Creative Commons is turning 10 – Celebrate!

December 7, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

cc_celebrationCreative Commons is turning 10 this year. The chapters of CC will be hosting parties around the world and sharing party favors online for a ten-day delebration, December 7 to 16. Spread the word at 10.creativecommons.org.

Two Wikipedians in Residence for Africa – call for application

November 12, 2012 in Freedom to learn

WikiAfrica has put out a call for two Wikipedians in Residence (WiR) for the African Continent. The first will facilitate the WikiAfrica Cameroon Project at doual’art in Cameroon. The other will be based with WikiAfrica at the Africa Centre in Cape Town, and will concentrate on assisting, training and supporting the content partners that are part of WikiAfrica’s Share Your Knowledge project. Wikipedian in Residence is an experienced Wikipedian who works with organisations and activates communities in order to share and open up cultural, arts and heritage content to the world through Wikipedia and related Wikimedia projects.

I find this a very interesting initiative and approach, and I believe that Wikipedians in Residence is a cool tool, which has already moved quite some things in North America and Europe. For more info on the call for application, check the website http://www.wikiafrica.net/two-wikipedians-in-residence-for-africa/ . Please do not contact me, Balthas, as I do not have any extra info. Cheers.

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 →

Why open innovation helps to scale up development impact – Great new article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

September 6, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

Steel Wool Sparks on the Beach

Now that is sparkling (innovation?) – Picture by: Evan Photo Extremist, licenced under CC BY-ND 2.0, source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thevlue/5813641070/sizes/z/in/photostream/

The Stanford Social Innovation Review just published an article on “Open Innovation: A Muse for Scaling” – Good chances, that this paper will become my personal “favorite article of 2012”. Why?

Well, the paper manages to explain in just two pages and in plain words, why open innovation has the potential to drastically increase the impact of development interventions. It is very prone to scale. As they sum it up: “Open innovation enables community participation, distributed accountability, and knowledge creation—all behaviors that provide the groundwork for scale”.

So let us all work on getting the five tips right in our own work, which are:
Tip 1: Turn beneficiaries into co-creators
Tip 2: Move from enterprise to ecosystem
Tip 3: Master the art of gifting
Tip 4: Spark entrepreneurship inside and outside your organization
Tip 5: Allow for mutability

Very relevant stuff indeed for development cooperation and international cooperation. For more info (on two pages), check Open Innovation: A Muse for Scaling or here on the Alumniportal: APD-copy of Open Innovation: A Muse for Scaling [This is a link to content within the Alumniportal Germany (register or login first to access the link)]. Cheers, Balthas

P.S. Thanks and Kudos to Jeremy de Beer who pointed me to the article.

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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.

‘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.

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.

African meeting on digital commons ahead: Idlelo5, The 5th African Conference on FOSS and the Digital Commons | ict@innovation

February 6, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

Only one month to go before the “5th African Conference on FOSS and the Digital Commons” will start in Abuja, Nigeria. Idlelo is a conference organized by GIZ partner FOSSFA every two years to bring together the Open Source Community in Africa to share experiences and to network.

Link: http://www.ict-innovation.fossfa.net/event/idlelo-5-5th-african-conference-open-source-and-digital-commons

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.

The global digital divide is an innovation and learning divide!

February 23, 2009 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source IT business

This article examines some of the ethical challenges and solutions related to the digital divide with a focus on how capacity building is crucial to bridge the different divides. The article is part of the volume “Internetökonomie und Ethik” (= The Economy of the Internet and Ethics) published by the renowed German editing house “Duncker & Humblot” in Berlin. In the article, Balthas Seibold postulates that from an ethical perspective, access to internet is not optional in developing countries and that four layers of Internet (physical layer, logical layer, content layer, learning layer) need to be kept open in order to allow for innovation and global digital equality (“Gütergerechtigkeit”). The article is online in German here: Publikationsseite.

Free digital knowledge!

June 15, 2006 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

logo-goettingererklaerungFree digital knowledge! claims the German Coalition for Action “Copyright for Education and Research”. These days, Germany is debating new legislation for copyright in the digital era – a proposed text passed the executive branch of government in March of this year. A nationwide coalition of research and educational organizations and personalities fights the proposal, which “would severely” harm education and science in Germany according to the coalition. In particular, access to scientific information could be more restricted and more expensive. Key criticism and proposals are online in the “Göttingen Declaration on Copyright for Education and Research” , which was signed in 2004 – also by the author of this website. The declaration can be signed here.

Building a global knowledge commons – one wikipedia entry by one

January 1, 2005 in Freedom to learn

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

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

The Internet is a knowledge agora or a knowledge commons – that has been a vision since the early days of  the web. But now, we see that some of the tools are getting mature, which are truely built by all for all for free. I am now getting more and more into wikipedia editing, such as the entry of UNESCO. Check the Entry on UNESCO – in Englisch  (see my first edit in 2004, check all my historic edits in the English Wikipedia here)  and in French or the entry on Waldbronn at the Open Directory Project.

Just published: main uses of online content by users in developing countries

January 8, 2004 in News on publications

Just published: An article by Balthas Seibold on main uses of online content by users in developing countries. The article is part of a scientific book on the quality of online communication. The German title is “Gute Seiten – schlechte Seiten. Qualität in der Onlinekommunikation”. The title of the article (which is available in German online, is “Verfügbar, verständlich und relevant – was Nutzer in Entwicklungsländern von Onlineinhalten erwarten”. You find there a checklist for quality of online content in developing countries, knowledge as a common good, intellectual property rights discussion, availability of digital content, language and multilingualism, cultural diversity and selflearn didactics. Check the article (in German) in the following download.