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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Where to find free knowledge for open innovation in development? – Question 6 of 10 on ‚learning by sharing’

January 11, 2015 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

Compendium of hubs for commons-based peer production 4Dev (screenshot)In previous blog entries, I talked a lot about commons-based peer production and learning in areas crucial to development cooperation such as Energy, Health, Education etc. A key question then is where to find such “free knowledge” for open innovation and for peer-production in the different sectors of human development?

I have collected an annotated compendium of hubs for commons-based peer production that are of particular interest for sustainable human development. These hubs include energypedia, appropedia, opensourceecology, Howtopedia, knowable, and Fabwiki. The compendium is complemented by links to comprehensive directories.

Please note, that I have included mainly hubs with a focus on “production”, on “peer-driven production” and on “commons-based initiatives” for human development. All those chosen focus on open learning and practical improvement on a community-level; nevertheless, many of them have a global reach.

Many of the platforms have deliberately chosen open models and ‘open source’ licenses that enable “commons-based peer production” as envisioned by Yochai Benkler. Why? Because they feel, that ‘open source’ licensing can best spur open learning, invention, and innovation processes that come with it.

 So here is my compendium of hubs for commons-based peer production for sustainable human development.

>>> Do you know more such hubs? Please let me know.

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Peer-producing knowledge: a game-changer for development cooperation? – Question 5 of 10 on ‚learning by sharing’

November 22, 2014 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

Some critics argue that commons-based peer production and learning only apply in the digital, non-real world (“building websites”, “building online training material”). The concept, they say, is therefore less of interest to international and development cooperation, which focuses on non-digital environments and “hard” topics such as health, energy or agriculture.

Jaime from Bolivia and John from Rwanda are not in the business of building websites. They are in the business of building tube digesters to support local biogas production in rural Bolivia and in rural Rwanda. They live 6,515 miles apart, but they both use the same manual to build the tank. It is one of 822 open online articles packed with practical production know-ledge on the knowledge commons platform energypedia. The platform’s vision is “a world of free knowledge exchange and mutual learning on renewable energies in which everyone has access to sustainable energy sources.”

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What makes learning communities self-governed & fun? – Question 4 of 10 on ‚learning by sharing’

October 1, 2014 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

Frank Ilugulilwa - IT Trainer in Tanzania / Copyright:  Frank Ilugulilwa

Frank Ilugulilwa – IT Trainer in Tanzania / Copyright: Frank Ilugulilwa

Frank Tilugulilwa is an IT trainer in Tanzania. He teaches local IT companies how to build services and revenues around so-called “Free and Open Source Software”. Such software can be copied and modified by every company and every individual client. Frank has written a training manual with over 80 other IT trainers and experts throughout Africa (and from elsewhere in the world) in an example of a community-generated learning content. His experience with commons-based peer production started back in 2008 when almost no training materials rooted in an African context were available.

Frank and other African IT and business experts developed over 250 pages of practical, open-licensed, modular training material. This has also resulted in a vibrant community of trainers who have a strong sense of ownership of their subjects and who know and trust each other. They are sharing their knowledge amongst themselves and their trainees, local IT companies across the continent. Again, we see the power of peer-to-peer learning centered around a knowledge commons: the process began as a capacity building program called ict@innovation launched by German development agency GIZ. The project aimed at creating business and learning opportunities with free and open source software in Africa. Now it is a community of more than 1,200 co-learners, co-producers and businesses (UNCTAD 2012: 65f).

This example can serve as a starting point to provide good practice measures on how initiatives can structure learning around peer-production processes.

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How to build learning communities, that work peer-to-peer? – Question 3 of 10 on ‚learning by sharing’

September 22, 2014 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

In the field of online sharing and learning, the “Massive Open Online Course” (“MOOC”) has received a lot of attention. Many are enthusiastic about what elite universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Harvard are piloting. The two schools have offered joint online courses that have attracted well over 100,000 students. Much is also written about the start-up ventures Udacity and Coursera, which managed to enroll over two million students in just one year. These ventures provide a forum to some of the world’s best professors to host their lectures online. The students are then encouraged to participate through online forums that helpbuild a joint learning

Source and copyright: CC WORLDBANK PHOTO COLLECTION goo.gl/g25U8y

Source and copyright: CC WORLDBANK PHOTO COLLECTION goo.gl/g25U8y

community. They typically do not offer academic credit aside from, in some cases, a statement of completion. But they also do not charge tuition. There are estimates that only about ten percent of students who sign up for courses actually follow them until the end 1. And it still remains to be seen whether mass distribution of centralized online lectures will ultimately be incorporated into the formal educational system or whether they are just briefly hyped by universities and venture capitalists searching for new revenue sources and recognition.This article will, therefore, go beyond the MOOC.

