Open Source and Toyota teams compared

Open Source Software(OSS) and the Toyota Production System – unexpected similarities discovered!

"Corporate leaders seeking to boost growth, learning, and innovation may find the answer in a surprising place: the Linux open-source software community.

Linux is developed by an essentially volunteer, self- organizing community of thousands of programmers.

Most leaders would sell their grandmothers for workforces that collaborate as efficiently, frictionlessly, and creatively as the self-styled Linux hackers".

That is what Philip Evans and Bob Wolf say in an excellent article, Collaboration Rules, published in the Harvard Business Review July –August 2005 - The High Performance Organisation

Philip and Bob have discovered “surprising parallels between the anarchistic, caffeinated, hirsute world of Linux hackers and the disciplined, tea-sipping, clean-cut world of Toyota engineering.

Specifically, Toyota and Linux operate by rules that blend the self-organizing advantages of markets with the low transaction costs of hierarchies".

To me the whole ethos and approach of open-source software development embodies the key distinctions of bioteaming namely:

  1. Leadership: treat every team member as a leader

  2. Connectivity: connect the team members, partners and networks

  3. Execution: experiment, co-operate and learn

  4. Organisation: establish sustainable self-organisation


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Business networks are biological

Business networks are biological

Networks competing with networks is the future for supply chains. Harvard Professor Marco Iansiti in his book "The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of Business Ecosystems Mean for Strategy, Innovation and Sustainability" predicts that the future business competition will not be between companies or even supply chains but between networks.


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