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Is GitHub a model for non-tech collaboration?

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Is GitHub a model for non-tech collaboration?

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I wrote recently about how the Linux approach to collaboration is being applied in other fields, with the Linux Foundation taking aim at healthcare for instance.  They aren’t the only tech giant that is spreading their wings though.

Software development platform GitHub are planning to take their collaborative method of working and apply it in non-software areas.

“The open, collaborative workflow we have created for software development is so appealing that it’s gaining traction for non-software projects that require significant collaboration,” says GitHub cofounder and CEO Tom Preston-Werner.

Whilst most of the 3 million or so GitHub users are in the software industry, the site has plans to attract a wider spread of expertise, and with that change how work is conducted.  They want any kind of knowledge work to be performed the GitHub way, and with $100 million in investment secured, it would appear naive to rule them out.

They’d be entering a very crowded marketplace however.  The enterprise social market is well stocked, with vendors from Jive to IBM offering tools that are supposed to aid internal collaboration.  You also have platforms such as Innocentive that allow for the kind of crowdsourced innovation GitHub are talking about.

Whilst GitHub can count on a huge audience, the kind of collaboration that works so well on other platforms does so due to the diversity of opinion those sites can count on amongst their members.  Do GitHub have such a diverse member base, or are most of them broadly similar software developer types?

No doubt the process of forking is a nice feature to offer companies, but I’m not sure that’s enough on its own to land the site a big slice of the enterprise innovation pie.

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