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Open Knowledge is not something that is taught in schools, and Open Source is an afterthought for companies. So how can we inspire the next generation, and the organisations of the future to be open? Open Summer of Code does just that. Osoc is a 4-week summer programme in July, that provices Belgian based students the training, network and support necessary to discover the possibilities and impact of Open Innovation projects.
You have no idea how happy we are, that
every single one of you is here.
We’re happy you want to be part of this
community — and that you’re building it
together, to what it is today.
Thank you for that.
We were wondering though — why are you
here? Why are you part of the open
We are here because, we think, the open
community is something else. It’s something
unlike any other community we’ve come
There’s so many motivated, talented people
here, all creating something bigger than
themselves. It’s inspirational to say the least.
But how did you get in the open community?
This is a very interesting question to us,
because have noticed a lot of people get here
by “accident”. Some people get here by
surﬁng the internet, via a friend or colleague,
or by building something and sharing it with
There are not a lot of people that get the
opportunity to participate in this community
via school or via their job. At open summer of
code, we want to change that.
We, Michiel Leyman and Miet Claes, got in to
the open community via Open summer of
code. This is a picture of 2012, the ﬁrst time
Miet participated Open summer of code
(back then it was still called iRail Summer of
We have to admit, we had no clue what open
was before we entered Osoc.
But after those 4 weeks, we realised it was
more than just a cool summer job. We found
are people, and we realised we wanted to
remain part of the open community.
Miet is going to coach Osoc for the 6th time,
and Michiel decided to work for the Open
Knowledge Foundation full-time.
This is a picture of 2018. Osoc keeps on
growing, and we’re ﬁnding more and more
people that want be part of the open
My second time oSoc felt like coming
home. Meeting people from last year,
connecting with new interesting
people. It's exciting to see how
diverse oSoc is.
Open Summer of Code is
one month of open innovation
in which students create
real world projects
with the help of coaches for
When you’re looking for a summer job as a
student, you’re already quite happy to earn
some money along the way.
Doing something in line of your studies is not
common at all, and you consider yourself
lucky if you get a job like that.
But creating something valuable along the
way, being able to contribute to something —
now that’s something special. This, to us, was
the perfect summer job. And a wonderful
introduction to the open community as well.
To get a glimpse of the projects we
have been working on, surf to
We have a wide variety of projects we
work on, from health to transport to
Any project goes, as long as it’s open
in the end.
A 4-week hackathon
lets you actually ship
it’s not just good for
Many of them do it to give back, others do it to network,
and some do it to ﬁnd hiring prospects.
On the one hand organisations get access to fresh ideas
from young and ambitious students, on the other they
have access to the expertise of many experienced coaches.
It’s the perfect way to ﬁnally get started on that cool idea
or project you had, and really build something.
should be open
— ANONYMOUS GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE
Some organisations even see Osoc as an entrance to the
open community we've been talking about.
Michiel was in a meeting with about 6 people from an
organisation, half explaining open summer of code, half
brainstorming about possible projects they could bring to
When Michiel clariﬁed the "open" part of Open Summer
of Code, you could see them make a click, one by one. The
ideas shifted from "fun projects" to "embracing and joining
a community". They were hooked on the open part, not
the code part.
Miet will be coaching at Open summer of code for the
sixth time in 2019. It’s the most chaotic 4 weeks of the
year, but she looks forward to it every time.
You might wonder why you would voluntarily torture
yourself every year.
Miet says it’s worth it, as a personal investment, and as
an investment for her career:
I’m working on a linked open data project for the
Flemish government right now called LBLOD — and I
wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for Osoc. I got the
opportunity to make the combination of graphic
design and the open community my super power.
On a personal level, it’s also the most rewarding month
of the year. I learn so much from the students, partners
and other coaches — my skills grow every time and I
make new friends each time. My brain gets a big reset,
and a fresh breath of air runs through my career,
because these four weeks ﬁll me with inspiration. It’s
worth being exhausted in August (and nobody really
works in August anyways).
Having to guide others
helps me make sense of
how I do things myself.
Frederik Vincx has been a wonderful addition to the
coaching team since a couple of years. He shares why
he likes being part of Osoc:
I like to share my 20-year obsession with making digital
experiences with youngsters.
Having to guide others helps me make sense of how I
do things myself.
It’s rewarding to see students pick up skills and
attitudes. I love to see them grow and do well. Also
And it makes me proud if they can make something
useful at the end of the oSoc ride, partially thanks to
Also, oSoc takes me out of my daily work. There’s this big
exiting deadline. There’s a ton of energy from all the
students and coaches. And in this setting it doesn’t have
to be perfect. We can fail. We can experiment and have
fun. That makes it a great break from my real work. One
month is a good time to make something new. Not too
short, not too long.
It’s rewarding to see I could
actually help the students,
and see them grow by my
Rutger is a new coach since last year, and he plans on
being part of it again. Here’s why:
I loved exploring new tech, together with the students,
and learning more about it.
Getting to know all these talented students motivated
me as well. It’s a wonderful network to be in.
It was a wonderful experience to see I could actually
help the students in a good way, and to see how much
they learn in such a short amount of time.
I love bringing a project
to life in collaboration
with a group of people,
that have different
Not only did we grow tremendously in 2018, we also
had a ﬁrst edition in Madrid!
By 2020, we want to make sure anyone in the world
can start their own Open summer of code.
But in order to get there, we need to do better.