About this Author
Gwen Smith Ishmael, Sr. Vice President of Insights and Innovation at Decision Analyst in Arlington, TX, has led marketing and new product development activities in the CPG and technology industries since 1986. She also conceived and developed ground-breaking Web-based promotional vehicles, two of which are patent pending. Gwen holds an MBA in Marketing and is a featured speaker on insights and innovation around the world. Her writings have been featured in international text books, most recently in Managing 4 Ps of Marketing FMCG Sector, and Product Innovation: A Strategic Tool for Growth, by ICFAI Publications, 2006 and 2007, respectively.

Founding Author

Renee Hopkins Callahan Renee Hopkins Callahan started IdeaFlow and serves as chief blog-wrangler. She is Director of Innovation Services at Decision Analyst in Arlington, Texas, is a former journalist who worked as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News and the Nashville Tennessean, and was managing editor of D, the Dallas city magazine. She has a master's degree in rhetoric and has also taught college-level English and informal logic.
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline


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September 5, 2005

Building an innovation commons

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Posted by Renee Hopkins Callahan

My friend Paul Schumann has for some time now been trying to put together principles for an "innovation commons," which he defines this way: "An innovation commons is a space (physical or virtual) that enables innovation through the mutual and interdependent creativity of its members. It has the following characteristics:

* Open system (bounded)
* Everyone contributes
* Everyone can use the results
* Members who don’t contribute are excluded
* Fluid & flexible
* An abundant resource system

Other names that people have used to describe this type of system are open source, open innovation, democratic innovation, inclusive innovation, peer to peer (P2P), smart mobs and free agent collaboration."

Paul notes that some attempts to create an innovation commons have succeeded and some have failed. His project is to try to find out what are principles of a successful innovation commons?

The discussion about this is taking place via a blog. There's also a newsletter. And a survey that's open now. You can find out more about it here.

I just finished taking the survey, and I think that the fewer "principles" and rules, the better. I'd love it if we could get down to the most basic. Be flexible, responsible, and honorable. Maybe there are more, but those three say a lot.

Comments (1) | Category: Innovation, General


1. kaveh on October 13, 2005 11:19 AM writes...

I love the idea. For some time, I have been wondering how to go about creating a physical space, much like writers rooms ( opening in NYC and LA) for local thinkers, innovators, inventors, artists to participate in a 'open source' projects. Physical space because I believe as much in execution (evern if it's just going through the prototyping exercise) as in ideation.

I have many ideas on how to seed such community/space and keep it going once it gets started, but coming up w. rules of the game and creating the sandbox is one of the most challenging aspects of a project like this.

Thanks for the post ... looking forward to learning more on "innovation Commons".

seattle, wa

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