Monday, November 15, 2004

Creating 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.

Creating an Innovation Commons


  1. I just started to read your article with great interest. As I was reading I had a curious insight I would like to share with you, as you have been so willing to share your insights with me and others.

    The project I am currently passionately working on is called the DroneTone Network. I won't bore you with details, but this is a culmination project (I have been developing this concept and practice for about 35 years) of my work as a musician who focuses on the healing qualities of sound. What the DroneTone Network is is a theoretical and practical construct that involves the interconnections between all the keys (of music). Of course, any musician knows that the keys are connected, but few have bothered to base their music-making on this reality, Bach being a notable exception. At any rate, I've figured out a way to chart this connection that lets both players of music and their audiences benefit from the network that is formed when one consciously evokes the full spectrum of interconnections between all the musical keys. I am currently in the process of recording a set of albums and creating a concert series based on this DroneTone Network.

    I thought about this as I read your words, "The more that you perceive that you as an individual
    are part of an interconnected web of life, the more likely you are to act selflessly." I had not fully made that connection, so thank you very much! I knew that I LOVED to chart and play in all the keys. I knew that it has a deeply healing quality to it, on many levels... but your words have revealed a wonderfully profound way of explaining this phenomenon.

  2. I derived the following priciples from this article:

    1. Perception among participants that they share genes
    2. Threat or perception of threat to survival
    3. Participants perception that the exchange of ideas and information helps them thrive
    4. Perception that participant's ability to thrive depends upon the group's survival
    5. Trust systems are invoked that emulate tit-for-tat game theory
    6. Mechanisms for shunning exist for individuals that violate the trust of the commons or plagiarize.
    7. Mechanisms for tagging products of the mind to the originator that can stay viable through several generations.
    8. A limited planned life span or mechanisms in place to keep it viable
    9. A grand vision
    10. The possibility of synergy in a group
    11. Ideas with a high degree of fecundity
    12. A safe environment
    13. Tools and methodologies that allow participants to breakthrough their limiting ideas and indoctrination
    14. An environment where ideas can easily combine
    15. Include and foster foresight

  3. Comment on Laurel's Observation

    Principle: Consciously evoke the full spectrum of interconnections between all the participants

  4. This is great Paul. I am British and grew up around commons, where cattle and people lived in harmony, so I like the metaphor of shared territory very much. In Scotland, they have a right of the gentry called “commons riding” which is the opposite meaning by the way: for the gentry to take any cattle or sheep for their usage from farmers.