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.

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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.

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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.

Call for papers–Knowledge Commons Conference in Belgium next September

January 16, 2012 in Freedom to innovate

FYI – Interesting upcoming event on the knowledge commons: “1ST THEMATIC CONFERENCE ON THE KNOWLEDGE COMMONS” -governing Pooled Knowledge Resources: Building Institutions for Sustainable Scientific, Cultural and Genetic Resource Commons. The call for papers is still open until 31. January 2012 … CONFERENCE TRACKS
. Track 1 on “Scientific Research and Innovation Commons” . Track 2 on “Digital Information Commons” . Track 3 on “Historical experience of the knowledge commons” . Track 4 on “Genetic Resource Commons” . Track 5 on “Cultural Commons” . Cross-cutting conference track 6 on climate change

Link: biogov.uclouvain.be