO GLOBAL ‣ We’re Italian: our wine and food ‣ Community gets the company ready to go global ‣ Forced us to study English ‣ Speak in public without being fooled by the audience ‣ First NethServer Conference
  69. 69. OPEN INNOVATION ▸ Holy grail of marketers: word of mouth marketing ▸ Tribal Marketing ▸ Message that go sideways from member to member ▸ Street team SPREAD THE WORD
  70. 70. LOYALTY IN COMMUNITY YOU’RE BUILDING CONNECTIONS WITH PEOPLE WHICH IS WAY MORE POWERFUL THAN FEATURES
  71. 71. IT’S MUCH MORE HARDER TO LEAVE A GROUP YOU’RE CONNECTED TO THAN FACELESS PRODUCT/COMPANY Evan Hamilton OPEN INNOVATION, WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES
  72. 72. TAKEAWAYS
  73. 73. DEFINITELY TAKES SOME TIME AND RESOURCES SUPPORTING YOUR MEMBERS AND LEADING THE DISCUSSIONS
  74. 74. WHEN THEY LOOK AT IT AS A TACTIC COMPANIES FAIL AT COMMUNITY
  75. 75. A CORE PART OF THE BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY INSTEAD OF MAKING IT
  76. 76. OPEN INNOVATION COMMUNITY IS NOT ▸ Marketing ▸ An efficient short-term strategy
  77. 77. WE COULD NEVER HAVE ACHIEVED THOSE RESULTS WITHOUT OUR COMMUNITY WE EXPERIENCE THAT EVERY SINGLE DAY
  78. 78. WHAT COMPANIES CAN LEARN FROM OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES IT CAN DO SO MUCH MORE ▸ Completely set your business apart from every company in the field ▸ Redefine markets ▸ Inspire milions of people ▸ Give them a sense of belonging ▸ Make them feel an incredible bond
  79. 79. WILL ALWAYS WIN COMMUNITY-DRIVEN COMPANIES
  80. 80. THANK YOU @ale_fattorini alessiofattorini nethserver.org nethesis.it

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