How to make money the open-source-way, but keep the commons alive? – Question 7 of 10 on ‚learning by sharing’

March 16, 2015 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

Open innovation – often based on open licensing and commons-approaches – is changing the business models of more and more businesses and social institutions. Before the advent of open innovation, innovation was kept within the boundaries of the firm (or research institution). In contrast, “Open innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to markets, as the firms look to advance their technology”, scholar Henry Chesbrough, who coined the term open innovation, has put it. But what opportunities does this imply for institutions in developing countries? What are their learning opportunities?

Source and Copyright: https://10innovations.alumniportal.com (GIZ)

Source and Copyright: https://10innovations.alumniportal.com (GIZ)

Let’s take a look again at the global tech sector as a starting point (for more details, see Seibold 2010a). Here, the most prominent example of free and open source software development and licensing are the operating system Linux, the office suite Open Office and the web browser Firefox. Linux has shown that open-source programs can be very competitive. The reason is obvious: more people know the source code and, accordingly, can correct flaws and make other improvements.

For the private sector in developing countries, such knowledge commons provide a clear opportunity, not only for low-cost access to global state-of-the-art knowledge, technology transfer, and open peer-learning on a massive scale (see Seibold 2009, Seibold 2010a, Seibold 2010b; UNCTAD 2012: 9ff), but also because they have the potential to empower local businesses and communities in developing countries. This creates truly local open innovation by appropriating elements of outside open innovations and transforming them into a product or service that is relevant to local needs.

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The future of economies and business – what’s in it for partner countries and networking among partners & alumni?

August 22, 2012 in Freedom to innovate

 

Copyright: GIZ (I think/hope, if not let me know ...)

Copyright: GIZ (I think/hope, if not let me know …)

Today, I am reporting to you from a GIZ topical conference, where we discussed „the future of economies and business“. We had here lot’s of experts and numerous programmes on sustainable private sector development and economic policy of GIZ from over 30 countries.

Here’s my personal summary of the event for you in four headlines:

1)    Economic crisis in Europe – but don’t you worry in Africa, Asia and Latin America
The experts tell us that we are in trouble in Europe. But: according to them this issue will not affect the economies of developing countries and transition countries.
My comment: let’s hope they are right this time 🙂

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Johannesburg: Balthas Seibold opens first regional course on Business and Open Source in South Africa

July 14, 2009 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

zen_ict_new_logoHow can Southern African IT-businesses make money with Free and Open Source Software? – this one of the questions discussed at the regional course on “Advanced African Business Models with Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)“. The two-week event started on July 13 at University of Witwatersrand, (Wits) in Johannesburg and is the first in a series of training-of-trainer (ToT) events in Southern and East Africa related to the programme “ict@innovation – – Creating Business and Learning Opportunities with Free and Open Source Software in Africa”. More on the course is online at the ict@innovation website, more on the programme, FOSS and Balthas’ work in Africa is in the section InWEnt: Africa & Open Source.

Education for a free information society! Balthas Seibold on panel on “Free software & business models for IT companies”

August 17, 2008 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

SELF_logoHow can sustainable business models in Free Software grow local IT companies in Africa and worldwide? This was one of the main topics of an international panel discussion at the international conference “Free Knowledge Free Technology – Education for a free information society ” held in Barcelona, Spain from July 15 to July 17 2008. Balthas Seibold spoke about Sustainability in Development Cooperation and FOSS, emerging FOSS business models in Africa, Strategies for FOSS Market Segments as well as the future of FOSS Business Models in developing countries. During an intensive three day period, participants from the Philippines, Mexico, Tanzania, Germany, USA, and many other countries around the world, not excluding Spain itself, gathered around the Free Knowledge, Free Technology conference in Barcelona. The conference, organised by the SELF Project, focused on the production and sharing of free educational and training materials about the concept of Free Software. More information: Article on the conference / presentation of Balthas Seibold at the panel discussion on “Free software and business models for IT companies” / website of the conference SELF and the panel.

New compilation of training material on Open Source Business Models for Development online

August 4, 2008 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source & Asia, Open Source IT business

The it@inwent team recently added a new section to their website. This sites provides an overview of InWEnt’s main capacity building programmes and trainings in the area of “FOSS Business Models and Sustainable Development” as well as its respective training materials. Co-Editor Balthas Seibold explains that “business models based on FOSS offer great potential for developing and transition countries as well, as the development and distribution of FOSS follows the principles of ownership, local value addition, empowerment and participation. Thereby, FOSS provides ample opportunities for the development of a local ICT economy, creation and transfer of ICT knowledge, legal use of software and access of poorer communities to ICTs.” The compilation is online at the it@inwent website. (Update: Link now goes to the site archived by the Internet Archive – last version of 2012).

Over 40 IT-companies cross FOSS Bridge between Europe and Vietnam

November 19, 2007 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Asia

FOSS Bridge logoHanoi: A total of 42 agreements of cooperation were reached between Vietnamese and European business partners at the end of the first matchmaking event of the project “FOSS Bridge EU-Vietnam” for small and medium-sized IT enterprises in Hanoi, Vietnam. Satisfied by the success of the very first twinning event in the field of open source, the consortium is committed to bringing FOSS partners from Europe and Vietnam further together. Mr. Balthas Seibold, Senior Project Manager of InWEnt Capacity Building International, Germany comments: “I am amazed by the results of this workshop. Many companies actually signed multiple agreements, and large companies like Bull, MySQL, OTRS of Europe and CMC Soft, Vietsoftware of Vietnam are on board of FOSS Bridge.” Full press release / Programme and Presentations of the workshop (Update: Link is now to latest version of the site on the Internet Archive – dated December 2007).

Information Technology in African Business

October 19, 2005 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

it@abThe SADC-wide network “it@ab – Information Technology in African Business” recently held a two days International Conference in Lusaka, Zambia on “Smooth integration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) into existing software environments”. The SADC region was challenged to adopt FOSS as a viable route towards affordable ICTs and business development at the local level. The event was supported by the German development organization InWEnt, Capacity Building International, Germany and ran from the 18th to the 19th of October 2005. In his introductory remarks, Mr Balthas Seibold, the InWEnt Senior Project Manager for the it@ab project said the aim of the conference was in line with the UN Millennium Development Goal number 8 that emphasized partnership, progress and participation. For more information on the conference, see press release on the it@ab website (now in the Internet Archive).