1. Introduction and outline

Open innovation learning is a set of emerging theories based on cases and contexts of open sourcing while private sourcing, from 2001 to 2011.

What is the nature of learning and progressing open innovation over time, for an organization and its members? Open innovation goes beyond just the declaration of an organizational intent. This research work defines the behaviour of open sourcing while private sourcing (OSwPS) as new to technologies businesses in 2001, and widespread amongst a wide variety of organizations by 2011. Open sourcing is an open innovation behaviour related to, but distinct from, open source as licensing. Further, open sourcing does not preclude private sourcing.

The research path from data through inductive theory-building and multiparadigm research is drawn in Figure 1.1.

Data, paradigms and theories (descriptive, normative)

Figure 1.1 Data, paradigms and theories (descriptive, normative)

The phenomenon of OSwPS can be observed in seven cases involving IBM. These cases occurred in a background macro context of the information technology sector between 2001-2011, in parallel with organizations engaging in conventional Private Sourcing only (PSo) businesses, and not-for-profit communities participating in Open Sourcing Only (OSo) development. The cases and macro context provided an inductive foundation of theory-building alongside multiparadigm interplay.

Three descriptive theories of OSwPS emerged alongside three emerging paradigms: (i) a theory of quality-generating sequencing is proposed within the paradigm of architectural problem-solving; (ii) a theory of affordances wayfaring is proposed within the paradigm of inhabiting disclosive spaces; and (iii) a theory of anticipatory appreciating is proposed within a paradigm of governing subworlds. These three descriptive theories are further extended into multiparadigm research, with concurrent paradigm formation and normative theory building.

The resulting paradigm centers on co-responsive movement along lines of becoming, as a derivative of ecological anthropology and material culture studies. The building of three normative theories, associated with three philosophical foundations, is proposed: (i) innovation learning-for, towards the intellectual pursuit of episteme; (ii) innovation learning-by, towards techne; and (iii) innovation learning-alongside, towards phronesis. These three normative theories are the basis of Open Innovation Learning (OIL).

1.1 Research contributions towards theory and practice

OIL can be parsed as (open innovation + learning), or as (open + innovation) learning. The former parsing is most compatible with the contemporary research literature.

Open innovation has evolved to become "the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation and expand the markets for its external use".1

Learning is a longitudinal educating of corresponding, through (i) experiencing (attaining like-mindedness in carrying on together), (ii) agencing (acting and undergoing a change in quality of habit) and (iii) tuning attention (i.e. responding to the terrain as it unfolds).2

The research contributions towards theory and practice are shown in Figure 1.2.

Context + cases, emerging theory and emerging methods

Figure 1.2 Context + cases, emerging theory and emerging methods

The theoretical contribution of OIL is on emerging theories related to two existing research streams, on (a) distributed innovation, and (b) meta-organizational learning.

Distributed innovation3 includes (i) open innovation (where firms extend from internal creation and commercialization to external sources); (ii) user innovation (where users are active participants in creating innovations); and (iii) cumulative innovation (where rival firms build upon each other’s work).

Meta-organizational learning is proposed as a new label combining aspects of (i) meta-organization design (linking networks of firms or individuals not bound by authority based on employment relations, but characterized by system level goals);4 (ii) practices + social learning (where practice is an improvisational logic that reflects engagement and sense-making in action, and learning is located in the relationship between a human being in a social world);5 and (iii) co-responding lifelines (with constituents in entangled lines of life, growth and movement, as members carry on alongside one another with counterpoint).6

The practical contribution of OIL has concurrently emerged as methods packaged separately as Service Systems Thinking (S2T). S2T combines aspects of (i) service science, (ii) systems thinking, and (iii) generative pattern language.7

1.2 Open sourcing while private sourcing emerged after 2001

Starting from the data, the behaviour of interest is specifically OSwPS, which is appreciated in the context of PSo and OSo. Private sourcing is common amongst commercial businesses. Open sourcing is common amongst not-for-profit organizations and many governments. Contemporaneously conducting open sourcing while private sourcing is a way that many years to establish as natural.

