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Why "Open" is critical for now and the future

Open means inclusive, collaborative and connected in awareness and design. Today, a person can travel the length of the United States on rail without concern for track gauge. So long as the route is clear and the weather fine a locomotive can move unencumbered. But, in the early days of railroad development the width of the train tracks could vary from 7 feet to 5 feet. The tracks lacked uniform standards and the fog of competition made every train titan distant and suspicious. While the country was connected in name it really was through a patchwork of independent and differently designed tracks. Trains could only go so far and then passengers and cargo would have to be transferred – slowly and dangerously – to a new path to continue their journey. It wasn’t until much later into the development of the railroad network that leaders realized that they needed to agree upon a standard gauge. This of course led to loss and destruction for those tracks that didn’t meet the new standard.

What if those rail tycoons could have developed their independent networks but agreed early on the parameters of the system on which they were built to move? The Open Skills Network (OSN) invites all those who operate or desire to create within the skills ecosystem to work together in an open fashion to develop the language and tools to move our world collectively forward. Not towards the analogous homogeneity of todays standardized track gauge but instead towards inspired innovation and crowd sourced action build upon agreed tracks of movement. Open is the future.

OSN believes open is key to future coding, technology tools, and conversations. Under the banner of open, interested parties from developers, employers, educators, and policy makers can meet to innovate and improve each other’s proposed solutions and projects. The Open Skills Management Tool and Rich Skill Descriptors are perfect examples of ideas created into tools and continually improved by many hands.

Open allows for cost to be reduced and shouldered by the many who are interested in the outcome. It also makes room for greater creativity as the code or product becomes more responsive and flexible to the needs of the user market by updates and additions being teased out quicker by a vast audience of creators. This large network means that bugs or other issues are addressed quickly and in ways that help the largest share of users. Continued evolution also has the added advantage of increasing longevity.

When many people and voices are brought into the conversation it is inevitable that new aspects of a project or initiative are brought to light. This stands to only make the work deeper and the result more useful and inclusive. OSN strives to foster a free exchange of ideas and dialogue to help create an agreed upon foundation upon which we all flourish in the skills ecosystem taking shape today and tomorrow. Full speed ahead.

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