October 20, 2010

Open Systems – Part I

[The following is part of a series summarizing our Open Systems Meetings that took place last month. The goal of these meetings was to let the Vox community provide feedback and shape the direction of our community. You can also read Part II and Part III of the summary.]


In the world of technology and software design, rarely will you find anything of quality devoid of a hefty dollar sign (Plants vs. Zombies and Words With Friends being the only exceptions to the rule: They’re cheap and addictingly fun). It is within this climate that makes the open-source operating system, Linux, one of the best and most cost effective platforms available today.

Much in the same way, we decided to take a similar approach to the way we planned for the upcoming year at Vox. Sure, we could have the responsibility placed on the Vox staff’s shoulders and hope that a great plan would result. But like a beautiful orchestra, we believe the voices of all instruments are needed to create a beautiful sonata instead of relying on a chorus of tuba’s. Instead, we opened up the conversation to the entire Vox community to contribute their voice and help shape this upcoming year. The result? A beautiful endeavor that embodies hope, faith, generosity and community for the city of Austin and it’s inhabitants.

We began our open systems conversations with an exercise in dreaming and forward thinking. We posed the questions “What words would you use to describe Vox now?” and “In 2020, if the Austin American-Statesman did an article about Vox, what words would we want to capture our community and how we live?”

Some of the responses were: hospitality, innovating, family, humble, open-minded, actively living the church, good fruit.

Through these questions, we discovered that there were many, many beautiful words used to describe what Vox is today, and our dream is that these same adjectives would remain 10 years from now. At the same time, there were many words used to describe a community that we desperately long to become, and our dream would be that in 10 years, these words would become actualized by the Vox community.

As we wrapped up our conversations, we turned the conversation from a verbal dialogue into a tactile experience by displaying a map of Austin where those who were in attendance, posted prayers and dreams all around the city. From prayers for our neighbors and co-workers to dreams for the city and nearby schools, we turned our dreaming exercise inside out. What resulted was a map riddled with points of interest that embodied our thoughts, prayers and dreams for a more beautiful and united city.

[Photo by lainers @ Flickr]

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