Since its inception twenty five years ago, Cambia has had one goal, even a passion: to ‘democratize’ science-enabled innovation.
After over twenty years of laboratory work in CambiaLabs, creating, distributing and supporting openly available biological enabling technologies to the global research community – some of which are amongst the most widely used in the field – we hung up our lab coats and put away our pipettes a few years back.
After over ten years of developing, improving and hosting the Patent Lens, a hugely popular open web resource, we’re soon to be retiring the site per se.
After almost ten years designing, launching and supporting the BIOS Initiative (Biological Innovation for Open Society, aka Biological Open Source), its new ‘open source’ licensing strategies and its online collaboration platform Bioforge, we pretty much stopped about three years ago. We turned off bioforge.net.
So we’re quitting? We’ve run out of steam? Is this the inevitable demise of the simplistic, science as social enterprise, sharing paradigm?
No bloody way, mate.
We have worked hard, contributed some and learnt much in these decades. But progress through scientific method is based on having hypotheses *disproved*, not proved. In the course of this – with careful design and with some grudging willingness be wrong – one gets closer to a truth.
So, doing all this stuff, we identified a common global, structural and systemic opportunity to change the system.
Biological Open Source won’t work without it. Bioforge didn’t work without it. The Public Sector works very poorly without it. Small enterprise desperately needs it. Big business wastes billions to get it.
The biggest inefficiency in the history of post-enlightenment civilization is now entrenched, ubiquitous and feels inevitable.
And its pretty similar to the development of clergy, with their ecclesiastical literature, liturgy and their choke hold on society for the previous millenium.
Put simply, we have to completely shift the demographics of problem solving by creating a global, open and dynamic resource for ‘innovation cartography’.
We must make it possible for virtually anyone to understand the landscapes of science, intellectual property, business, regulation and other innovation ‘intelligence’ that is necessary to make creative enterprise a possibility at all levels of society.
Creating and using credible dynamic landscapes showing the What, Who, Which, When, Where and Why of science-enabled innovation, individuals and institutions in public and private sector can envision trajectories, partnerships, strategies, risks and opportunities. We can engage untapped social, financial and intellectual capital to solve real and compelling problems.
These may be food, health, environment, energy or virtually any other productive economic activity.
It would have been unthinkably hard ten years ago. Five years ago, untenable and outrageously expensive.
Now, its manageable, affordable. And essential.
The next posts will be about the ‘how’.
But it will *start* with the world’s patents as the entry point to innovation intelligence.