Tackling global problems by pooling knowledge – highlights of the first international conference on the knowledge commons

September 14, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

Source: A. Diez Herrero | Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 siehe http://www.flickr.com/photos/21572939@N03/2090542246/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Source: A. Diez Herrero | Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 siehe http://www.flickr.com/photos/21572939@N03/2090542246/sizes/m/in/photostream/

What do the problems of climate change, global access to affordable medicine and software, food security, and crop availability for poor farmers have in common?

In all of these fields, more and more people are looking at how a collective building and owning of key knowledge can help solve protracted global problems. A global core of these people just met in a tiny Belgium university town at the at the „First International Thematic Conference on the Knowledge commons“. (for more on the term, see wikipedias Knowlegde commons entry”).

It is quite tough for me to sum up such an endeavor. I will still try and do so by picking some issues related to my own main interests, mainly „global knowledge cooperation“ and „harnessing the knowledge commons for open innovation“. I will complement that with a totally non-exhaustive and personal „list of quick links“ on how to save the climate, solve the food crisis, fight pandemics and increase food security with commons approaches.

Read the rest of this entry →

‘Peeragogy’ – towards global online peer-learning

May 30, 2012 in Freedom to learn

Howard Rheingold in 2004. Picture by: Mikegr. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Howard_Rheingold_by_Mikegr.jpg

Howard Rheingold, who coined the term ‘peeragogy’ in 2004. Picture by: Mikegr. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Howard_Rheingold_by_Mikegr.jpg

So I learned a new word this morning containing the component “peer”:  “peeragogy” comes from Howard Rheingold. He defines it “as the powerful idea of making our class into a community of co-learners”. Also called “Paragogy”, it’s a nascent theory of tech-powered peer to peer pedagogy. What I find particularly interesting in connection with my field of international development cooperation: peeragogoy is looking at synthesizing individual and organizational learning, and it’s looking at ways of radically scaling education to a global level through online networks.

So let’s see, if peeragogy has the long-term potential to outdo my current favorite: “commons-based peer production”.

More on  “peeragogy” at Howard Rheingold’s blog.

Made in my backyard – by and for the world. third day of re:publica is starting

May 4, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Asia

 

Illustration of low cost prosthesis 1. Copyright, Author: Waag Society/Arne Kuilman 2012, licensed under a cc licence: Naamsvermelding 3.0 Nederland (CC BY 3.0 NL). Source: http://waag.org/en/project/low-cost-prosthesis

Illustration of low cost prosthesis 1. Copyright, Author: Waag Society/Arne Kuilman 2012, licensed under a cc licence: Naamsvermelding 3.0 Nederland (CC BY 3.0 NL). Source: http://waag.org/en/project/low-cost-prosthesis

Bas van Abel, head of the design lab at waag society, Netherlands had a great session where he spoke about empowering people and fixing our economy by moving to open peer-to-peer production communities. He gave examples of concrete work with miners in Congo, and prosthesis-makers in Indonesia.

Bas starts with a quote from Oscar Wild: “People know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” He then gets to the argument, that social values are interlinked with economical values: Baas asks us to look at building a relational system, with the core needs of openness and transparency. “We need transparent products, where we know how they were made, and if they were made under fair conditions.”

This may mean to roll back some economic beliefs like division of labour and ‘the invisible hand of a self-regulating markets’. Baas gives the example of mineral extraction in Eastern Congo for cell phone raw materials. See e.g. the documentary ‘blood in the mobile‘.

Read the rest of this entry →

India, the (knowledge) commons and a plan for the future of democracy

April 25, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Asia

copyright: wikipedia, licensed under a creative commons share alike license, see www.wikipedia.org

An example of a self-goverened commons: Wikipedia. Copyright: wikipedia, licensed under a creative commons share alike license, see www.wikipedia.org

It is rare these days to see high-level government thinkers talk about the commons. Here is one: Arun Maira of Indias Planning Commission makes the point that commons-based models are important tools to plan for the future of democracy worldwide.

Here is the summary: “The world is full of complex problems, but humanity’s main organizational tools — governments and markets — leave much to be desired. Arun Maira, a member of India’s Planning Commission and previously the chairman of Boston Consulting Group in India, points to a third way.”

Statue of Gandhij in  Baroda, now called Vadodara, India / Picture by Brian Glanz / Licenced under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) / Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brianglanz/2767070246/

Statue of Gandhij in Baroda, now called Vadodara, Ghandi, in my view, was one of the inventors of the “commons” for a common good.  / Picture by Brian Glanz / Licenced under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) / Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brianglanz/2767070246/

I like his focus on “Four L’s” — localization, lateralization, learning and listening, and of course his praise of Ostrom. My only criticism is, that the piece is not dwelling enough on the issue of “knowledge as a commons”, but that may be the next topic of the Indian planning commission …

And here’s the full piece.

____
Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

Second edition of compendium on Social Media by German Researcher Michelis

February 29, 2012 in Freedom to innovate

Two days ago, I met Prof. Michelis, who just published the second edition of this “Social Media Handbuch” (in German). Interesting book, with some good summaries on forward-looking issues such as “Commons-based peer production”, “Wisdom of the crowd” etc.

Link to Book promotion – in German: http://www.nomos-shop.de/Michelis-Schildhauer-Social-Media-Handbuch/productview.aspx?product=14264

Indonesian Minister supports training camp of BMZ/InWEnt/UNDP

January 31, 2007 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Asia, Open Source IT business

asia source 2Over 140 IT professionals of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from more than 27 countries gathered at Sukabumi, Indonesia for a nine-day Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) conference and training camp called “ASIA SOURCE II” from 22 to 30 January 2007. The Indonesian Minister for Research and Technology, Mr. Kusmayanto Kadiman showed his support to the initiative by visiting the camp in West Java two times. He emphasized the social and economic benefits and impacts of FOSS to the NGO and SME sectors and introduced the participants to “Indonesia, Go Open Source” (IGOS), an initiative of the Indonesian government which promotes the adoption of FOSS. Read more about his points and about Balthas Seibold’s speech on the conference website. Balthas has been involved in Asia Source II as co-organizer and member of the advisory group – the event is part of the regoinal programm it@foss. Personal views on the training event can be found on the blog of Asia Source II, which has also a report on “Balthas The Illusionist”.