Monday, October 18, 2004

An Innovation Commons

To make the next step in our organizations and societies, we need to develop cooperation within ever widening systems. And, if we are ever to develop "innovation commons", we must master cooperation and trust. An "innovation commons", calling on the old idea of a common pasture for a town where all the residents could graze their animals, is a place where ideas can exist, like the early molecules in the primeval sea, free to combine and reproduce to create even more complex ideas. A place where the stability of the complex ideas can be tested and their survival gauged. "Innovation commons" will be required to foster the trans-disciplinary innovation necessary for the merging of information, biological and nanometric technologies on our horizon. "Innovation commons" are needed now to handle the sociopolitical, economic and demographic problems we face amidst growing partisanship and yes, even hatreds. And, we must assure that we don’t fall prey to the "failure of the commons" where an individual or entity exploits the commons to the detriment of all others, and eventually themselves.

An article describing some of the principles of an innovation "commons" is available now in the current edition of The Innovation Road Map Magazine. These principles are based on recent findings about our social behavior. You can obtain a copy of the article by subscribing to the magazine ($29.95 per year) or by purchasing the individual article ($4.95 ). Or, if you are interested in participating in some online dialogue about the concept, you can get it for free by sending me an e-mail requesting the article and agreeing to participate in the discussions.

Paul Schumann