IP or Intellectual Property is an interesting modern concept. The idea of owning something that is in your head interests me. Trying to figure out who owns what, what to share, what to make transparent and how to keep track of it puts the world in a frenzied spin.
It is my belief that if you hold something tightly it will eventually break. Just look at the ramifications of all the 'leaks' recently (Panama Papers) and all the silly legal spats between companies over patents (Apple). If we were all just a little more open, trusting and respectful I think we would achieve great things. To begin to explore one of my favourite themes I'm going to tell two stories.
The first is from my past. Sometime ago I worked at News Limited as the Marketing Services Manager. It was an interesting time as newspapers started to go online. The organisation had to make a big cultural shift from a physical to a digital existence. To help out I had come up with an idea which I'd spent time researching, prototyping and visualising. I had pitched the idea to my boss, then the Managing Director and onwards to a bunch of Sydney colleagues on my travels who were all wonderfully supportive. I had heard nothing back assuming something had stalled the project. 3 months later a colleague had returned from a strategy retreat where they announced the launch of a new project....he enthusiastically reported back "mate, great work your idea is launching" assuming I was aware and had been involved the whole time, to which I replied "I've heard nothing about it for 3 months". I must admit I was pissed off at the time. I later found out that one of the members of the group senior leadership team who'd just joined the company had claimed the idea as his own after picking up my A3 paper I'd left in Sydney.
I look back on this moment now differently. Instead of being annoyed, I'm now proud that my idea was used and although the senior leader behaved in way that lacked elegance, I take pride that the idea benefited the way the company worked. It was a lesson learnt.
The second story is one of inspiration from the US based agency August. When I set up Hatched a friend recommended I checked them out and I was impressed given our shared philosophy. I signed up to their newsletter and recently received one that pointed to their post on Medium. It blew me away as it provided an open report and I mean OPEN on their first 200 days in operation. It contains a frank report on their experience to date (check out the dog GIF), ownership structure, revenue and salaries. Many small business owners would shudder at the thought of this. If you then go to their website they have a section called Public which contains an unrestricted google drive which all of their presentations, toolkits and 'how to' guides for their services. August's purpose is to transform the way people in businesses work together and their openness is a demonstration of it.
Openness shows confidence, enables collaboration, empowers others and furthers your ability to have a greater impact in the world. Be open people.
Timothy O - Hatched xxx
Ps. If you aren't already aware of it the Creative Commons movement it is a great way to help facilitate the respectful and open sharing of information.