The label of open sourcing frames ongoing ways that organizations and individuals conduct themselves with others through continually sharing artifacts and practices of mutual benefit. The label of private sourcing frames the contrasting and more traditional ways that business organizations and allied partners develop and keep artifacts and practices to themselves. Many customers external to a private sourcing organization are uninterested in internal details about the whys and wherefores about how an offering comes about. Some constituents external to an organization prefer the transparency in open sourcing, both in self interests and mutual interests.

The terms open sourcing and private sourcing, in this research work, present an opposition that is related to, but independent from, parallel studies in the 2006-2009 period that have subsequently been overlooked. The label opensourcing (as a single word) is positioned as an alternative even cheaper than offshore sourcing, reorienting outsourcing research that tends to focus on the customer perspective with supplier’s side on development process and projects.8 The label open-sourcing (with a hyphen) has been contrasted with "proprietary source" and "outsourcing", emphasizing business models with a focus on: (i) product (with a mechanism of open licenses; and a company motivation to lead with innovative ideas and value-producing innovations); (ii) community (with the mechanism of release requirements prioritization with voluntary contributions; and company motivation for resource capture from a larger global resource; and (iii) process (with mechanism of managing online-based communication, distributed control and a democratic governance structure; and a company motivation of steering the environment).9 This distinctive focus of this research work centers an organization and its member individuals (i.e. IBM and IBMers) learning the behaviours of open sourcing, coming from a commercial context where the behaviours of private sourcing have traditionally been dominant.

Open sourcing while private sourcing is an uncommon way of operating. Sequential modes of (i) OSo, or (ii) PSo, are more common. Simultaneously maintaining credible parallel (i) open sourcing with an active community, while (ii) satisfying customers through private sourcing is complicated. These distinctions are illustrated in the pattern of Table 1.1.

Table 1.1. Behaviours examined
Private Sourcing only (PSo) Open Sourcing only (OSo)
Open Sourcing while Private Sourcing (OSwPS)

Research based on seven case studies aims to develop an appreciation for this uncommon way of doing business. The cases are drawn from the IBM's engagement in the information technology sector, although the findings are seen as applicable across other industries and segments.

1.3 Open sourcing raises private sourcing as an opposite

The label of open source is most readily recognized from software development. An open source license allows free use, modification and sharing. Open sourcing is a norm where the resources of system internals, e.g. artifacts and practices, are shared in a community beyond the originators.

Private sourcing is coined as a norm where the resources of system internals are reserved within a privileged group. That reservation typically comes with an expectation of responsibility and authority where an orchestrating organization and its network of aligned partners serves a fee-paying customer base. Continuing revenue streams associated resulting from private sourcing enable ongoing maintenance and enhancements of core offerings for customers.

Typically, an organization choose either (i) OSo, or (ii) PSo. A business enterprise can, however, simultaneously operate with OSwPS. Seven case histories from IBM in the period 2001-2011 reveal: (i) activities originally private sourcing becoming disclosed to open sourcing; (ii) activities originally open sourcing becoming enclosed to private sourcing; and (iii) open sourcing and private sourcing conducted contemporaneously and in parallel. The seven cases examined are non-exhaustive, both in the context of this company and the information technology sector. Other examples could additionally be found.

1.3.1 The behaviours coincide with the rising open source movement

A large body of research has already been produced on open source – both in open source licensing, and the operation of open source communities. The participation of for-profit enterprises in open sourcing has been acknowledged, but simultaneous private sourcing has not been examined.

In the decade after 2000, IBM was generally regarded as a successful company. At 2009, it declared “Since the dot-com crash of 2002, we have added $12 billion to IBM's pre-tax profit base, increased our pre-tax margin 2.5 times, quadrupled our earnings per share and more than doubled our free cash flow” (IBM, 2009a, p. 3). In reflecting on the horizon required for the new directions to bear fruit, the company has stated that “A decade ago, we saw change coming. [....] A new computing architecture was taking shape. It was build on pervasive instrumentation and interconnectivity, open standards, unprecedented computing power and advanced analytics” (IBM, 2009a, p. 10). Open standards are part of open sourcing. Most of the profitability and positive cash flow can be attributed to private sourcing of resources in competition with other companies.

