Wikinomics and the Era of Openness: European Innovation at the Crossroads

Category: Business & Economics | Environment & Sustainability | Health, Science & Education | NGOs & Government
Published on Mar 10, 2010

For the past couple of months I have been working with the wonderful folks at the Lisbon Council in Brussels to prepare a report that examines the economic challenges facing Europe — and the innovative solutions that many entrepreneurs, businesses, governments and citizens are devising to succeed in networked world. The report was launched last week in Brussels at an event that also featured Europe’s new innovation commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

You can see video highlights below and download the full report here.

Among the study’s key findings:

  • Not all innovation occurs in laboratories; simply raising R&D spending (though important) is not enough to make Europe a global innovation leader. A new paradigm — openness — is replacing the old closed innovation systems, based on rigid protection of patents and other IP laws. The strength of openness is that it brings the intellectual and creative capacities of more and more people to bear on complex problems and problem solving.
  • Web 2.0 and mass collaboration will reshape the nature of education, science and government. And, they could provide solutions to complex problems ranging from climate change to energy security
  • Wherever possible, companies, countries and individuals should embrace open standards as a way of encouraging innovation. This goes beyond software to key platforms for innovation such as the human genome and the energy grid. For example, an “open source” energy grid could introduce new innovation to an outmoded sector and bring greater consumer awareness and a sense of community to making ordinary household and business decisions that reduce carbon footprints.
  • Notions of intellectual property are changing and will change even more. Clever companies will manage their intellectual property like mutual funds — with some IP highly protected and other IP shared with the world free of charge
  • Europe is uniquely placed to thrive in this new era of “open” innovation; research excellence and cultural diversity are huge assets, so long as countries look beyond national borders and draw more knowledge from global and intra-national innovation webs
  • Europe should require 80% of all publicly funded research to be available in open source journals after a short, six-month embargo under the Eighth Framework Programme, which is due to be adopted in 2014. Contrary to some claims, this step would open scientific knowledge up to greater scrutiny, wider distribution and better commercial and social applications.
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I agree with every word.
Now, how is everything to be put into effect in an environment:

where transparency in government is not acceptable because all these innovative features are going to ruin the game;
Where buttressing influences such as mainstream media are going to suddenly find themselves without a product;
Where reductionist thought structures still hold sway so the wholistic viewpoint is simply incomprehensible?
And etc., and etc.

Am I being negative?
No, just realistic.
I’ve been battling for this kind of environment all my life.
You just get written off as a sacrifice to the God of the status quo.
You mention Plato.
‘Democracy breeds complacency and therein lies its downfall.’
I can’t wait.

posted by David Crosswell on 01.17.11 at 7:00 am

[…] of Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World, has presented the Lisbon Council with a paper urging them to embrace greater […]

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