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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Friday 1 August 2014

Profiting from the Creative Commons: a Lesson from GotG

Jesse Schedeen has written a fascinating piece that hopefully the folks at Disney and Warner Brothers are paying attention to.  In fact, a lot of people should be paying attention. 
We live in an age where we expect everyone to be a master sales agent, only want to invest in the next Google and our favourite dish has become the low hanging fruit.
So few companies see motivation or innovation as their role; instead, they hire or acquire talent that shows potential, eat through it should the potential not result in immediately salable products and move on. 
Research is still significant in Canada - research and development, however, lags behind many of our international peers.
Why?  Because far too many of our political and economic leaders are beholden to the industrial model.  Hire people for their skills, let them make widgets based on orders and sell them. 
Systems Change: Facing Canada’s toughest challenges - MaRS Global LeadershipHow much VC goes into small not-for-profits that could help develop business skills and savvy among marginalized youth?  Not a lot.  Or, how about iterative HR management projects that have to take a couple iterations and a significant period of time to get where they can go?
Some teams like the MaRS Solutions Lab aren't afraid to look big-picture.  Certain university professors have taken students and their nascent firms under their wings.  Companies like Microsoft's Make Web Not War have become patrons for civic artists like Richard Pietro.
In each case, investments are being made in projects that won't provide immediate ROI, or a clear return that is measurable in dollars and cents.
Meanwhile there are so many great initiatives out there in Toronto alone that could be build and tried with a bit of capital, some good will and a willingness to empower the creators.  Youth Entrepreneurship hubs, civic engagement groups, meet-ups like Why Should I Care function with a bit of support or a the odd donation but more than anything through the passion of their teams.
If you'd seen the original pitch for Richard Pietro's Open Government on the Open Road Tour #OGT14, you'd have scoffed at the idea of investing in it.  Microsoft did; they haven't gotten their ROI back, but through Richard they are catalyzing a growing in-person and online Open Community that is taking Canada by storm.
Richard left Toronto with a small farewell involving a tight group of friend and supporters.  When Richard hits Ottawa on September 16th, there will be a massive audience, a grand bazaar and politicians.  Then, he's off to France to go even further.
Whether it's art, or exploration, or R&D it is always worthwhile to invest a bit in creation and the people who are good at building, not just selling.
You never know when one of your less-successful products/services could blow up into the issue of the day.

And, wouldn't you know it - looks like Disney has beat us to the punch already.  Guardians of the Good?  What's our Canadian equivalent to that?

Virtuous Schemers, perhaps?

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