Chapter 2 clarifies the behaviours of open sourcing and private sourcing, in the context of the history of the open source movement.

A key question of interest to some parties, “how do I make money by open sourcing?”, is not a focus in this research study10. Entrepreneurs have and will find ways to develop customers and revenue streams to enable viable and profitable businesses. Additionally, the question of “how does private sourcing compete with open sourcing” is largely excluded.

1.3.2 The behaviours have analogies in other domains

Open sourcing and private sourcing are evident in other worlds. There are analogies in the ways that salmon are sourced to consumers. Many diners don't care whether they're eating farmed salmon or wild salmon. Some do. Farmed salmon and wild salmon can be distributed side-by-side in a supermarket. For producers, though, the system for aquafarming is distinct from the system for capturing wild salmon. While there are nothing to preclude a single company from producing both farmed salmon and wild salmon, successes in each business come from different behaviours. These are outlined in Table 1.2.

Table 1.2 Analogies of private sourcing and open sourcing with salmon
as Private Sourcing
[cultivating species in pens]
Capturing Wild Fish
as Open Sourcing
[sharing naturally wild fish harvests]
Ocean Ranching
as Open Sourcing while Private Sourcing
[conforming with aquaculture regulations, and
the law of the sea (200 mile exclusive economic zones, and high seas)]

Aquafarming is analogous to private sourcing. The salmon provider typically operates a freshwater hatchery in which eggs are fertilized and incubated. For the first year, the fry (baby) and parr (juvenile) salmon require diets high in protein and lipids, so the aquafarmer feeds them fishmeal and fish oil. Next, smolts (young salmon) are moved for cultivation into ocean net pens, sea cages, or (less frequently) inland tanks. For about 18 to 24 months, the salmon are fed to a maturity of about 10 pounds. At that size, the aquafarmer seines and harvests the fish.11 This life cycle is shown in Table 1.3.

Table 1.3 Life cycle for salmon in aquafarming (analogous to private sourcing)
Reproduction Fry to Parr Smolts to Maturity Harvesting
Eggs and milt mixed by aquafarmer, incubated to hatching In fresh water, fry (babies) are fed by aquafarmer, becoming parr (juveniles) Smolts are moved to salt water net pens, sea cages or inland tanks are fed to maturity Mature salmon are captured in seine nets and transferred to processing plants

Aquafarmers prefer to breed Atlantic salmon over Pacific salmon. Atlantic salmon are less aggressive, grows faster, and has proven to be less prone to disease. The private sourcing frame applied to aquafarming recognizes each commercial business orchestrating the resources and supplies for the production of seafood.

Capturing wild fish is analogous to open sourcing. Salmon are naturally anadromous: they are born in fresh water, roam freely for most of their lives oceans, and return to their fresh water origins to spawn. At small scales on the Pacific coast of Canada and the United States, aboriginal cultures have strong traditions tied with salmon runs. Recreational angling is also an popular seasonal activity today.

Commercial salmon harvesting is regulated by governments (e.g. Alaska, British Columbia, Washington State). Within inshore limits (e.g. 200-mile exclusive economic zones), trolling with small vessels with lines and hooks is permitted. Trolling captures smaller salmon in full vigour, individually handled to command a premium price. On the high seas, purse seining with larger ships are permitted. Nets are set in a circle and drawn closed at the bottom, wrapping hundreds to thousands of fish at a time. On the high seas in international waters, coordination through the United Nations to preclude depletion of the shared resource has been long in coming.12 This life cycle is shown in Table 1.4.

