Perhaps you have heard the term open-source. Maybe you heard about it within the context of software and technology as the open-source movement originated within the software development community as a means to encourage innovation and knowledge sharing. As such, the open-source concept is best-known within the technological paradigm. However, the essence of open-source can be applicable across practically all fields and sectors.
At the most basic level, open-source means that a technology or process is made freely available for modification and redistribution. It is common practice for one or more individuals or groups to work together to develop and refine the technology. Such distribution and organizational structures are in contrast to presently common economic models where a single entity works to create a product or process and retains exclusive ownership of the output (although the right to use the product or process can be sold).
The characteristic of allowing participants to edit and change open-source products is also contrary to conventional production practices. In a sense, this suggests that open-source products belong not to one single entity or person but to the wider community that has contributed to the realization of that product. This organizational structure contrasts common economic standards where property rights are clearly defined (which helps to clarify the principal-agent dilemma).