[From the sandbox] Social work and open design. Introduction

[From the sandbox] Social work and open design. Introduction

The evolution of the principles of motivation and stimulation in the development of information systems and other high-tech products is evolving. In addition to classic ones, i.e. purely monetary-capitalist forms, alternative forms have long been present and are becoming increasingly popular. Half a century ago, IBM, as part of its “Share” program, called for a free exchange of application programs for its mainframes developed by third-party programmers (not for charitable reasons, but this does not change the essence of the program).

Today's Day: social entrepreneurship, crowdsourcing, “Writing code together” (“Social Coding”, GitHub and other social networks for developers), various forms of licensing freeware \ Open Source projects, ideas exchange and free exchange of knowledge, technologies, programs.

A new interaction format “Social Labor and Open Design” and the concept of its information resource (website) are proposed. We meet a new start up (if it is really new). The formula of the proposed approach is: networking, co-working, open innovation, co-creation, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, scientific organization of labor (NOT), standardization and unification, typing of solutions, activity and non-financial motivation, free exchange of experience and best practices copyleft, Open Source, freeware and all-all-all.

1 Environment and scope

Consider the formats: charity, classic business, socially responsible business (classical entrepreneurship with charity), social entrepreneurship (socially oriented entrepreneurship).

With business and charity - very clear.

A socially responsible business is rude and not always correct (there are exceptions), but an extremely clear example: when an oligarch, having robbed the population of his city (country), ennobled a small city square, he bought a pair of castles and luxury yachts, of course, sports team etc.

Or he created a charitable foundation (possibly with the goal of optimizing the taxes of his business).
Social entrepreneurship - as a rule, it is a “subsidized business” focused on solving the problems of socially unprotected residents: orphans, large families, retirees, disabled people.

Despite the fact that “socially oriented entrepreneurship” professes primarily charity, and secondly it brings income, large Russian social entrepreneurship funds have also been created with oligarchs' funds (target capital). Often social entrepreneurship is distinguished from charity by self-financing, therefore, in general, it is also a business (entrepreneur = businessman).

Some on Habré claim that Social entrepreneurs give a human face to business.
There you can see examples of projects.

“Social work and open design” - or STOP - has a slightly different philosophy. This format is for those who are not only willing to help others, but also wish to organize their activities and those of others (the whole society) as effectively as possible.

This project is aimed at maximizing efficiency in education and production through teamwork (collectivization), open design (public project management), standardization and unification of design solutions, developing concepts and building on them universal base platforms, replicating standard projects and borrowing the best decisions (practices) instead of the constant “invention of the bicycle”, i.e. reuse of other developments.

At the initial stage of this movement, it is supposed to conduct development on a voluntary basis: real socially useful actions usually imply social principles. The movement is based on approaches:

x-working (co-working, etc.), x - sourcing (crowdsourcing, etc.), attracting to the projects both experts - altruists (professional developers), and novice specialists (students), i.e. "Mass and skill - the motto ...". An important component is the scientific organization of labor.

The concept of "Social work and open design" - can be applied in various areas of public life, but here we will limit ourselves to the IT sphere. Therefore, the STOP branch in relation to IT (automation) will be called STOPIT: the STOP project on IT topics. Although this is a conditional division, because, for example, management technologies for managing projects and processes are considered to be “IT-like”, but they are used not only in automation projects.

There are similar forms, for example, Social Technology Greenhouse is a public educational project aimed at developing cooperation between the nonprofit sector and IT specialists.

However, STOPIT - focuses on any IT-oriented "supply and demand." STOPIT is not only an educational project, it is not only “cooperation between the non-profit sector and IT specialists” and other “not only” ones.

Social work and open design are the IT greenhouse of a new type of social entrepreneurship, where the term “entrepreneurship” is better replaced by “activities”.

2 The concept of "social work and open design" and motivation


The concept of IT greenhouses STOPIT includes three roles: Customer, Intermediary, Contractor. The customer forms “demand”, more precisely, he asks and formalizes “what needs to be done”. Customer - any company or individual who wants to solve a specific task in front of him. In this case, automate something.

The contractor forms the “offer”, i.e. notifies "what he is ready to do." A contractor is a company, a group of developers or simply a developer who is ready in general - “on a voluntary basis” (free of charge) to solve a problem for the Customer.