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  1. See article by Tamar Lewin (2013, January 1): “Students Rush to Web Classes, but Profits May Be Much Later”, New York Times

What makes people share knowledge? – Question 2 of 10 on ‚learning by sharing’

September 6, 2014 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

Blink And You’ll Miss It! / Pete / CC BY / Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/comedynose/4058757916/

Blink And You’ll Miss It! / Pete / CC BY / Source: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/comedynose/4058757916/

Why do peers help peers to share and co-produce knowledge? Research suggests that there is a whole set of motivations that makes people share their knowledge, a mixture between altruistic and self-serving motives summed up in the following table:

14 Reasons Why Peers Help Peers to Learn: Why Do They Share Their Knowledge? (Table 1)

  1. Because you learn yourself through co-production and tutoring
  2. Because you win recognition and prestige from your peers
  3. Because you might further your own interests through the co-production of knowledge, such as testing new solutions, benchmarking, mastering a technology, etc.
  4. Because you can solve a problem that you can only solve by collaborating with others
  5. Because you might gain power of persuasion within your organisation, network, or peer group
  6. Because you are proud to co-own a tangible “product”
  7. Because you have the freedom to co-create knowledge or goods, which increases autonomy and self-direction, and thereby motivation
  8. Because you build emotional bonds with people and things
  9. Because you feel “meaningful” by supporting the community, giving back through reciprocity (putting values such as fairness, solidarity, and altruism into practice)
  10. Because you know that the result of your commons-based peer activities will be available to others over time, and cannot be monopolized or privatized
  11. Because you feel good being associated with a trendy and innovative community
  12. Because you get continued access to knowledge, news and services
  13. Because you enlarge your personal and professional networks
  14. Because you can freely choose topics according to your interests

Sources for table above: GTZ 2006: 43; Wenger et al. 2011; Preece/Shneiderman 2009; Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. 2011: 125ff; Ghosh et al. 2002: 43-50; own considerations; Pyne 2010 1

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This blog is part of a series of 10 questions that I have extracted of my article “Learning by Sharing  – „How global communities cultivate skills and capacity through peer-production of knowledge“. The piece has been released in June  as part of the GIZ Online- Series „10 trends in open innovation. How to leverage social media for new forms of cooperation“. Check it at http://www.knowledge-commons.de/en/learning-by-sharing/

Further readings on the question? Here.

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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.

  1. Pyne, Becca; Stephenson, Abi; Cognitive Media (2010) “The surprising truth about what motivates us” (2010, April 1), RSA Animate – Drive, Retrieved June 27, 2013

What is commons-based peer learning? – Question 1 of 10 on ‚learning by sharing’

September 2, 2014 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

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

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

The Internet and with it the rise of social networks have enabled a radically innovative way of producing knowledge-related goods. Software can now be jointly written by thousands of developers as the operating system ‘Linux’ shows. The encyclopedia Wikipedia is updated by roughly 1.7 million contributors worldwide. Law professor Yochai Benkler has coined the term “commons-based peer-production” to describe this development. He has defined some of the characteristics intrinsic to this phenomenon.

Commons-based peer-production is “radically decentralized, collaborative and nonproprietary, based on sharing resources and outputs among widely distributed, loosely connected individuals who cooperate with each other without relying on either marked signals or managerial commands”, he wrote in his 2006 book “The Wealth of Networks” (Benkler 2006:60).

A Wikipedia article is an organic text produced by hundreds of ‘peers’. This free text is not controlled by one formal editor-in-chief, but is, instead, a unifying construct. The document might be conceptualized by a student in Germany, revised by a farmer in Bolivia, and fine-tuned by a professor in South Africa. The article is ruled by a commons-based license. This means that the end product of this co-production is, in turn, available to readers and additional editors through an open license, ensuring that all future versions can be shared, traced back to the author and further improved.

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This blog is part of a series of 10 questions that I have extracted of my article “Learning by Sharing  – „How global communities cultivate skills and capacity through peer-production of knowledge“. The piece has been released in June  as part of the GIZ Online- Series „10 trends in open innovation. How to leverage social media for new forms of cooperation“. Check it at http://www.knowledge-commons.de/en/learning-by-sharing/

Further readings on the question? Here.

____
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.

Let’s talk about “Learning by Sharing”

July 2, 2014 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, News on publications, Open Source & Africa

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

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

Today, I invite you to join the conversation on an article, which I just published on the issue of “Learning by sharing – how global communities cultivate skills and capacity through peer-production of knowledge“. I posit in this paper, that commons-based peer learning offers a trigger to enhance skills, competencies, connections, capacities, and the agency of people and their organisations on a global scale – from the global peer-to-peer university to a worldwide expert  community of biogas digesters producers. It provides the freedom to learn – by sharing the world’s wealth of knowledge.

