Posted by: commonsresource | May 5, 2010

Eyes Wide Open Source

Last week, Chris Grams’ post entitled BusinessWeek turns an eye to open source beyond technology drew my attention to the Bloomberg Businessweek  Special Report:  Eye On: Open Source. In the words from the report’s introduction, “User-generated content, crowdsourcing and open innovation are powerful forces that have sparked a revolution across industries. This special report gauges the latest thinking in how to manage them successfully”.

While I intend to spend some time exploring each of the six articles in the report in relation to common sourcing, I would like to start by flagging the interesting ‘Intellectual Property “Airlock”‘ concept from the Thinking About Open Design article.  As the authors Roland Harwood and David Simoes-Brown of 100%Open correctly point out,

With more companies working across corporate boundaries, protecting intellectual property is becoming an ever hotter issue. Too often, IP regimes can be counterproductive, adding time and other costs into the equation and focusing participants on ownership rather than partnership.

To address this harsh reality, 100%Open, a U.K.-based open-innovation agency, worked with its clients to create the IP airlock well described below:

Essentially, this is an open-innovation competition, where companies invite ideas in response to a clearly defined brief. Brokers—whom we call “trusted agents”—represent both the customer (usually a multinational company) and the innovation community. For a specific period of time, innovators respond to the brief, knowing their ideas are safe from being co-opted by the client, with whom ideas are not shared until the end of the process. At this point, developed propositions are presented to the client, which has a fixed time period—typically three months—to decide whether to proceed. If not, innovators are free to take their propositions elsewhere.

It’s a wonderfully innovative approach to the IP challenges of open innovation and I thank 100%Open and Bloomberg Businessweek for helping to open our Eyes Wide Open Source!

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