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The Track Record for Open Consulting

Open Consulting took precedence from three successful models:

The Kettl Commission: In April of 2000, the Governor of Wisconsin commissioned Don Kettl to lead what he called a “mini-constitutional convention” to restructure state government. The 100-page document (plus appendices), released in 2001, was built from a massive dialogue between Wisconsin officials and citizens. Professor Kettl attributes much of his success to his online forum, and is now a strong personal supporter of Open Consulting (as evidenced by his endorsement on the site).

The Open Source Movement: The open source movement has an even longer history of successfully developing complex and valuable deliverables in an online forum. These deliverables include software, hardware designs, documents, indexes and music. Open source software is recognized as a permanent player in the software industry. It receives billions of dollars of investment from such companies as Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard/Compaq, Intel, Nokia, Ericsson, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Toshiba, IBM, and Sun Microsystems. Some of these companies have made the open source model central to their corporate strategy. Open access journals are likewise expected to play a permanent role in the publishing industry. Millions of dollars have been invested in both them and in OpenCourseWare. The search engine market is also now dominated by open source—Google, the market leader, gets its directory services from the Open Directory Project.

Perhaps the open source success story most similar to Open Consulting is Harvard’s OpenLaw project, in which web-surfers contribute to the development of legal documents (e.g. arguments, pleadings and briefs) through brainstorms, comments on drafts and suggestions for references. This has been extremely successful with cases that have broad impact and do not benefit from secrecy, such as those argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Analogous projects in Open Consulting would include the development of reports for high profile public officials, reports for non-profits, reports that consolidate disorganized public knowledge, and reports that can be generalized by professional consultants to many clients.

OhMyNews: OhMyNews is an Internet news service started in South Korea in 2000, in which regular citizens act as reporters. They now have over 10,000 contributors plus 45 full-time staff, their annual revenues are about $1.7 million and costs are slightly less. Submissions are collected four times a day and checked for accuracy before being posted. OhMyNews was credited as responsable for the election of President Roh Moo Hyun, proof that online communities can have great impact on their leadership.

All site content is presented without warranty, and is available for distribution free of charge, as described by the Open Publication License v1.0 or later. Submission of content to this site implies agreement with the terms and conditions of this license. All copyrights are retained by their respective owners.


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