The intermediary is a subject that connects the “demand” and “supply” and controls the solution of the problem, the satisfaction of both the Customer and the Contractor. What is important is the satisfaction of the Contractor himself, since we are talking in general about works "on a voluntary basis." Instead of the principle: “Money for work is received, and there is no grass to grow”, in this case a factor starts to work where the Contractor is interested in introducing his product through non-financial motivation. And this is sometimes "more expensive than money."

By the way, the technology STOPIT easily wins another trouble of the modern IT structure: if the Customer has received satisfaction, then the implementation project is considered successful despite the objective parameters of compliance with the design solution of the built task. In our case, public control will reveal such a situation, and a public assessment of the success of the implementation project will be based not on the popular principle “you don’t need to think about the quality of the project if you sleep with the customer together with the same salad”, but on the invoice.

2.1 Customer Motivation

You always want to get for free or “almost for free” - an automation system for which there is no money or “it’s unclear how to choose”, since "Every seller praises his product" (even if the product is useless). For many, the price tag on IT projects has become very heavy. Where to get simple typical solutions of the Open Source \ freeware class and an inexpensive resource for their implementation and subsequent maintenance?

Sometimes one-time tasks are required or the task is to check whether it is “necessary”, “how it works in principle”. For example, the company has no project office, but I want to understand: how the project would go if it was available.A "external project manager" (project administrator), for example, a student or freelancer, is recruited on a voluntary basis.

Within the framework of the concept of STOPIT, the Customer receives a ready-made solution to his task with source code, free license, replicability, conceptual elaboration of the solution architecture, documented code. As part of the implementation discussion, he was able to see alternative solutions and make his own choice (agree with the choice).

There is a hope that the proposed approach will provoke the following situation: if a similar task needs to be solved by several organizations (both require the same product), then it is advisable to make joint efforts to develop a typical solution (or platform) and solve the problem on its basis. together they took it, together they made a basic solution, and then each independently adapted a common approach for themselves (adapted).

A variation of crowdfunding is possible, or simply the option of working together on one task according to the principles: “one head is good and two is better” or through co-operation of the following type: I will help you with your project, and you with mine, because you have competence in mine, and in my project.

The Customer is presented with a set of requirements, but so far we are not considering them (mainly the requirement for disclosing the history of implementation, open maintenance of the bug tracker, etc.).

2.2 Contractor Motivation

The basic class of the Executors, in any case, at the beginning of the development of the direction STOPIT, are assumed to be student project groups. It is important for the student: to work on a real practical task, to gain practical experience, to see that his achievements did not go to the trash bin, but are actually used (exploited and bring people benefit).

It may be important for the student to draw up a work record (to fix the experience), to include real projects (“successful history” right from the first year of the university) in their portfolio, etc.
Perhaps the freelancer wants to include in his portfolio the implementation of this particular project (this company) and is ready to work for free.

If necessary, the Intermediary can organize operational control or select an experienced mentor to ensure a higher quality solution to the problem by novice designers. In this case, the motive of a student or the same freelancer can be based solely on work on a project with the participation of a “well-known guru” assigned to this project.

Thus, Performers are not necessarily altruistic and philanthropic, although professional developers will fall under this definition. Within the framework of STOPIT, it is advisable to use the latter as a team of mentors (consultants) or chief designers, or to engage in performing “exemplary projects” that raise the image of a specific STOPIT project site.

Universities participating in the Center will be able to better understand the real tasks that their graduates will have to solve. The artists themselves will be able to subsequently be hired to accompany their own developments (programs). The Foundation can organize contests and encourage the most active Contractors (Universities), including through a special fund of donations from the Customers themselves, who donate “joyfully” from a free, but extremely effective for them tool (program).

In general, for a student “happiness number 1” - when he already at the institute solves practical problems, i.e. not invented, but real (even if he does not bring them to the end or does only a piece of a big task). "Happiness number 2" - when his project really came in handy in life (was implemented), i.e. his work “was not thrown into the wastebasket” immediately after the project was defended. And if in addition to this there will be a small material motivation?

And not necessarily in the form of money: the incentive fund may consist of vacancies for internship, study (advanced training), other prepaid services of educational or non-educational nature.

The net position of "altruist - philanthropist" must also find itself in STOPIT. The egoist is for himself, the altruist is for people. Misanthrope - misanthrope, philanthropist - human lover. Altruist and philanthropist act for the benefit of society, placing others' interests above their own. Both love humanity and help him. This is a powerful resource that has not yet found itself in large IT projects.

