Since our earliest days, Red Hat has had a company culture rooted in open source principles, which creates part of our strategic competitive advantage. Yet the choice to be open is not always an easy one to make, let alone explain.

As we approached our 25 year anniversary, we decided to set out on a journey to articulate a simple answer to some complex questions:

Why does Red Hat exist? Why do we work in the unique ways that we do? What deeply-held belief has long guided our decisions and should do so for the coming decades, as well?

When we look ahead to the next 25 years, we recognize that our commitment to being the open source leader means that we must attract people who will help us sustain and scale a culture that’s centered on transparency, sharing and collaboration.

Beginning in March 2017, we engaged every Red Hat associate--now more than 11,000 strong--and asked them to tell us stories about a moment when they felt proud to be a Red Hatter. We wanted to understand, on a deeply personal level, where our associates found meaning and purpose in their work.

More than twenty percent of Red Hat associates sent in a story, on every topic imaginable, from how openness aided technological innovation, enabled collaboration with customers or even helped Red Hatters support each other in times of need.

One simple, powerful belief was embedded in nearly every story from our associates all across the world:

Open unlocks the world’s potential.

We heard examples of open unlocking people’s potential to share knowledge and build upon each other’s discoveries. We saw examples of how open unlocks the potential to solve complex problems, by bringing passionate people together to collaborate. Red Hat associates shared stories about how open unlocks the potential to create communities where everyone is fully supported to use their voices and talents to contribute.

It took a few rounds of passionate, company-wide discussion and feedback to get the words right, but ultimately, Red Hatters’ stories showed us that our company’s purpose has always and will always center on the myriad of ways that open contributes to a better world.

Twenty-five years ago, we saw how open source development and licensing unlocked the potential to create better software for our customers. Since then, we’ve seen the same open principles unlock the world’s potential to improve all sorts of things, from hardware to education to civic engagement to leadership. Twenty-five years from now, we believe that Red Hat will continue to advance the power of open to unlock the world’s potential.

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