MichelYou will recall that I am looking for someone with impeccable english skills to translate an annual report from English to Thai. The document is about 28 pages and I am prepared to pay commercial rates. Any ideas?RichardOn 08/02/2010, at 10:46 AM, Michel Bauwens wrote:
Editor "Julio Lambing" <julio....@e5.org>,
E5 has written a interesting report on open green tech transfer, and its financing models:
* Climate Justice as Business Case: Innovative Business Models for the Transfers of Climate-Friendly Technologies. By Hans Schuhmacher, with support from Julio Lambing et al. European Business Council for Sustainable Energy. Preliminary English version. 06 December 2009
Please note: This paper is licensed under the CC license but it is preliminary and will soon be replaced by a fully authorized version.
1. The different models
The Open Hardware Transfer Strategy Model
* Concise definition: Analogous to Open Source Software, Open Hardware is a community-based development instrument for technologies. A viral GPL (General Public License) facilitates implementation and further development of technologies.
* Application for technology cooperation: Adaption of technologies to local conditions, steady further development of technologies, cost-effective involvement of many codevelopers.
* Achievement potential : Adaption of technologies can be transacted by those who know these conditions best. The viral GPL license allows commercial use of technological knowledge and know-how under the condition that further developments are accessible under the same conditions and under the same license. Innovations and discoveries by grassroots innovators, also in the global South, can be utilised. Co-developers pass through an „unofficial apprenticeship“. Also, technologies that are not marketable can be utilised. Participating technology companies can access the capacity of developer communities. Peer-to-Peer-assessment safeguards high quality.
* Prerequisite for effectiveness : Clarification of legal and juridical framework conditions, design of a valid business model for a Open Hardware platform, investment in the development of the database, public funding for this, international interlinking of Open Hardware initiatives, creation of suitable public environments, involvement of publicly-funden RD&D. The problem of deficient protection of innovations in many countries of the global South has to be solved, for the benefit of technology companies from the global North as well as for the benefit of innovators in the global South.
* Practical experiences : Numerous positive experiences in the sphere of Open Source software, sporadic experiences regarding Open Hardware
* Possible correlations : In the spheres of knowledge transfer and capacity building, also with initiatives for development cooperation. Cost reduction due to Open Hardware may facilitate proliferation of start-ups. Peer-to-Peer assessments, like in Open Source software development, can facilitate validation of businesses and projects.
The success of Open Source software development brought about the appearance of similar initiatives in the sphere of Open Hardware. Utilisation of Open Hardware for global climate protection attracts growing interest. To date, e5 initiates an Open Hardware project.
The characteristic strengths of Open Hardware are the following: Generally, Open Hardware projects do not only make patent documentation accessible, they also provide information on design, components used, software codes and descriptions of development steps. This information packets are, in turn, extended by the communities and their further developments. The development of a given technology, thus, becomes intelligible for others and facilitates implementation, adaptation and further development of the technology.
Open Hardware is „viral“, i.e. the model incorporates, by means of its characteristic licenses (for example the GNU public license GPL25), every innovation based on the original technology under this license. Thus, further innovations are accessible under the same conditions. This is important if a steady circuit of feedback and further development is desired. Analogous to companies that cooperate with Open Source communities, the innovation gain of participating technology companies may rise the faster and the more diversified the process of further development is. Peer-to-Peer review safeguards the characteristic high quality of Open Source software and will likely do the same in Open Hardware development.
Active participation in an Open Source or Open Hardware community is comparable to an inofficial technological apprenticeship that is practically costless for those who provide know-how. „Local Champions“ and cooperation partners in the global South can improve their expertise as well as participating technology companies in industrialised countries. Furthermore, Open Hardware facilitates supranational or even global exchange of knowledge and experiences as well as networking effects. The intensity of the innovation stimulus is not predictable and unratable.
Open Hardware is an interesting option for technology companies in industrialised countries also because of new possibilities to utilize technologies unsuitable for the market. Advantages are also conceivable regarding technologies that can be easily imitated and are components of technologies fit for the market. In these and similar cases, the common innovation dividend provided by Open Hardware may bring about the development of new marketable products. The expenditure, however, is minimal. At the same time, these platforms can be used for establishing contacts between companies in different hemispheres. These contacts, in turn, may become points of origin for technology cooperation projects.