2.3 Project student teams - the hope of domestic NTR

I emphasize that not only the project student teams are considered as Executors for the projects STOPIT, but they have special hope for the scientific and technological revolution (STR). The existing isolation of the educational process from production, the lack of understanding by the teaching staff of specific practical tasks of production is a misfortune of modern domestic education. In the USSR, for a more "deeper immersion" of students in production, basic departments of educational institutions attached to enterprises and scientific research institutes were invented.

Today, some still remain, but the expected "Great Result" was not there.
By “Big result” I understand something “open and large, i.e. socially useful on a planetary scale. " Similar to Western institutions, for example, the display server "X windows system", developed in 1984 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and indeed the whole direction of MIT-licensing.

Our students are not capable of such tricks: Police car on the dome of the Great Dome building

It may be necessary to change the concept of higher education itself, for example, to remake it in a Western manner: combine educational institutions with research centers. This can be followed by the reproach that all the achievements of MIT and the like should be attributed to the innovation centers at the institutes, but in any case our research institutes cannot boast of anything like that.

In this concept, STOPIT can be considered as a “temporary patch” until the state “wakes up” and remembers the need to revive higher education.
STOPIT can serve as a springboard for NTR. In any case, the revolution - both in education and in approaches to the design and implementation of automation systems: open design, borrowing, standardization, unification, the formation of open standards for building systems, system architectures, framework, etc.

In any case, laboratory research and practical skills, and even more successful (and even “not very”) implementations — right from the first courses — is the key to a quality education.
In the meantime, we have to read this sadly:
I am a 2nd year student at the university, studying in the specialty Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, and quite successfully, I receive an increased scholarship. But, one day, I realized that what I was being taught begins to burden me and becomes, subjectively, of course, all the more depressing and monotonous. A little later, an idea arose, and why would you implement some project of your own, get fame and money (the latter is doubtful of course). But. I don’t know if I’m alone with such a problem, at least on the Internet, I almost didn’t find anything, but with what exactly I will do, I cannot decide. The faculty shrugged, said that research ...

Of course, I don’t ask for ready-made ideas, I’m asking for an answer to the question: how do I get to this myself?
Student IT projects. Lack of ideas?

Offer to teachers: Why do IT students need to load unrealistic (made-up) tasks? Maybe you need to ask your friends what IT projects are going on in the enterprise, what needs to be done, what task to solve. Next, divide the task into parts and offer it to the whole group in the form of diploma/term papers with the “cutting” of tasks according to the decomposition. The resulting solution can be shown to friends: maybe they will refuse SAP \ SAS, etc.and choose student work on the Open Source \ copyleft engine?

For example, the implementation of “SAP \ SAS, etc.” in some cases can be on the principle “from a cannon on a sparrow”, i.e. to solve the problem, a simpler solution would be suitable, moreover, the economic efficiency of introducing such monsters is almost always negative: therefore, often the feasibility studies of such implementations are not done at all, and moreover they are not published.
Even if your friends say no, then simply publish your decision and comparison with a competing product - there may be someone who chooses your solution, if it is of course competitive. All this can be done without the site STOPIT.

2.4 Selected Success Factors

The key motion vector should be based on the following:

A) Open. Programs must be open source and well documented. At the same time, in addition to documenting the code and documenting the logic (algorithm), preferably in one of the graphical notation (BPMN, EPC, UML, etc.). “Open” - there is source code and it does not matter in which environment the project was created or what language is used: Visual Basic or Java.

B) Free. Many people want to do something socially useful and meaningful, open and replicable (multi-useful): so that they can be useful to many people and, for a minimum, they say Thank you very much.

Although some want “a lot more” than just “Thank you,” for example, pointing out the license “THE BURGER-WARE LICENSE” (the “sarcasm” tag) right in your program code:
Sub insertPicture (...
  '& lt; xxx@xxx.com> wrote this code. As long as you retain this notice you
  'can do whatever you want with this stuff. If you meet some day and you think
  This stuff is worth it, you can buy me a burger in return. ;-) xxx
The THE BURGER-WARE LICENSE license can become the hallmark of the STOP project. Donationware family (humorware) large: Beerware, Pizzaware ...

C) Select first of all mass tasks. The priority should be the tasks that have not specific, but general application: “tasks of mass demand”, solved through a universal open platform (possibly, with subsequent customization, if necessary).

