Blue Economy – Open Source Communities


The Blue Economy uses an open source approach to encourage positive entrepreneurship.
Overall, the aim with Blue Economy is to transform the way we are thinking about the environment. Solutions should be sustainable and capable of responding to people’s need for food, water, energy  and health care.

When you want to create an open source community where ideas are shared and used, you do not want to restrict the freedom of using the ideas. Yet there may be cases where  the “open source attract attention of people who want to consider this as their exclusive opportunity even though all was shared open source without restrictions. The free download of ideas, experiences and know-how causes a few individuals to desire an exclusive money making scheme” (Gunter Pauli, 2013).

So if you do not want to restrict the use through license agreements, trademarks or franchise, what do you do? Gunter says that it does not make sense to focus on making money first and securing a job for oneself, instead creating jobs and value in the community is the main goal. And if the trust is misused, he suggests that instead of using a legal framework it is better to continue to use the open source framework and  to avoid using bad behaviorus to deal with a negative use of ideas and people involved in open source projects. The underlying idea is that justice in the end will be done.

Yet it is tempting to explore ways to if not prevent people from misusing open source materials and exploiting people at least to minimize the risk. The statistical risk for misuse might be small, but we should not underestimate the role of rare events. We want to identify where danger is most likely to occur.

Defining the problem is a necessary part in searching for solutions and  we should perhaps spend more time on framing the problem.

Frame for ideas:

  • develop trust while ensuring that ideas can be open source.
  • no legal framework that prevents the sharing of ideas
  • positive flow should be blocked
  • minimal cost involved in implementing the idea
  • protect ideas and people from being misused and exploited

Most approaches towards ensuring that people to not misuse ideas rests on the assumption that we have to prevent and stop people from behaving in a certain way. This assumption could be challenged and we could explore ideas that:

  • Encourage people to ensure the open source community of their good intentions – could lead to ideas such as people openly signing a declaration of their good intentions with using the idea. Could then minimise the risks of misuse by  exploring the intentions and behaviours of those who do not voluntarily sign any declaration. Identify high risk behaviours, such as ignoring all communication.
  • Support communication between people using the open source material.
  • Turn the attention to people buying the products – do you as a consumer buying material from people and open source ideas have any responsibility? This approach could lead to ideas such as using mobile phones to encourage people to support people using open source ideas and also report suspicious activities.

We could rephrase the problem and say that the people who misuse open source material are unaware of the main purpose with providing ideas that are free to use (exchange the word misuse with unaware)

  • Use storytelling to inform people about not only the idea but also about how open source material should be used. Comic strips, videos, mobile phones could be used to spread the message.

Another approach is to fly over the problem and look at the big issue. In this case, people cannot be trusted. This could lead to ideas such as:

  • We need to change people’s view of themselves and their value in the world. Provide material that enhances users of open source material confidence and self-esteem to ensure that they are developing skills that protects them from abuse.

Go here to read Justice will be Done by Gunter Pauli.

Photo: “Businessman Holding Business World” by SOMMAI


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