What do you think? Do you know additional examples of global -based peer production for human development?  What are your thoughts on how to link sustainable human development to solutions that scale, empower, benefit, and increase ownership? Is peer-to-peer learning a potential game changer?

I cordially invite you to read the article and to join the conversation by posting your comment below the piece.

If you are part of the TLDR-community (Too long didn’t read …): Don’t worry, I will release selected subtopics of “learning by sharing” over the coming weeks here on www.knowledge-commons.de Stay tuned: You can subscribe the rss feeds of new posts or follow me on twitter.

The School of open just opened: Learn open practices, discuss Open Educational Resources, Open Access and more

March 18, 2013 in Freedom to learn

News on an open course on openness by our friends from p2pu. Reproduced below:

Why “open”? Universal access to and participation in research, education, and culture is made possible by openness, but not enough people know what it means or how to take advantage of it. We hear about Open Source Software, Open Educational Resources, and Open Access… But what are these movements, who are their communities, and how do they work? Most importantly—how can they help me? A collaboration with the public. Courses are powered by mentors and learners like you. Whether you are an individual volunteer or organizational representative, we invite you to create or improve a course! The School of Open is coordinated by P2PU and Creative Commons, a globally focused nonprofit dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Learning about “open”. The School of Open offers courses on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and beyond. We offer two types of courses: •Stand-alone courses that can be worked through at your own pace at any time, with or without others •Facilitated courses that run for a set period of weeks with an organizer that provides feedback and facilitates discussion Get involved. •Sign up for announcements. We just launched our first set of courses. Sign up to be notified of future launches. •Join the discussion. Help us build the School! Conceive, create, and test courses with your peers. •Learn more. Give feedback on core documents, attend an upcoming workshop, participate in our monthly working calls, and more.

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Facilitated courses Sign up for these facilitated courses through Sunday, March 17. These courses will start the week of March 18. To sign up, simply click the “Start Course” button under the course’s menu navigation on the left. 1.Copyright 4 Educators (US) 2.Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) 3.Creative Commons for K-12 Educators 4.Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond

Link to news on p2pu.org

Learning Creative Learning – interesting new open online course by peer-to-peer university and the MIT Media Lab

February 4, 2013 in Freedom to learn

The Peer-to-peer university (p2pu) has worked with GIZ’s Academy for international Cooperation (AIZ, where I work) last year on “Selbstlernen”. Now p2pu and the MIT Media Lab are experimenting with a new course approach on “Learning Creative Learning“. It’s being organized as a massive open online course, meaning everyone is invited to join. The organizers have asked to “tell your friends about it”. Which is what I do with pleasure, copying below the course announcement by p2pu. Cheers, Balthas Seibold

“Learning Creative Learning is an online course for designers, developers and educators. Offered by the MIT Media Lab & yours truly, the folks at P2PU. It’s based on a course Mitch Resnick teaches at the Media Lab. And now it’s online for the first-time through a collaboration with P2PU. That’s pretty cool. You learn a whole lot about learning. And because learning (and learning about learning) is more fun with other people we’ll group you with other students, so you can share ideas, give each other feedback, and make new friends. Each week we’ll focus on a particular topic related to creative learning, such as “Interest-Based Learning” or “Powerful Ideas” or “Tinkering.” We’ll host a panel discussion, inviting some of the world’s best thinkers and builders to join us in person or online. You’ll be able to suggest questions beforehand and follow along live (or watch it later). We’ll also design a hands-on activity for each week that you can tackle on your own or in a group (more fun!). You’ll get a chance to experiment with lots of different technologies and projects. More information: http://info.p2pu.org/2013/01/29/medialabcourses-launches/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=medialabcourses-launches

Peer-to-peer learning with seven billion teachers – but: what motivates people to learn by themselves?

July 2, 2012 in Freedom to learn

Logo of the peer-to-peer university / copyright: p2pu

Logo of the peer-to-peer university / copyright: p2pu

Last Friday, I had the chance to take part in some interesting discussions at the „Summer-Academy” of GIZ’s “Academy for International Cooperation“. The issue was “self-empowered and self-guided learning processes”. we learned at the event, that this paradigm transforms trainers into coaches for self-guided learning, requires different pedagogical methods and is fuelled by the open models of learning catalyzed by the Internet (such as open learning events, open educational resources, social learning and peer-to-peer learning online and offline etc – see some of my previous blog entries on more …).

But I was struck by another point. …

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