D) Watch “broadly” and make not only programs, but also standards: standardization and development of an industry standard solution. Priority should be given to solutions (programs, approaches), which in addition to the implementation example contain elements of standardization. For example, the Contractor proposes a typical solution and shows how to adapt it to a specific task. As a result, the emphasis is on mass circulation (multiple repetitions based on a typical solution - as an alternative to the “invention of a bicycle”). Standardization, unification and exchange of experience as opposed to: “a closed and unique solution” (“keep the customer on the hook”), coercion to a single vendor of a software solution (vendor).

2.5 The Role of the Mediator

The role of the Intermediary - the organizer (operator) of a separate STOPIT site is as follows (in blocks).

Project office: formation of a portfolio of orders and groups of performers (resource pool). Collection of orders, the formation of resource performers. Monitoring project status (Initiation, Development, etc.).

Business analyst. Primary business analysis. Primary study of tasks, an attempt to formulate a common task that would be interesting to a wider circle of customers.

Guarantor. Guaranteed performance of the contract. For example, the Contractor may set a condition for receiving the act of implementing the system (if successfully implemented) or posting on the company's website where his decision was implemented, articles (news indicating the Contractor) about the implementation (and no matter what content: positive or critical).

The guarantor can, on the basis of the principle of “alienating the developer from his product”, guarantee the Customer that he will always find the support team for this project, for example, in the event that the Contractor refuses to accompany his own implementation or the implementation of his own software product.

There are many other points (details), for example, hiding the name of the Customer’s company in the early stages of design. This is necessary so that spam from the competitors' offers on the alternative system “for money” (with shouts: “free cheese only in a mousetrap”) did not pour in to the Customer. If the Customer is willing to pay a symbolic amount to the Contractor, the Mediator acts as an intermediary in the settlement. Details it is advisable to specify in the charter of a specific project or the charter of a specific site STOPIT.

PR. Advertising: letters to the administration and student forums, media - the initiation and involvement in the project, promotion on the Internet.

OTC. Implementation control. The mediator can take on separate projects preliminary tests of the implemented system. After implementation, organize the monitoring process and conduct an audit.

The mediator can manage the Mentors, i.e. in the presence of a resource - experts to connect them to the project for mentoring.

The mediator can organize contests, awards, etc. to increase the motivation of the Executors. There is a lot more to add: this is determined by the capabilities of the Intermediary.

2.6 Some effects of the proposed project

Engage students in solving real applied problems. Ideally (in the future) - to introduce in our institutes a western approach, when groups of students create an industrial standard, an open system/platform (framework), widely used to build final industrial systems.

Increase the level of standardization of information systems development: typical design, standard solutions, elaboration of a single conceptual solution and building several implementations based on it, for example, on different CMS, DMS, wiki engines, etc. implement the standard for building such a system, i.e. the formation of industrial standards for solving an applied problem.

Create platforms that combine supply and demand, and the implementation of the task will be either mediocre or for a symbolic price, as well as various incentive options, for example, when a company takes on the practice of a winner-student for technical support of its own program with or without payroll (on practice).

In the future, it is possible to create platforms for the next generation based on the principles of openness, standardization, crowdfunding, but when only the project itself is paid for, and its replication is presented to the society, i.e. public, including any company and person can use for free. At the same time, the society on the trading floor will determine for itself what it first needs and to whom to give this project (development “for money”).

3 "Three Whales" of Social Labor and Open Design

A) Collaboration Technologies

Networking (applied to STOPIT)

Net - network + work - work. This is a social and professional activity aimed at using colleagues from friends, acquaintances (including acquaintances through social networks or professional forums), colleagues to build trustful and long-term relationships with people and carry out mutual assistance.

Networking is the basis for establishing friendly and business relationships with new people (partners). In essence, networking is the formation of a social circle and a desire to discuss their own problems with others, offer their services (advice, advice in the forums). All social networks are based on it.

It is important to believe in Networking and not be afraid to ask the solution of the problem from others, ask them to solve your problem, as well as offer their knowledge and help to others. Co-working

In a broad sense - the approach to the organization of labor of people with different employment in a common space; in a narrow space there is a similar space, a collective (distributed) office, in our case the site is STOPIT. This is the organization of infrastructure for joint work under the projects STOPIT.

Someday physical coworkers STOPIT may appear, but for now this is only a virtual site STOPIT (Internet resource). We will not only share experience and ideas with everyone, which will increase productivity and help in finding non-trivial problem solutions, but also work on a single platform using common tools (for example, design systems, emulators, virtual test benches).

