Interview with STEFANIE CHIRAS, Vice president and general manager, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Business Unit, Red Hat

What makes open source the basis for innovation and sustainability in IT?

Open source stands first and foremost for principles that stimulate innovation and promote collaboration, transparency and inclusion. The end result is a sustainable innovation engine fueled by the passion of innovators. Only through transparency and inclusion can an active community flourish and benefit society. Transparency means open access to information, open communication between all participants and comprehensible decision-making processes that serve as guiding standards. All this is necessary to ensure that as many people as possible contribute, speak up and voice their opinions and that the innovation continuously builds. Inclusion ensures that diverse ideas and points of view are included and all voices are heard, because a diverse community will always generate more innovation and a heterogeneous community will always achieve better results than groups consisting of lone fighters.

Open source thus contributes to a sustainable society and economy. The principle of openness and the idea of a community ensure that software is continuously being created and improved. In this way, dependencies are reduced. When an organization or an individual is solely responsible for the software or information, there may be limitations – although not always immediate and obvious. These limitations hinder people and companies and slow down innovation. Open source is a great enabler of innovative technology: The Internet, the cloud, IoT and AI would be unthinkable without open source.

Is sustainability only about the right technology but also about the right culture?

Technology supports sustainability, but the right culture is essential in ensuring that sustainable technology can be created, perpetuated and put to use within organizations. Therefore, a company’s culture defines its sustainability goals as well as the actions and the technology to achieve these goals.

What exactly are the key pillars for an open source culture in a company?

Organizations that want to establish an open source culture need to understand and live by the principles of open source: the feeling of unified purpose , the shared values and the participation of all employees. Progress quickly becomes visible when employees realize they have the power to keep the ball rolling and therefore actively participate. These kinds of experiences are incredibly motivating.

It is important to set the vision for all employees in favor of these changes and get them involved from the start. The right idea can come from anyone – regardless of age, gender or position in the company. Diversity fosters our performance-oriented culture by bringing in as many perspectives and ideas as possible, thus challenging our assumptions and inspiring innovation.
Finally, each individual must reflect on themselves and the way they work. Everyone needs to be ready for change. But most importantly, each individual must be empowered to have a strong sense of their own identity and to contribute to the creation of an environment in which others can be themselves to the fullest.

Diversity delivers different perspectives and ideas, challenges assumptions and inspires innovation. Good ideas can come from anyone – regardless of age, gender or position in the company.