Open Source Clean Technology Initiative

The need for new modells for collaborative innovation

World-wide emission reduction 50% – In order to attain the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, we need a new industrial revolution. It must take place three times as fast as its precursor 150 years ago and, in contrast to the historical industrial revolution, on a global scale. An innovation thrust of heretofore unknown proportions must lead to a wave of global technology deployment. If the OECD countries are to reach their greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and if global emissions are to reach their peak in 2015, this is a necessary prerequisite.

Technology Transfer – This new industrial revolution requires the emergence of innovative alternative models of technology development and dissemination. IPRs are a well-known bone of contention at the international climate negotiations in the dispute between industrialised and developing countries. As the results of the Bali Action Plan fail to materialise, this conflict intensifies and endangers the negotiation process. The international climate negotiations in Poznan (COP 14), although some progress was achieved in respect to technology transfers, did not bring about a breakthrough. Thus, if the new global industrial revolution is to take place and if the crucial Copenhagen negotiations (COP 15) are to succeed, significant progress has to be achieved in 2009. In particular, the current technology transfers deadlock has to be overcome.

Need of collaborative models – In a growing number of industrial sectors, development models characterised by “traditional” R&D procedures, including “traditional” IPR protection, are challenged by innovative technology development models. Novel collaborative models of creativity, Open Source in software industry being the most prominent among them, already proved to be valid business models. Their community-based approach to innovation provides high quality, relatively low implementation costs and considerable adaptive flexibility. On a much broader scale, an increasing number of businesses call on customers as co-developers. Under the label “Open Development”, products are shaped and adapted to meet the manifold wishes and requirements of those who pay for them. This increases their willingness to do so while at the same time the business in question saves R&D costs and establishes new kinds of relationships between itself and its customers.
(see here for Examples of Existing Open Hardware Initiatives and Projects)

Eco-Innovation – It is standing to reason to consider applying these innovative models of technology development and dissemination to global climate protection. Climate change demands the swift dissemination of sustainable technologies in newly industrialised and developing countries if this challenge is to be tackled successfully. The obvious shortcomings in this vital sphere of action demand innovative solutions, instruments and models. It seems natural to employ a Commons approach as exemplified by the Open Hardware movement, the Open Source model and other novel collaborative approaches. Also, European eco-innovation, the European road towards a sustainable continent and a knowledge society, appears likewise to be an appropriate theatre of operations for collaborative models of creativity. But these assumptions have to be assessed more thoroughly.

Global economic crisis – To date, the need for innovation collides with the global financial and economic crisis. Vast endeavours and according expenses are necessary in the spheres of research and technology development, but at this crucial time, governments across the globe, scientific institutions and companies in industrialized as well as in newly industrialized and developing countries face or will face a serious lack of financial means: Third party financing from business as well as tax incomes will decline. This situation demands approaches, solutions and business models which facilitate the necessary innovation thrust while tackling the economic problems which threaten its occurrence. New collaborative models of creativity may have the potential to meet these demands.

e5’s engagament for new clean tech innovation models

Therefore, e5 in cooperation with the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), International Centre for Resource and Energy Efficiency (SAT-iCREE) and the newthinking communications GmbH expedites since 2008 the build-up of a database which is to demonstrate and exemplify the potential of tackling the challenges in the sphere of transfer, adaptation and diffusion of sustainable technologies by employing the Open Source model. Furthermore, e5 interlinks Clean Tech companies, research institutes, actors from the Open Source movement, legal experts and development organisations by providing opportunities for exchange of ideas and by hosting events in order to harness collaborative models of creativity for global climate protection and the necessary technological revolution.

In case of any questions, please contact:

Julio Lambing
Managing Director
e5-European Business Council for Sustainable Energy

Hauptstrasse 43
D-61184 Karben
Fon: +49 6039 9291958
Fax: +49 6039 9291961
lambing [@]