Table 1.4 Life cycle for salmon in the wild (analogous to open sourcing)
Reproduction Fry to Parr Smolts to Maturity Harvesting
In stream, male salmon stake out gravel bed, female dig a redd, both release gametes, alevin hatch in 3 to 4 months Fry eat zooplankton in stream, parr eat insects, worms, fish eggs, etc., and then migrate downstream Smolts adapt gills and kidneys to salt water, and roam in the ocean for 1 to 8 years feeding on small fish, shrimp and squid Inshore marine trollers capture individuals with lines and hooks; high seas seiners watch for salmon jumping, and capture schools

The open sourcing frame applied to commercial marine fisheries recognizes a variety of parties (including the fish) operating independently and naturally. Nature provides most the resources that enables the fish to breed and live. The human species benefits in harvesting, and should exercise self-control to preclude depleting the fish to extinction.

Ocean ranching is analogous to open sourcing while private sourcing. Like aquafarming, eggs and milt are stripped from from mature salmon, and cultured. Ocean ranchers would release into rivers the fry, and then learned that waiting until the salmon grow to near-smolt size improves their abilities to compete for food. As with wild salmon, the smolts swim downstream, to feed and grow naturally in the ocean. Since salmon ranchers can anticipate the migration patterns of mature salmon, gill netting is a practical way to capture the fish when they return. This life cycle is shown in Table 1.5.

Table 1.5 Cycle for ranched salmon (like open sourcing while private sourcing)
Reproduction Fry to Parr Smolts to Maturity Harvesting
Indigenous salmon are caught and stripped of eggs + milt, that are cultured Fry could be released in rivers, but are usually kept to larger size that competes for food Smolts swim downstream to ocean, remaining for 2 to 5 years, depending on species Small boats place gill net walls in water, entangling mature fish returning to original rivers

Salmon originating from the hatchery and salmon born in the wild return to the same stream. Estimates that over 90% of returning salmon are now hatchery-born confound statistics on the recovery or decline of wild fish stocks.13 The frame of open sourcing while private sourcing to ocean ranching recognizes both the private intervention by human beings in the reproduction and early stages of a ranched salmon's life, with the open natural growth in the wilds of the ocean.

Amongst scientists, there has been criticism that fisheries enhancements (which would include salmon ranching) have received only limited research interest. Fisheries science has split into “separate disciplines with divergent concerns and frames of enquiry” including (i) fisheries ecology, focused principally on protecting natural fish populations and communities – analogous to open sourcing; and (ii) aquaculture science, increasing levels of control over the production cycle, and separation from natural systems – analogous to private sourcing. “These paradigms are not only different but they are also diametrically opposed and defined, in part, by rejection of the other” (Lorenzen, 2014, p. 1808). Fisheries scientists have recently been exhorted to follow the lead of practitioners who have driven enhancements through unique opportunities for learning on pragmatic grounds. This is equivalent to the recognition of open sourcing while private sourcing with salmon.

Let's return from this digression to the core domain of interest: business organizations in the information technology sector.

1.4 The method is inductive from case studies into pluralistic paradigm interplay

The data underlying this study is primarily archival, supplemented by interviews and private communications. The open source world benefits from much of the data about IBM being readily available on the Internet not only in IBM press releases, but also in extensive journalistic reporting of interviews with named company sources. The IBM-internal records sourced for this research were available to every IBM employee in the corporation, as shared openly on the intranet between 2001 and 2011. Interpreting the data has been facilitated by the researcher having a career with IBM from 1985 to 2012. The process orientation of the data is apparent in the observation of events, activities and choices ordered over time.

Processual analysis reveals periods of OSo, PSo, and OSwPS. These play into an inductive appreciation, leading to theory-building. The theories are developed from multiple perspectives, preserved in their pluralistic contexts in a multiparadigm inquiry. The scope of this research has not unified these perspectives, in favour of a paradigm interplay leaving synthesis for subsequent researchers.

Methodological references and reasoning in the study approach are described in Chapter 3.

1.5 Seven case studies over 10 years found micro-level analysis

Case studies are traced in seven contexts, over the period 2001 to 2011. Artifacts and practices are reviewed for:

  1. integrating-development;
  2. microblogging;
  3. blogging;
  4. wikiing;
  5. podcasting;
  6. mashing-up; and
  7. coauthoring.

