Knowledge sharing in the informal economy in Africa & the knowledge commons – who „owns“ knowledge? (part I)

December 12, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa

Here, I want to talk about one of the many interesting themes of the compendium „Innovation & Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa“, which was just released (see also this blog post): Knowledge sharing in the informal economy in Africa and the knowledge commons. [Both links above link to content within the Alumniportal Germany (register or login first to access the link)]

For the first time, we find here some concrete answers to two key questions, that haunts people interested in the linkage between (open) innovation, commons-approaches and „intellectual property“ (IP): Who „owns“ knowledge in informal economy contexts in Africa?

Let us look at the informal automotive sector in Uganda, as described by Dick Kawooya.

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Knowledge sharing & community-based innovation models in Africa: Which knowledge governance in the future? (part II)

December 12, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa

Source: source_knowledge_innovation_in_africa_scenarios_future / license: CC attribution share alike non-commercial

Source: source_knowledge_innovation_in_africa_scenarios_future / license: CC attribution share alike non-commercial

In part II of this blog series, I will link the current reality of knowledge sharing in Africa with appropriate knowledge governance systems for the future. For the future, the Open African Innovation Research and Training network has worked on Three Scenarios for the Future of Knowledge & Innovation in Africa.The current reality is described in the compendium „Innovation & Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa“, which was just released and in my last blog entry on „knowledge sharing in the informal economy in Africa & the knowledge commons“.

This report grapples with the complex and dynamic forces shaping innovation systems over the next two decades. It distills three different but equally plausible future scenarios: one a world of “wireless engagement,” another where “informal is the new normal,” and a third that is “sincerely Africa.” Each scenario raises different issues for control and access to knowledge in Africa.

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Just out: Practical knowledge on “Open African Innovation” and stunning examples of the knowledge commons in Africa

December 11, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, News on publications, Open Source & Africa

Openair-books-345Great start of the long-awaited conference of the Open African Innovation Research and Training Network: We just launched two really interesting compendia on “Open African Innovation” packed with practical examples of the knowledge commons in Africa – and with a tool that allows policy advisors to discuss the future of knowledge governance in Africa in three scenarios for 2035. Check the books out online (they are free knowledge of course, sharable under a cc licence) at:

http://www.openair.org.za/capetown2013

Again: congrats to the Open AIR network for pulling all of this together and pulling it off.

For live info on on the conference and the concurrent Global Congress on IP and the public interest, you might also follow #gcongress #openair13 on twitter – and this blog 🙂

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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.

Registration Open: Calling for Proposals – IP, Innovation and the Public Interest, December 2013 in Cape Town: user rights, access to medicines, enforcement, openness, traditional knowledge

July 4, 2013 in Freedom to innovate

Call for presentations and workshops

The programme is being developed through a collaborative planning process, via an open call for:

  1. presentations/papers related to five thematic tracks: (1) user rights; (2) access to medicines; (3) enforcement; (4) openness; and (5) traditional knowledge.
  2. participant-led workshops.

Proposed contributions should address one of the five thematic tracks, and should also shed light on the overarching theme: “Global questions, local answers“. What is the public interest in IP? Is it similar or different from place to place? What are the local priorities among the communities you work with? How are public interest IP research and advocacy activities connected? Which strategies are most effective for achieving positive change at the global or local level?

The deadline is 31 August 2013 for registered Congress & Conference participants to submit a proposal for a presentation/paper or workshop. The submission form is online via the Cape Town 2013 page.

Media and registration enquiries: Contact Congress & Conference Lead Coordinator Nan Warner on

Please pass this notice on to others who need to know. When tweeting about this Cape Town 2013 gathering, please use the #gcongress hashtag.

Open African Innovation Research at GIZ’s innovation lounge at re:publica in Berlin

May 28, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

republica-2013_copyright_re_publicare:publica is à priori a German blogger conference. Over the years it has however morphed into an international gathering of more than 5000 people from more than 50 countries with a common interest in the following themes: Digital business and innovation, social media, research & education in the Internet, campaigning, culture, media and ultimately, the “res publica”.

So re:publica 2013 was a good place to talk about the ‘Open African Innovation Research & Training Network’ and the upcoming ‘Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest’ and interwoven ‘Open A.I.R conference on open innovation and intellectual property’ in Cape Town from 9 to 13 December.

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Open A.I.R. Conference on Innovation and Intellectual Property in Africa & 3rd Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

May 16, 2013 in Freedom to innovate

Are you interested in open innovation & the future of intellectual property in Africa? Or copyright, creative commons, openness, innovation, and the knowledge commons? Then check this conference announcement & join the open community of “Open African Innovation Research and Training” here: http://www.openair.org.za/join

Also, feel free to spread the word about the Open A.I.R. Conference on Innovation and Intellectual Property in Africa & 3rd Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, 09. December 2013 to 13. December 2013, Cape Town, South Africa. www.openair.org.za/capetown2013

(How) can institutions deal with community-driven innovation? – EFF’ Carolina Rossini at the „Second global congress in Intellectual Property and the Public Interest“

December 17, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

Copyright of this picture: http://www.global-congress.org/?goback=.gna_4517509.gde_4517509_member_196540076

Copyright of this picture: http://www.global-congress.org/?goback=.gna_4517509.gde_4517509_member_196540076

The „second global congress in Intellectual Property and the Public Interest“ that I am attending right now, is full of interesting talks and takes on the „public interest“ side of copyright and development (for more see the extensive twitter coverage at #gcongress). But a highlight was certainly yesterday’s „session on IP, Innovation and Development“.

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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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Mobilizing Global Volunteers for Grassroots Innovations – interesting article in Digital Development Debates – 06

February 28, 2012 in Freedom to innovate

Interesting article on “Mobilizing Global Volunteers for Grassroots Innovations” in the online journal digital development debates. Also check my comment and related article on the “knowledge commons” and the “freedom to innovate“.

Link: http://www.digital-development-debates.org/06-innovation/science-technology/mobilizing-global-volunteers-for-grassroots-innovations.html

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

Freedom to innovate ! Article in D+C Journal

April 15, 2010 in Freedom to innovate, News on publications, Open Source IT business

Germany’s international Development + Cooperation Journal just published an article by Balthas Seibold, which looks at open innovation and the knowledge commons in the framework of business development in developing countries. The piece argues, that innovation is key to private sector development, so stringent protection of intellectual property rights can hamper businesses in poor countries. To close the innovation divide, it makes sense to bank on open innovation and digital knowledge commons. Read the full article online at D+C or find more information and a pdf of the print edition within the publication section of this website.

Dortmund: Balthas Seibold speaks at seminar on “Strengthening Innovation Systems in the Context of Development Cooperation”

October 8, 2009 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source IT business

Innovation: What role for ICTs and for Open approaches? This has been a guiding question for a joint talk by gtz’s Thorsten Scherf and InWEnt’s Balthas Seibold at a symposium and seminar organized in Dortmund for gtz staff and other experts on innovation systems promotion. Balthas Seibold pointed out, how we might be moving from the Digital Divide to an Innovation Divide, how ICTs and „Open Innovation“ is linked to the example of Free and Open Source Software and what role the knowledge commons may play for innovation. For an overview of the seminar’s programm, see the Agenda, for details on the input, see the presentation slides.