A difficulty encountered in the initiation phase of such an innovation model is lack of knowledge among investors regarding cooperative models. Only when business models are fully developed, clear criteria for businesses will be discernible when, depending on market penetration and state of development, a decision for a viral license is advisable. This is another reason why technology companies should participate in the development of this instrument. As an alternative or additionally to a full GPL licence, commercial license can be employed that allows patenting and licensing of further developments but grants a share of all gains to the original patent holder. This would enable technology companies with small production capacities to market their technologies globally and particularly foster SMEs. A part of these gains would be withheld by the platform for covering costs and creating funds for the advancement of technology development. A step-by-step realisation of the instrument is conceivable. Even if technology companies in the initial phase only contribute technologies unsuitable for the market, it is possible that the model succeeds. Potential candidates are also technologies which are no longer protected by patents – e.g. many patents for the use of renewable technologies are expired. In contrast to so-called „patent databases“, Open Hardware enables a return flow of further development and options for cooperation. Such an initial phase may already be beneficial for technology cooperation. At the same time, it facilitates building of trust, reification of the debate and gaining insights which may be used to improve the instrument.
The Technology Cooperation Commons as transfer model
* Concise definition: Imparting of knowledge and knowledge exchange on a global plane by means of web 2.0 platforms and and a Creative Commons license fur advancing technology cooperation.
* Application for technology cooperation : Overcoming of cultural, language and knowledge barriers,imparting of knowledge and knowledge exchange in the spheres of climatefriendly technology and business.
* Achievement potential: Technologies have to be adapted to local conditions, private business activities have to be integrated in cultural and social environments. In order to be effective, local „forms“ of technologies and business have to be developed locally. A prerequisite for this is access to knowledge and know-how. The instrument facilitates this and also enables interlinking and exchange between technology cooperation projects and their participants world-wide.
* Prerequisite for effectiveness: Clarification of legal and juridical framework conditions, public funding, creation of suitable public environments, involvement of publicly funded RD&D.
* Practical experiences: Web 2.0-based knowledge and communication platforms and Creative Commons are successfully employed in diverse spheres of activities and knowledge, but up to now not in the sphere of technology cooperation.
* Possible correlations: Interlinking with all models for capacity building and knowledge transfer are possible. Open Hardware or the Web 2.0 Cleantech Investment Forum would benefit from this instrument, and vice versa. The instrument may facilitate startups in the global South, instruments proposed in this paper (Section I) may be employed to finance them.
Cultural and language barriers are potential obstacles for technology cooperation. Language barriers alone26 may be an obstacle for potential technology entrepreneurs or grassroots developers in developing countries because basic English, for example, does not suffice to impart complex technological information. Open Source platforms for technical texts that provide basic knowledge („How does wind power work?“) up to very complex information could produce relief. Students and scientists from developing countries could provide translations under Creative Commons licenses and would, thus, contribute to the sustainable development of their countries. When translations into the main languages of a developing country are accessible, the barrier for translations into local languages is much lower. Documents under Commons licenses may be printed, copied and diffused in order to reach those who have no access to modern communications technologies. For businesses and project personnel on site it is easier to write reports on technological developments, problems and so on in their own language. If these reports also find their way to the translator communities of the Technology Cooperation Commons, local experiences can be utilized globally. In the sphere of Open Source software, this response process as well as communication among users work very well.
The portals of this virtual hubs of technology cooperation may be designed by user communities according to their own needs. Examples would be technology encyclopedia analogous to wikipedia that collect and provide implantation know-how, collections of project documents, exchange forums and synopses of local parameters based on geographical information systems. Modern ICT technology facilitates other depiction modes apart from texts and technical drawings. Video material and animations with multilingual soundtracks and sub-titles as well as other media may achieve positive effects. Likewise, vital information for novice entrepreneurs can be imparted and experiences can be shared.
2. Some concrete initiatives
LEEN - Management System for Local Energy Efficiency Networks
This system for learning networks for medium sized companies was initiated in Switzerland as instrument for advancing energy efficiency. Moderated by a professional, knowledgeable senior engineer , 10-15 companies participate in regular meetings (four times per year) for sharing experience and learning from invited experts . The companies define a joint target for energy-efficiency improvement and CO2 emission reduction with a four-year time horizon, based on individual potentials of the sites. Yearly, energy demand and CO2 emission of the participating companies are verified, the whole process is monitored. Participating companies have reduced their specific energy consumptions as well as their specific carbon dioxide emissions by about 12-20% within 6 years. About 90 learning networks are active to date, the participants are approximately 1.000 companies from Switzerland and Germany.
These networks could also be employed for technology cooperation. Learning networks for energy efficiency might be as useful in rapid developing regions.
RETEX (Renewable Energy Technology Exchange)
This concept for technology cooperation was developed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Collaboration and Development.