Some of these initiatives were born and developed internally, and never released externally, while others have been developed into offerings. While many researchers tend to limit their focus on the most tangible aspects of the initiatives (e.g. the software code assets produced), this scope of this research study extends to products, services, infrastructure and interpersonal relationships surrounding open source with private source.

The case studies are outlined in Chapter 4, with more extensive histories in Appendix A.

1.6 The cases are placed in background contexts

The cases of open sourcing while private sourcing are micro phenomena situated in broader background contexts of business and technology change. The time period between 2001 to 2011 started in turbulence with the dot-com bubble, with IBM maintaining steady growth in revenue and profits over the decade. The e-Business revolution initiating commercial use of the Internet in 1997 coincided with the trend towards globalization of markets and economies. The background contexts included:

  1. IBM's senior managers, from 2001, advancing strategic bets on future drivers of industry, business, computing and marketplace;
  2. IBM employees, since 1996, engaging online with w3 intranet platforms for global knowledge exchanges and social sharing;
  3. IBM consultants, from 2004, probing to confirm business priorities through industry-based executive studies; and
  4. IBM researchers, from 2004, exploring social changes influencing new organizational and technological opportunities on longer horizon.
  5. A world reorienting, from 2001, from regional institutions to open and global network.

The background context fills in some of the activities concurrent with the seven cases studied. The case-by-case behaviours of open sourcing while private sourcing are neither necessary nor sufficient to explain the company's success.

These background contexts are outlined in Chapter 5, with more extensive histories in Appendix B.

1.7 Descriptive theory-building alongside three paradigms

The combination of seven case studies and five background contexts provide the foundation for inquiry towards building three theories that emerged inductively: (i) quality-generating sequencing; (ii) affordances wayfaring and (iii) anticipatory appreciating. These three theories have been developed alongside three paradigms that also emerged inductively: (i) architectural problem-seeking; (ii) inhabiting disclosive spaces; and (iii) governing subworlds. The methodological relationship between multiple theories and multiple paradigms is described more fully in section 3.4.

1.7.1 Architectural problem seeking ↔ quality-generating sequencing

The first of three paradigms is based on architectural problem-seeking, shaping the structure of the environment and articulating the relations between parts and wholes. Architectural programming, from 1969, has been seen as a problem-seeking inquiry, distinct from design as a problem-solving synthesis of facts. The paradigm, emerging theory and entailments are depicted in Table 1.6.

Table 1.6 Architectural problem-seeking → quality-generating sequencing
Paradigm Emerging
descriptive theory
  • Program envisioning
  • Program realizing
  • Program elaborating

In this paradigm, quality is seen an objective property in both artefactual and natural things. A program can be ordered so that generating positive elaborations unfolds over time (or, alternatively, degenerating negative elaborations result). With structure seen as an arrangement in space, and process seen as an arrangement in time, sequencing matters, placing all of the parts in a way that wholeness unfolds.

Program envisioning entails (i.e. could lead to) quality-generating sequencing. Elevating common standards is a generative pattern significant for OSwPS. Industry leading organizations can work together towards open specifications that may satisfied by a variety of private sourcing implementation.

Program realizing entails quality-generating sequencing. Doing well by doing good is a generative pattern significant for OSwPS. Outcomes of social acceptance and/or financial success can come from establishing independent foundations that serve commercial and non-commercial interests in a benevolent manner.

Program elaborating entails quality-generating sequencing. Cultivating perennial platforms is a generative pattern significant for OSwPS. Desirable quality improvements can be generated in a program through internal properties (as autopoiesis) or through external influences (as allopoiesis).

These lead to a hypothesis towards descriptive theory: Open sourcing while private sourcing enables quality-generating sequencing through program envisioning, program realizing and program elaborating. This is possible in ways that that neither open sourcing only nor private source only allow.

The reasoning through paradigm, emerging theory and entailments is described in detail in Chapter 6.

1.7.2 Inhabiting disclosive spaces → affordances wayfaring

The second of three paradigms is based on inhabiting disclosive spaces, living in an environment where change is a constant, influenced by external forces and by human beings. Inhabiting a world involves dwelling both in space (e.g. a building) and in time (e.g. a taskscape). A disclosive space is an organized set of practices for dealing with oneself, other people, and things that produce a web of meanings. The paradigm, emerging theory and entailments are depicted in Table 1.7.

