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Open Collaboration Is the New Black

The problem with a really great idea is that it usually has to be groundbreaking, remarkable, and dominant before we will ever see it as a great idea. So its greatness brings with it our confusion about how to fit it into our current understanding of the world.

When the light bulb was invented, our entire system of illumination was based on gas lamps. Even though the promise of light at the touch of a button—without the harmful chemicals in the smoke that we had become used to—it was difficult to comprehend how we would put this great invention to use.

Here we are again, on the cusp of a great idea. How can we begin the fundamental implementation of xAPI in our organizations when so much must change for it to be fully realized? Buckminster Fuller said this: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality.” We can’t fight our way into this change alone, no matter how good the idea. We cannot create a new structure within the old; we must collectively envision it anew. It will take time for xAPI to be fully adopted and for the old structures to become outmoded. Cloud, Mobile, Social—these ideas happen to us on a daily basis, and many more like them, faster and faster, requiring agility and resilience. We cannot not change.

The xAPI Camp event at Amazon was so powerful because it showed many different types of stakeholders—developers, users, engineers, and scientists along the continuum of acceptance of this idea, working together to see it realized.

It was in the spirit of helpful ingenuity and commitment to a great idea that the xAPI Camp event was born and continues to thrive. It is picking up new contributors at every turn. The cooperation that Megan Bowe and Aaron Silvers of MakingBetter suggest created a collaborative space for others to learn and remain open to new answers, models, and a new future. The strength of this collaborative effort will help everyone move forward.

The size of the task may be seen as equal to the greatness of the idea, but being at the event made it clear to me. It begins with a single step—an excellent mentor or developer—and the belief that ROE and data predictability belong in all of our learning and development efforts. As an educational futurist, I love seeing educational strategies move us forward, and I also love seeing how to take the next right step. In xAPI I see this strategy—start small and envision big.

It’s the future, after all. Let’s see a bold one.

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