While I was writing this book, I had the opportunity to address a group of Harvard Business School alumni in Silicon Valley about the concept of openness. I asked, "How many of you work for what you consider to be an open organization?" Only three of the hundred or so people in the room thought they did—and they worked for Mozilla, Twitter, and IDEO.

This highlights a fundamental problem with the topic of openness: we lack a basic framework and vocabulary on which we can base discussions and decisions around openness because there are so many different ways to be open. For instance, Mozilla, Twitter, and IDEO look at openness in three very distinct ways, two of them based in technology. Mozilla's product ...

Get Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform The Way You Lead now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.