Table 1.7 Inhabiting disclosive spaces → Affordances wayfaring
Paradigm Emerging descriptive theory


disclosive spaces
Affordances wayfaring
  • Enskilling
  • Equipping
  • Legitimating

In this paradigm, affordances are a complementarity of an animal and its environment, in which the environment offers, provides or furnishes an invariant meaning or value to the animal. Wayfinding is an embodied experience of living not inside places, but through, around, to and from them, from and to places elsewhere.

Enskilling entails affordances wayfaring. Accessing the smartest people elsewhere is a generative pattern significant for OSwPS. When pioneers explore practices and technologies that are new-to-the-world, establishing features that later are recognized as common sense can come from engaging beyond organizational boundaries.

Equipping entails affordances wayfaring. Practicising until they can’t get it wrong is a generative pattern significant for OSwPS. Bringing commercial resources and formal plans can professionalize a project through would otherwise evolve casually without deadlines or clear purpose.

Legitimating entails affordances wayfaring. Being on the right side of history is a generative pattern significant for OSwPS. After an episode where a variety of innovators compete and one party emerges with a dominant standard, history gets rewritten by the eventual winner.

These lead to a hypothesis towards descriptive theory: Open sourcing while private sourcing enables affordances wayfaring through enskilling, equipping and legitimating. This is possible in ways that that neither open sourcing only nor private source only allows.

Further reasoning through paradigm, emerging theory and entailments is described in detail in Chapter 7.

1.7.3 Governing subworlds → anticipatory appreciating

The third of three paradigms is based on governing subworlds, establishing order amongst organizations and individuals, both through rules of law and expected norms of behaviour in everyday social practices. Governing is an activity where the general manner or specific action through which a social body is guided, steered or regulated. Subworlds are local elaborations of a commonsense world that we share, parts of organized bodies of objects, purposed, skills and practices on the basis of which human activities have meaning or make sense. The paradigm, emerging theory and entailments are depicted in Table 1.8.

Table 1.8 Governing subworlds ↔ Anticipatory appreciating
Paradigm Emerging descriptive theory Entailments

Governing subworlds

Anticipatory appreciating

  • Judging material reality
  • Judging formal value
  • Judging efficient instrumentality

In this paradigm, anticipatory behaviour in living organisms is exhibited as changes undergoing in the system in the present, caused by events that have not yet happened, but are entailed to happen in the future. Appreciating behaviours in human systems follow a regulative model of norm-seeking, in contrast to a rational model of goal-seeking.

Judging material reality entails anticipatory appreciating. Finding room for the commercial beyond non-profit institutions is a generative pattern significant for OSwPS. An independent foundation initially backed by a commercial organization becomes becomes relevant beyond academic and voluntary communities only when other industry players take active roles and contribute.

Judging formal value entails anticipatory appreciating. Growing a bigger pie as better than slicing a smaller pie is a significant generative pattern for OSwPS. Investing to grow a market or establishing a common standard has the promise that society at large can benefit, while the value captured by the driving sponsors is better than taking a reductive position.

Judging efficient instrumentality entails anticipatory appreciating. Stratifying concierge levels above mainstream excellence is a generative pattern significant for OSwPS. The quality of open sourcing works can be high when "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow", so an offering owner of a commercial variant has to provide features that attract paying customers, who would otherwise choose the non-chargeable alternative.

These lead to a hypothesis towards descriptive theory: Open sourcing while private sourcing enables anticipatory appreciating through judging material reality, judging formal value, and judging efficient instrumentality. This is possible in ways that neither open sourcing only and private sourcing only allows.

Additional reasoning through paradigm, emerging theory and entailments is described in detail in Chapter 8.

