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Interview with Chris Messina

Interview with Chris Messina

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Abschlussberichte > Abschlussbericht 6. Initiative > Interview with Chris Messina


Chris Messina is a San Francisco-based advocate of the open web, known for advancing such communities as Spread Firefox, BarCamp, coworking, and technology initiatives such as OpenID, OAuth, Activity Streams, hashtags, and microformats. He is on the board of the OpenID and Open Web Foundations and works for Google.

Das Interview wurde geführt von den Verfassern des Textes " Bridging the Gap".


Innovation im digitalen Ökosystem
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How can organisations open up and connect with other organisations to form a digital ecosystem, where they can exchange knowledge, learn and co-innovate with each other?

This is a very broad, weighty question. In some respects, it depends on domain knowledge, willingness to share and participate, relative entrenchment, and familiarity with ideas like open source, open standards, and open data. It's really about showing success where people have been willing to collaborate or drop their defenses, or to achieve heroic outcomes that couldn't have been achieved without embracing openness.


Which stakeholders (in the digital ecosystem) are not yet, but should in your opinion talk and find new ways to co-innovate the future of "issue xyz" with each other?

I kind of feel like the narrative around privacy and data access and control is pretty stuck in very old conceptions that are holding back a lot of potential opportunities for innovation. I mean, I can respect people’s rights to and expectation of privacy, but if you go deeper than that, and are willing to investigate what's possible when you "let the data flow" (even if it remains completely under your control), there are whole new classes of applications that become possible. The example that was given earlier today was GPS and weather data from the US government. We had already paid for it (we being US taxpayers); it just took some gumption to set the data loose for entrepreneurs to build businesses off of. According to today's roundtable (editor’s note: White House Innovation Roundtable sponsored by Code for America), something like $1B worth of value is created every year because of the availability of this data. Now consider what reality would be like if everyone had a complete copy of their digital profile — from the moment they were born to the present. You can imagine the efficiencies and levels of personalization that would be able to be achieved across the board, presuming there were open standards in place to express all of this information.


What do you think are some of the greatest barriers that stop them from talking/collaborating with each other?

In pockets, the kind of data liberty I'm thinking about is happening — apparently in the Department of Veterans Affairs, for one. But we need to bring these advances to the consumer marketplace, and that requires a new narrative for how individuals think about, value, and make available their personal data. In other words — we need a narrative where people feel confident about amassing and storing data about themselves, and then need to connect that with businesses and entrepreneurs that are ready to provide services in exchange for temporal access to that data. It's because people aren't able to picture the value of their data, and it's hard to capture data about their behavior, that we're missing a huge engine for value creation. So it's not just about putting people in touch and having them collaborate; it's really about changing an entire mindset about what's possible and should be taking place that frankly isn't because the alternative telling of this story hasn't been told yet.


What could be done to facilitate their collaboration? Can you think of / imagine any suitable interfaces (e.g. events, spaces, platforms, tools, roles) or combination of interfaces that could be used to fix this?

I was impressed by what's going on with Code for America and the Digital Government strategy. Part of their success comes from embracing open source, open standards, and other "free" technological innovations that allow others to come along and impact their work. Fundamentally, it's about embracing latent interoperability and transparency. These elements are hugely important to ad-hoc collaboration, and availing oneself of the kind of opportunities that the internet affords — presuming people can find out about this stuff. To that point, having spaces and physical environments set up that facilitate this kind of discovery and interaction between like-minded people greatly "accelerates serendipity", and creates the right preconditions for useful collaboration to occur. Co-working is one means to this end; other kinds of open hackathons or BarCamps are yet others.

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