Open IT

Original graphic © Can Stock Photo / KevDraws

“How to do IT in the 21st Century”


© Copyright Two Hills Ltd 2023, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License


The basic principles that Teal Unicorn works with, the better ways of managing and working, apply anywhere within an organisation, including within Information Technology (IT). Likewise, the globally-emerging practices that we identified around these better ways, which we call Open Work and Open Management, can be applied to IT. We call that Open IT, of course.

At Teal Unicorn, we have used our version of Open Work and Open Management to make work better for many organisations, large and small: better results, better lives, better society.  The results are spectacular. We wrote 5-star books. We got on national TV. Clients make videos about us. People laugh and cry. We all have a good time. We’ve made lifelong friends. This stuff works. We are passionate about sharing it.

In 2023, we launched an initiative to bring Teal Unicorn’s successful Open concepts to the Information Technology context. We have developed a syllabus and a course to run from April to December to introduce these ideas of Open IT.  Go to that page to find out more.

In 2024, we will turn it into another book, and a course for the Open Management Academy.


Click on the “+”  to expand the headings:

About Open IT

The word ‘open’ now underpins everything we do at Teal Unicorn. We believe the words ‘agile’ and ‘agility’ are overworked, over-stretched to cover more than the words actually mean. What do we mean by ‘open’?

Open Work, Open Management, open architecture, open systems design, open source, open access, open door, open space, open communication, open discussion, open leadership, open innovation, open for business, open ended, open up, open book, open eyes, open minded, open hearted.

We must be open: open society to higher consciousness; open organisations to greater transparency and inclusion; open teams to collaboration; open individuals to self-examination, honesty, and vulnerability.

To open up to better work, we are opening up the organisation like a flower, letting light and air in, making room to move and grow, exposing the workings, inviting others in, welcoming, creating possibilities, allowing pollination, letting the value out, letting us thrive.

The key to advancing work is the manager. We must open up management to be invitational, inclusive, serving, and transparent. Better ways of managing enable better ways of working.

This is an appeal to our better selves to advance work and society to greater humanity and a better world – better ways of being.

We call Information Technology the “Epicentre” of Open, because IT has emerged as the thought leader in Human Systems Adaptability. It has taken over the baton from manufacturing. In most organisations, IT is leading the way. More and more, the wider organisation is asking IT to lead or at least provide expertise in advancing to new ways. IT has strong allies and sometimes other domains take the lead: corporate change, strategy, or personnel/HR can be sources of Human Systems Adaptability thinking.

Conversely, social change is impacting IT, as organisations embrace the new ways of thinking, which we capture in an organisational governance context as “values over value”.

We mapped this trajectory of the advances in IT thinking just like the technology advances:

When considering IT, these new ways have specific implications locally for IT (blue), and for the organisational functions IT engages with (green):


Here is our first cut of what an Open IT “manifesto” might look like

This page is under development
Watch this area grow through 2023 as we develop it using the Open IT Project


This is the opening webinar of the Open IT Project


 Liberation of the work, giving people the capacity and authority to do their jobs.  

Liberation is a better word than “empowerment”, which still implies something gifted from above and potentially rescinded.


 Adaptability of the work, continuously adjusting and improving what we do, to track the changing world and to grow our resilience to its impacts.  

Adaptability is the survival strategy for the 21st Century.

Adaptability = agility + resilience.


 Flow of the work, smoothing and accelerating the delivery of value in a sustainable way.  

Thinking about flow is possible in IT because the system is highly bounded and controlled. The simple linear models of manufacturing are a good approximation for the well-behaved Require-to-Deploy value stream.

Future vision

…is of Teal Unicorns.

About the author

The only way you can cope with any deluge of knowledge is to find a trusted curator to filter and organise for you. I hope you will see me that way and follow along. I’ve been immersing in this stuff since last millennium – learning, writing, and consulting. I’ve made small contributions to the bodies of knowledge for DevOps and ITSM:
– The Phoenix Project reviewer
– The DevOps handbook contributor
– ITIL 2011 contributor
– ITIL 4 contributor
– VeriSM lead author
and author of:
– Basic Service Management
– Standard+Case
– Owning ITIL
In recent years, I’ve worked mostly in Vietnam with Dr. Cherry Vu, branding as Teal Unicorn, helping create content to fuel her spectacular success with clients transforming their work to unlock value and joy, including:
The agile Manager (small a) book
Open Management book
The Open Management Academy

Now I’m producing Open IT.

I hope you find it useful

Rob England