1.8 Normative theory building with co-responsive movement

The three paradigms underlying descriptive theory building associated with OSwPS are not necessarily exhaustive. With multiparadigm interplay, however, compatibility and conflicts in understanding OIL have led to proposing a paradigm of co-responsive movement. With OSwPS, PSo and OSo all concurrently at play, the premise of a relatively static field doesn’t reflect reality. Further, normative interests in innovation and learning should be placed in the current day (of 2017), rather than the historical period of 2001-2011.

For a horizon of 2017-2020, normative theory-building on OIL may be appreciated in (at least) three newly rising situations: (i) polycentric governance, (ii) the Internet of Things, and (iii) cognitive computing. The validity of the theories is likely to be evaluated at a later date on pragmatic grounds, rather than theoretical grounds.

A paradigm of co-responsive movement along lines of becoming is proposed, derived from contemporary turns in philosophy associated with (i) ecological anthropology, (concurrent with sociology and psychology); and (ii) material culture studies. Normative theories are then proposed for (i) open innovation learning-for; (ii) open innovation learning-by; and (iii) open innovation learning-alongside.

1.8.1 Open innovation learning-for categorizes enskilling attentionality

Open innovation learning-for comes in three categories for enskilling attentionality: (i) proto-learning, for selecting an alternative in context; (ii) deutero-learning, for changing the set or sequence of alternatives in contextual change; and (iii) trito-learning, for changing systems of alternatives in meta-contextual change.

1.8.2 Open innovation learning-by layers weaving flows in form-giving

Open innovation learning-by weaves flows in form-giving as (i) learning-by-doing, accumulating experience in both organizational and personal senses; (ii) learning-by-making, with artifactual construction and human projects that give an artifact its meaning; and (iii) learning-by-trying, in co-configuration or projects and services in an episodic manner within windows of opportunity.

1.8.3 Open innovation learning-alongside respects agencing strands

Open innovation learning-alongside is agencing strands in dialectical distinctions between (i) polyrhythmia entangling eurhythmia, aligning multiple organic repetitions in time; (ii) regenerating entangling preserving, in life cycles of nature, and order in social institutions; and (iii) less-leading-to-more entangling more-leading-to-more, as elaborating organization with a deeper hierarchy, or elaborating structure with a broader structure.

1.8.4 Alternative stable states, teleonomy and teleology

At a philosophical level, the building of normative theories point towards an opportunity for teleonomy to learn from teleology. A larger context in which to consider these philosophies is in the science of alternative stable states, from ecology, shown in Table 1.9.

Table 1.9 Teleonomy learns from teleology
environmental change,
somatic change,
genotypic change



Alternative stable states:
panarchy, resilience, regime shifts

Teleology explains natural phenomena by their end or purpose, which is presumed to be known before action. Teleonomy sees goal-directed processes in organisms as owing to the operation of a program (e.g. the genetic sequences of DNA gradually unfold). The panarchy and resilience science literature emphasizes not a single equilibrium, but alternative stable states. While PSo and OSo may naturally have their own stable states, OSwPS introduces additional possibilities.

Open sourcing while private sourcing was a new way of organizing in 2001. Today, in 2017, OSwPS is a reality that some take as commonplace, while others still find it a mystery.

1.9 Study limitations, future research and practical implications

Following inductive methods, this research work is limited by the scope of data collected. The detail centers on IBM as an organizational whole and its individual members, sweeping in associated open sourcing communities and the industry. The activity of theory-building has induced preliminary statements of correlation that could be refined and tested deductively. The emerging philosophical foundations provided alongside the emerging theories are not exhaustive, so the data could be approach from additional directions.

Future research is expected on further development of generative pattern language, in the format proposed for Service Systems Thinking. This is expected to lead outside the scope of OIL, and probably will not involve OSwPS. Interest has already been expressed in conferences and lectures not only by the pattern language community, but also by the systemic design community.

The practical implications of this research into OIL and OSwPS are to highlight alternative ways of conducting business that were unknown in 2001, and still relatively uncommon by 2011. Open innovation, if repeated as an organizational practice more than once, can take years to become natural. The preliminary normative theories in this research work may be validated by the few organizations who choose to stand apart from others in their flock.

List of tables

Chapter 2

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