I think there are three forms of transparency: forced, active and passive. The first, forced transparency, is well know because of cases like Enron and Wikileaks. Legislatorsand society force organizations to be open about the way they operate. Organizations are forced to be accountable and more importantly to do the right thing. In to many cases organizations were doing wrong and nobody could see until it was to late. People have lost their lifesavings or a in dept for the rest of their lives no matter how hard they work because of the lack of transparency by some organizations.
The second form is active transparency were companies open up to supplies and customers to directly create value. Logistics companies offer a permanent view on their process to track and trace deliveries. Car manufacturers offer their customers the possibility to change features of a car while it is build. A parts manufacturer has direct access into inventory levels of their customer to know how much and when they need to ship new parts. An insurance agent can get quotes from insurance companies in realtime to advise their clients better.
The third form of transparency is passive. An organizations can only create value indirect with this form and does not play an active role. Consumers around the globe are rating all sorts of products and services on the internet. They rate the quality of a medical doctor or a book, they rate a company or a movie. If there is no platform (ie a comparison site or a forum) to do so, it is very easy to create one or just go to Facebook. These ratings are made whether an organization likes it or not. Potential customers make choices based on these ratings. Not the organization itself is transparant but the perceived environment of the organization.
What do you think?