Festina lente OSS

The picture you see below is of a coin minted by Roman Emperor Titus. It is the visualisation of the oxymoron of Festina Lente, or hasten slowly, where dolphins were known for their speed and the anchor for its stability.

In terms of OSS, this is mirrored in the dichotomy of the speed of change versus the attention to detail and quality that they must produce.

To me, it also brings forth the concept of Collective Disruption described in Michael Docherty’s book of the same name (actually Collective Disruption: How Corporations & Startups Can Co-Create Transformative New Businesses).

With the speed of innovation passing too many companies by, unable to move fast enough to keep up, Festina Lente is the perfect analogy for where many of the mainstay OSS vendors are at – so many hours of time invested in old products and technologies that it’s hard to cut ties and start afresh with advanced new frameworks.

It’s also an analogy of where many of the vendors’ customers are at – how to harness the speed of a startup within the bureaucracy of a behemoth. The oxymoron is exactly what many traditional telcos need to tap into and the trend of telcos starting incubators is a sign that the telcos are aware of it.

In the words of Docherty in this article on inc.com, “Gone are the days when incremental core business innovation was enough to drive business growth. Core business innovation is now what it takes to simply stay in the game.” The whole concept of “New and Improved” is expected and is what it takes just to stay in business today. If you don’t make these small innovative changes, you are likely to go out of business. Simply put, incremental innovation helps you survive, not thrive.”

Are you seeing signs of this trend taking hold too? How best to leverage it?

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