Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What is an Innovation Commons?

An innovation commons is a space (physical or virtual) that enables innovation through the mutual and interdependent creativity of its members. It has the following characteristics:

  • Open system (bounded)
  • Everyone contributes
  • Everyone can use the results
  • Members who don’t contribute are excluded
  • Fluid & flexible
  • An abundant resource system


Other names that people have used to describe this type of system are open source, open innovation, democratic innovation, inclusive innovation, peer to peer (P2P), smart mobs and free agent collaboration. I think that the innovation commons concept, whatever it ends up being named, is one of the most important developments in how people work together.

Some attempts at creating an innovation commons have been successful, but most have failed. Why? What are principles of a successful innovation commons?

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