So far, the topic of virtual workspaces STOPIT has not been worked out, but it will include at least virtual offices (remote office workstations, including word \ excel, etc., or their analogs, facts, communications, etc.), as well as virtual IT laboratories and stands “shared” for experimentation and testing (shared virtual machines with specialized software, VM images with pre-installed frameworks, etc.).

Upon completion of each project, its virtual stand will be archived and will be available for redeployment to any member of STOPIT, i.e. Not only the operational and operational project documentation will be available, but also the information system itself.

Much STOPIT takes over crowdsourcing: in fact, projects are outsourced to the public, an open appeal is made to the public, in which the organization requests (asks) solutions from the “crowd”.

Open design technologies, public project management (in fact, as in the “What, where, when” program), crowd sourcing, co-creation, open innovation are well-known terms that are easy to find on the Internet, for example, Open Innovation vs Crowdsourcing vs Co-creation .

B) Scientific Labor Organization

The NOT - as a process of improving the organization of labor based on the achievements of science and advanced experience - is a very broad concept. In general, it is mechanization and automation, ergonomics, rationing, time management and the mass of the other.

We will limit the directions:

  • free sharing of knowledge and experience;
  • unification and standardization;
  • extensive use of Best Practices, both industry and Best management practices.
  • Unification and standardization, borrowing already done, a reference point for typical solutions.

You do not need to reinvent the wheel every time, you just need to repeat it. If we solve a problem, then it is advisable to offer such a solution that will be universal and will allow the solution of similar problems (“two birds with one stone”).

Best Practice. Examples of industry best practices, for example, from IT: ITSM, ITIL, COBIT. Examples of Best Management Practices: PMBOK-PRINCE from project; BOKi from the field of system/software engineering; BIZBOK \ WAVOK, as well as numerous lean-shaped technology for "all occasions."

Here it is important to understand that the goal is not to “choose the best of many best practices” (many alternative approaches). It is proposed not to invent new approaches to project management, new ways of designing systems, etc., and first read the Best Practice and borrow whenever possible from them. Although sometime one of the STOPIT projects I hope will be processing the existing “eminent” Best Practice or creating a new one, for example, BOK on the STOPIT project itself.

B) Principles of an active life position

IT pioneers, activists, volunteers, altruists and “all-all-all” who want to do something useful: both “very” socially useful (large-scale-useful) and useful only to a small company, i.e. anyone automate anything volunteer.

Social entrepreneurs, altruists and philanthropists have a social responsibility in terms of making IT projects more accessible, replicable and popular, the desire to involve a large number of participants in the development of information systems, to make domestic systems more qualitative and not inferior to Western ones. Approximately, “Mass and skill is the motto of Soviet sport”, i.e. "Mass and skill is the motto of the national it-building."

All in all, under the guidance of a small number of experienced comrades, it is enough to send a large army of "students eager for knowledge and practice" students and everyone (novice engineers and programmers) to perform practical tasks with direct implementation and subsequent support of the development. Development (product) assumes the above principles: openness, universality of application, standardization of solutions, including the development of a concept (ontology), free replication (copyleft).


Of course, a lucky IT student at the institute can get an internship at a large IT company, there are beautiful stories about students, especially Western ones, for example, Stanford (K. Sistrom, M. Zuckerberg), there are domestic start-up sites, hackathons, student contests like “You need people”, job fairs, youth forums like BreakPoint, social entrepreneurship funds (“Fishermen”, etc.), projects like “Preactum”, contests, for example, the Contest of articles “Social entrepreneurship through the eyes of students”, "Project 5-100" and "heel ki ", tens, and perhaps hundreds of similar, but a revolutionary effect in our country, all this is not provided, neither a revolution in business or in education or scientific-technical revolution. Domestic education, science and production are degraded, with giant strides. To change the situation, radical methods are needed. Radical and really effective measures "from above" - ​​was not and is not.

It remains to try the "bottom" and use the enthusiasm and activity of caring.

Is the proposed format of IT greenhouses capable of a new type of social entrepreneurship: Social work and open design? The answer can only be given by trying it in action.

If you are interested in the idea - create your own STOPIT - a resource: the proposed concept is distributed under Copyleft - license “THE BURGER-WARE LICENSE”. In each university, such a site would be useful. See you at your site STOPIT.

Source text: [From the sandbox] Social work and open design. Introduction