From Open Sustainability
Open-sustainability is an approach that applies information-centric techniques to solve challenges related to sustainable development. It leverages an integrated solution approach, combining the Framework for Integrated Sustainable Development (FISDev) tool with a five phase sustainability governance framework, both of which are open-source tools freely accessible and collaboratively developed. They work in concert to enable commercial business models for sustainability and Social media business models around online advertising and e-learning. A corporate organization for open-sustainability.com exists to provide these service, but works in coordination with other organizations providing the same services.
The goal of Sustainable Development is simple to state: how can we continue to develop today, without sacrificing tomorrow? Meeting the challenge, however, is incredibly complex, as it requires global cooperation, technology innovation, changes in culture and long-term commitment.
The good news is that we are making movements in the right direction. First and foremost, many individuals are passionate about the topic: communities are helping to solve local challenges, while at the same time global groups have formed through grass roots initiatives. Many companies certainly see opportunity, especially in the multi-billion dollar industries of energy, health and in developing emerging markets.
The bad news is that there are many factors moving against us that we typically find very difficult to solve, including the aforementioned challenges of cooperation, culture and commitment. On this subject there are reasons to be encouraged, however, due to recent advances in information technology around web 2.0, open source methodology and Information-centric culture. open-sustainability is an approach that applies these concepts to help solve the sustainability challenge. For more details on how the open-sustainability approach is specifically tailored to address the complexity of the sustainability challenge, proceed to the sustainability challenge page.
The open-sustainability approach provides an Integrated framework a set of sustainability best practices, a model to improve them, and a mechanism for their implementation. Best practices are based on the development of a comprehensive industry standard that is complemented by accelerators, training, implementation tools and emerging techniques. Through this approach, a virtual hub of assets is formed that is used by a community focused on sustainable development to solve common challenges. Corporate intellectual property can still be kept private, and with linking to the framework and leveraging common content there is a greater incentive for sharing and extending the open-sustainability approach.
This integrated content repository concept has been successfully for the IM Solution Suite and MIKE2.0.
An Open Industry Methodology
Web-based sustainability content is stored in various forms in distributed documents, tools and web content. In order to make this content flow together for the end-user, the FISDev software architecture tool provides a content model that organizes the content and its relationships through the overall set of tasks for a sustainability competency, architecture and governance model. The content model is the same taxonomy as that used for the www.openmethodology.org initiative. The assets of the content model are described here.
Shown below are the development and implementation principles of the FISDev approach. These principles apply to how content is developed and how solutions are implemented using the open framework content.
Openness is the cornerstone of the open-sustainability approach. An initial set of content has been built into open-sustainability that provides an overall framework for an open methodology that can be shared across all organizations. Some introductory concepts have also been added on sustainability. The focus of the initial set of content has been to build:
- A base set of activities and tasks to follow that helps organizations become more sustainable
- Best practices for a sustainability strategy through blueprinting and roadmapping techniques
- Organizational models for a sustainability center of excellence and stakeholder engagement
- Technology techniques for information-centric sustainability that links FISDev into the MIKE2.0 initiative. Much of the content to provide an open methodology framework is leveraged from www.openmethodology.org under the creative commons license.
open-sustainability is built and implemented in a collaborative fashion. Collaborative technologies are used for developing and sharing common techniques, networking people and project delivery. This provides the benefit of community-based intellectual property development, improved stakeholder engagement and simplified project delivery. The technology that runs FISDEV, omCollab, is provided for free to organizations to accelerate the take-up of collaborative solutions for sustainability and “mash up” to the integrated framework.
Information-centricity is important for many sustainability challenges. Examples include:
- Providing ways to share information across departments, organizations and even national boundaries as part of life cycle assessment
- Measuring carbon emissions and the predictive impacts of introducing capture mechanisms or alternative energies
- Conducting longitudinal studies on the effectiveness of poverty reduction through foreign investment
- Using advanced analytics to understand the benefits of long-term health programs and emerging risks
- Providing comparative analysis of how changes to one area (reducing carbon emissions) impacts another (food prices)
A principle of open-sustainability is that better information helps people make objective, evidence-based decisions related to sustainability. MIKE2.0 is used in conjunction with FISDev to take an information-centric approach to sustainability.
As sustainability challenges are so complex, organizations face the risk of being stuck in a lengthy analysis phase. The extreme blueprinting and roadmapping (xbr) model that is part of open-sustainability helps organizations quickly define and execute a sustainability strategy by providing a rapid understanding of their current state and future goals and creating an execution model for continuous delivery, communication and improvement.
Building a framework for sustainability and how it can be implemented within an enterprise requires a sophisticated collaboration architecture. The best way to think about the FISDEV technology platform OmCollab, which is the technology architecture underpinning the open-sustainability approach, is that it is a combination of the types of capabilities supporting Wikipedia, delicious, facebook, LinkedIn and popular blogging platforms like WordPress. It also interacts with these popular sites to leverage their content and very large communities.
The technology environment that sits within the corporate environment can use the same technology that runs FISDEV, enabling organizations to easily integrate to the open environment and build customized sustainability solutions for their specific challenges.
The technology platform that supports FISDev is a free, open source product for collaboration that is built from a number of components that support popular social media sites. The core of the wiki component, for example, is MediaWiki, which is the technology that supports Wikipedia. These technologies have been brought into a single product called OmCollab that also supports MIKE2.0.
Open Source Development Model
OmCollab is made freely available to accelerate take-up of collaborative sustainability solutions by client organizations. This approach encourages further development of the product by the open source community against a well-defined technology roadmap. The extension-based architecture of omCollab enables the development community to easily write applications for omCollab and further accelerate the platform.