Jack Mason, IBM Strategic Communications, HealthNex Producer
The need for "openness" in healthcare transformation is readily apparent. We need the kinds of open technology standards that will make electronic records, applications and other elements of an ehealth infrastructure plug together.
Indeed, the nature of high-level societal innovation is more "open" than ever before, depending upon alliances, cooperation, integration and the like.
Of course, academic science has been a sort of open-source knowledge system for centuries. Discoveries, theories and new ideas were widely shared, debated and otherwise distributed and process by a social network.
One thread of development that I find interesting is where open models, like the open source one that has spawned so many software innovations, is intersecting with the traditional open culture of science.
My thinking got kicked off by coming across some blog link--sorry I can't retrace how I stumbled on it--on a cover story in Genomics and Proteomics magazine on Open Source Bioinformatics.
That in turn reminded me of a group I had come across last year called BiOS - Biological Innovation for Open Society. This group is "adapting licensing and
collaboration aspects of the open source movement to enhance
transparency, accessibility and capability to
use patented technology,
public domain science, life sciences know-how and materials."
Further surfing lead me to an April article in Red Herring on Open Source Biotech.
And that in turn, by some roundabout searching, brought me to a ongish essay called Open the Future by Jamie Cascio on the broader nature and implications of openness.
All of these mentions are really just prelude to a question: openness seems like an almost inevitable evolution of human intelligence. But as natural (and desirable) as it seems, there seems to be a strain in human nature that also resists or distrusts this paradigm shift. Some people seem to think this massive trend is somehow in opposition to commerce or wealth creation, that there has to be some cost or lost value associated with open technology, innovation systems, etc.
Why is that? What are the downsides, if any, to the open model in areas such as healthcare, biotech or other frontiers of global urgency? What are the limitations to extending the open source model to other sectors of society?
Our comment lines are now ... open ; )