GOOD, October 7, 2009

Columbus' notes to Marco Polo's "Le Livre des Merveilles", 15th Century

Columbus' notes to Marco Polo's "Le Livre des Merveilles", 15th Century

…In January of 2008, IBM, Nokia, Sony, and Pitney Bowes teamed up with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to create the Eco-Patent Commons, an organized effort to make freely available patents that “reduce waste, pollution, global warming, and energy demands.” The Commons allows global businesses to share environmental innovations, turning the patent—long the emblem of all that is the opposite of sharing—into a vehicle for collective innovation.

Some historians posit that The Renaissance occurred because of the reconquest of the Moorish empire by Catholic powers. Illiterate Europe of the Dark Ages was suddenly exposed to and enlightened by the vast, cross-cultural libraries of classics maintained by the Muslim Empire. It was a dissemination of Information that led to the Age of Discovery. In a way, Web 2.0 is a post-modern, mass media equivalent.

We attended a conference on ‘Social Media for Sustainability’ a couple of weeks ago and the Eco-Patent Commons should have been on their list of discussion topics. Ever since that event, we’ve been thinking about crowdsourcing, transparency of data, and the power of sharing ideas.