Speaking at a rally supporting the need for affordable housing in Vancouver on Saturday, Reverend Ric Matthews of United First Church elaborated on the theme of open-source collaboration without directly using that terminology.
He used the Redtents campaign as a model of citizen engagement going forward.
His message was that the campaign for affordable housing needs national presence along with local campaigners that both include and are accountable to grassroots organizations. He also points out that many of these grassroots organizations already have solutions and strategies in place. The value of a collaborative approach is that it provides the opportunity for various and disparate groups to pursue their strategies in search of a common objective.
Another of his comments reflect the need for integration and collaboration across disciplines. In the case of housing, this means bridging the traditionally independent government silos such as health, addictions, housing, finance and aboriginal affairs. This raises a very interesting question – would it be possible for an inter- or intra-governmental organization use these same open source collaboration principles? Could one envisage a real working coalition of municipal, provincial and federal organizations working on this issue?
Could the “open government” movement be an answer to this question? Most of what I have seen so far has focused on opening data to the public but opening models of communication and organization have the potential to literally revolutionize the relationship between citizens and governments.