The IPR Of Community Enterprise

Intellectual property rights seem only to apply to business ideas. What would be effect of a similar way of ensuring encouragement for community-engendered ideas?
Intellectual Property Rights are the Big Thing these days. Almost everyone in business and commerce who has a new idea now realises that they would be best protecting it and making sure it’s understood to be theirs. After all, who knows what riches an idea might lead to?
But how does this fit with social enterprise? Or with capacity building in the community? How are people who ‘lead’ commuities going to benefit from their ideas, when these are by their very nature communally ‘owned’ once they gain credence?
What sort of reward or encouragement is there for individuals in communities to put heart and soul into bringing constructive ideas forward, when, because there is no ‘protection’ for these ideas, they will simply end up being part of the paid employment tasks of officialdom?
Can we ‘protect’ bottom-up ideas?
At present I’m not sure what the answer to this question is. I pose it simply to see what others may think. But I’m pretty sure it’s an important aspect of developing a genuinely ‘bottom up’ stakehold in our communities and society at large.
What, I wonder, is the mechanism which would allow effective ‘top down’ support for social and community enterprise and engagement, without it becoming the ‘property’ of the officials and bureaucrats who so often dominate the subsequent development of good community-based ideas? How can we encourage people in their own communities to believe that good ideas really are worth having?

Posted on February 13, 2006, in Equality, Diversity And Inclusion, Knowledge Ecology And Economy, Politics, Policies And Process, Regeneration, Renewal And Resilience, The Journal. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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