RETEX aims at overcoming three main obstacles for the diffusion of climate-friendly technologies in the global South, namely: lack of reliable and cost-efficient technologies; lack of knowledge and know-how; lack of financial means. The instrument focusses on poor developing countries and is to advance the South-South exchange of technologies. In the initial phase, RETEX is to concentrate on Mini- and Micro-Hydro power (MHP). Core elements are an online platform for knowledge exchange and the establishment of a network of local expert core groups which, in collaboration with other institutions, maintain a training and consulting service.
Essential elements are:
• intensive local training units; • an interdisciplinary approach, integrating technical, business, legal, juridical and policy aspects; • advancement of South-South exchange by means of active networking; The online internet platform provides information on: • standards – technical information on MHP technologies, feasibility analyses, monitoring systems, definitions of terms etc.; • library: technical manuals, training handbooks, software for downloading (free of charge), links, an evaluation department; • selection criteria for electro-mechanical gear – turbines, measurement and control technology etc.; • database: providers of technologies, consulting companies, finance partners, international organisations etc.; • best practices: examples for policies and regulations, critera for project selection, solvency, financing instruments etc. For members of the RETEX network, the following exclusive features are also to be available: • open expert forum for questions and discussions; • consulting service: by experts, for a fee; • training material accessible if certain quality standards are met; • licenses and blueprints for members that meet certain criteria (obligation for regular training, obligation to report).
3. Conclusion and Policy Recommendations on Cooperative Innovation Models:
Identified Need for Action
1. Financing of translations of important websites that advance Open Source in the spheres of climate-friendly technologies as well as legal and juridical aspects of Open Source. Most of them are in English. As a first step, translations into the lingua franca of a given global region are needed, i.e. Chinese, French, Spanish and Arabian. As a second step, initiatives willing to provide translations into more local languages should be encouraged and financed. Multilingual moderation of these websites should be provided for.
2. The public sector should play an important role by the creation and financing of a noncommercial Green Open Hardware Database. Due to the current financial crisis, private companies are hard to win over for highly innovative projects. Public funding would be necessary as an initial spark. Furthermore, financing by the public sector is necessary in order to avoid the impression that a few private companies would aim at utilizing the project for hidden particular interests.
3. For the development of an international legal and juridical framework for a Clean Tech GPL License a technical expert group has to be established. Up to now, there have only be scattered approaches for appropriate licenses. This panel could also work as secretariat for the database platform. Their tasks would consist of management of the Clean Tech GPL license, maintenance of legal integrity of the original products, diffusion and promotion of technologies and Clean Tech GPL licenses, maintenance of a platform for publications on new ideas and innovations developed under this license.
4. International conferences should be funded that conjoin creative thinkers and thought-leaders of the Open Source and Open Hardware communities. Some of the thought-leaders, initiatives and experts relevant for such a venture do not have the means to meet face to face. The following key actors should be gathered: a) thought leaders of the Open Source movement from industrialised countries and from the global South; b) companies that already employ Open Hardware; c) representatives from Green Open Hardware initiatives d) legal experts on Open Source; e) companies and technology developers in the sphere of climate-friendly technologies; f) research institutions that can release patents; g) experts from the sphere of development cooperation.
5. It should be proved which of the patented hardware and software under copyright or patents the development of which was financed by G20 countries should flow into the portfolio of the Clean Tech GPL programme. This should be mandatory and regulated accordingly. Such a provision would demand either joint ownership (patent/copyright holder and platform) or a contract which allows the platform to issue licenses for these technologies. The national interest of the country in question should be taken into account.
6. Setup of international Clean Tech patent libraries: Transferring of patents into a pool for crosslicensing grants all producers access to relevant technologies. Users should be enabled to buy access by warranting a percentual share in later profits. The gains would flow to the library and distributed among those who contributed to the technology in question. The allocation formula should be based on the frequency of technology use.
7. Publicly funded tenders for bounty hunters: An agency, set up by the United Nations, should identify climate-relevant problems and publish solutions under a GPL license. Such a system could be funded by emissions taxes.
4. More Information
* Examples for existing Open Hardware projects, databases and communities: http://www.e5.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=PagEd&file=index&topic_id=0&page_id=57
* A Creative-Commons license suitable for Technology Cooperation: Attribution – Noncommercial – Share-alike. at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
* Ghosh, R.: Study on the Economic Impact of Open Source Software on Innovation and the Competitiveness of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Secor in the EU (FLOSSImpact), UNU-Merit 2006. S.90
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