Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spreading your ideas without being there yourself

To cover up a cancellation on interactive session on development, I run a session today at BTD Conference. The session material wasn't mine, but I owned the delivery of it. The session was about group learning, doing Approval Tests Koans (programming puzzles) with regular reflection on what we were learning. Llewellyn Falco did not only make his puzzles available, but shared all the material on how to run this session.

I asked for permission to use his materials primarily because I find the added power of asserts in unit testing that Approvals bring very nice and powerful and thus the content worth spreading. But in advance I had many second thoughts on how it would be to teach on someone else's material. And not just teach, but do a session in a conference, where my personal view was that all the sessions would somehow be original material by their authors.

With the experience, I look at this differently. Llewellyn would not have been here today but I was. If I did not use his materials, I wouldn't have taken the time to create something similar but original - I would have just skipped doing this. And if that  happened, the people who were at the session, would not have had the lessons they had from it.

This leaves me thinking, that we in general need to be more open about sharing our ideas, materials and even courses. In protectionism, we lose the possibility to reach new audiences, on the perceived benefit of being able to cash in on personal delivery.

I've had all my material creative commons Attribution -licenced forever. The reasons were twofold: openness protects my right to access the material when I change companies and the contents were often so much based on my experiences, that direct reuse would not anyway be possible. But to use things I've created as a stepping stone to make creating something better, to enable not reinventing the wheel was something I deemed relevant.

With Llewellyn's openness towards his very reusable and nicely packaged material, I need to rethink my approaches to be even more open. We need to learn to share better.