‘Open source’ what now? This wasn’t a concept I’d really come across before working at Hubbub. Perhaps I might have had I been a little more tech savvy; knowing about software and source codes, as this is what ‘open sourcing’ mostly refers to. I realised recently that Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the internet, had been a key pioneer of this idea. On 6 August 1991, he put the WorldWideWeb freely into the public domain. No licenses, no royalties, no nothing. This freely given platform has had a huge impact on the world, enabling us to be more connected and informed than ever before.

Open source is a model that gives universal access to a design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements to it by anyone. So how does this relate to a social enterprise such as Hubbub? What even would a ‘free exchange’ model look like in the context of a food waste campaign or a litter project? And why do I think it’s a model worth replicating by others?

Pumpkin Rescue was a campaign launched in Halloween 2014. It used the fact that 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins are binned each year to raise the issue of food waste. We partnered with community groups in Oxford to create a local Pumpkin Festival. The campaign allowed us to complete an extensive ‘how to’ guide which we shared with others to learn from, adapt and replicate. This year there are currently 21 #PumpkinRescue events taking place across the country, and even one in the States.

Hubbub could have decided to cling onto #PumpkinRescue as its beloved brain child, keeping a H firmly branded onto its head. In this scenario there’s no way our small team would have had the resources, energy or desire to run 21 Pumpkin Festivals! This being the case the reach of the ‘eat your pumpkin’ message and the impact it could have would be limited.

The open source model is central to Hubbub’s approach. Exactly one year ago I joined the team and sat down to read the Business plan. In it I read as one of the key aims ‘To put the greater good ahead of organisational competitiveness - the issue and the movement must be more important than the organisation’.

I remember finding the idea of ‘giving stuff away’ surprising, not what you’d necessarily expect from a fragile new start-up. In fact it sounded kind of bonkers. However the more I thought about it the more I realised it made total sense. With daunting challenges ahead such as climate change and food security, we cannot hold creative solutions to our chests. We need change at speed and scale, and what better way to achieve maximal impact than to share ideas with others.

At Hubbub we invite people to take, share, adapt and spread ideas that work. From pumpkin parties to voting ashtrays. Open sourcing isn't only for computer geeks. It is for anyone who wants to speed up the transition to a better world.