Beyond the Code: Sharing Open Source Expertise

Assistant Professor Siobhán O’Mahony was an invited panelist at “Participate 08,” a Microsoft-sponsored discussion held during the O’Reilly OSCON (Open Source Convention) in Portland, Ore., in July. The one-day summit brought together experts from academia, industry and the open source community to explore opportunities for greater participation in the design, development and deployment of software in the modern IT environment. The topics included interoperability, intellectual property and hybrid development. O’Mahony weighed in on everything from hybrid business models, how to motivate open source developers, and lessons learned from her research on open source software projects. The panelists’ conversations were recorded live on a “mind-mapping” white board.In August O’Mahony presented her work titled “Explaining Progression Without Hierarchy: Lateral Authority in Context” at the sixth annual Harvard Business School-MIT User and Open Innovation Workshop, where leading academic researchers gathered to consider the theory and practice of open innovation. O’Mahony’s research with co-author Linus Dahlander from Stanford University examines how lateral authority works in practice on a large-scale open source software project. The authors found that while technical contributions were initially important to achieving positions of authority, coordination work became more important at a later stage.

Partnering on Open Innovation Speaker Series

The locus of innovation is shifting, from largely being confined to operations within the four walls of the corporation, to a more distributed, open model of innovation. To exchange knowledge about this approach, this past fall O’Mahony co-organized the “Open Innovation Speaker Series” in partnership with Henry Chesbrough, executive director of the Center for Open Innovation at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Hosted at UC Berkeley, the new bi-weekly speaker series brought together thoughtful practitioners of open innovation along with cutting-edge academic research on this new way of conceptualizing innovation processes. The schedule and videos of the speakers are available at:

How Music Producers Keep Creative Projects on Track

O’Mahony presented her work titled “Nexus Work: Managing Ambiguity in Market-Based Creative Projects” at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Boston in August. Co-authored with Elizabeth Long Lingo of Vanderbilt University, the work chronicles how music producers in Nashville manage ambiguity when bringing a creative project to market. By examining the work practices producers used to respond to sources of ambiguity, O’Mahoney and Lingo built a theoretical framework to help understand how people in the nexus role bring creative projects to fruition in a market.