Archive for the ‘Innovation Cartography’ Category

The Illahee Talk: opening the innovation ecology

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to speak in Portland, Oregon on my thoughts of opening the innovation ecology.   The talk was sponsored by a non-profit, Illahee.org.

The talk was introduced by Illahee’s Director, Peter Schoonmaker.   In his  blog post, Peter described his summary of my presentation.

I used the occasion to wax lyrical about the congruence of the hologenome theory of evolution with our work on creating an open and transparent innovation cartography tool.

I tried to find a common thread of ‘biological innovation’ that can guide not only the practical realities of improving health, agriculture, environment and energy, but also the formation of productive and equitable economic and social structures and tools.

The full video of this presentation is available on Vimeo:   Enabling Innovation

van Linschoten: WikiLeaks WritLarge

Linschoten

Jan Huygens van Linschoten

The world’s greatest disruptive act of  Open Access Publishing.

The Dutch are pragmatists.   If there’s a more practical, hard-nosed, outcome-oriented culture that is steeped in business and trade, it might be the Chinese.  But the Dutch are (in so many ways) giants in the history of trade and commerce.

So it may be surprising that what is arguably history’s most disruptive act of creating a ‘commons of knowledge’ that opened up global trade to competition and fair-play came from a Dutchman,   Jan Huygens van Linschoten.

van Linschoten managed in a single act of sharing – in his case the pilfered Portuguese portolans and charts – to open the world of maritime commerce up to free and open competition, stimulating an era of growth and innovation in technology – shipbuilding, sailing, logistics, cartography and navigation – and in business – insurance, investment tools, financial instruments – that changed civilization for ever.

In 1596 or thereabouts, van Linschoten published what had for over a century and a half, the state secrets of Portugal – the maritime cartography of the Indies – West and East.

The Lens I: What it’s all about

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.

The Lens

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.

 

Innovation cartography: Mapping and navigating the IP landscape


The Unknown

“As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.”
 

 
—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing, Donald Rumsfeld
 
 
These now immortal words of the neo-bard Donald Rumsfeld, though often lampooned, actually provide a helpful insight into the nature of innovation and landscapes on which it occurs.
 
Innovation, like navigating the high seas, is as much a matter of not steering a wrong course as it is steering the right one.   This is particularly so for those whose resources are limited, and where the risk of failure courts disaster.
 
In innovation thinking – itself almost an oxymoron – talking about how to make right choices and fostering sparks of creativity seems the dominant discourse.
But the realities of innovation are that most of the innovation process is grueling hard work, and the hard yakka is in avoiding stuff ups: endeavouring mightily not to ‘run aground, or crash into continents’.

So what are these continents, the reefs, the shoals and the currents that could take our ship of creative product and service delivery down to Davy Jones?

In those sectors driven by science-and technology-enabled innovation (SEI),  much of the uncertainty, the obscurity, the buried bommies are in the world of intellectual property, and most of this in the patent literature.

Curiously however – much of the excitement and opportunity of future and futuristic problem solving also lies in this same byzantine, obscure, clergy-ridden literature.

So what is it and how do we navigate it?

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