Published on January 12, 2022
Time for the Planet’s definition of open source: making all components of all innovations produced by our companies available to third parties so they can be copied, used and sold.
Anyone can ask for - and will receive - a license to use our innovations. No one can use our innovations without a license. Licenses will only be refused to individuals and companies which do not adhere to our Charter.
The Time for the Planet license comes with certain rights and responsibilities.
License holders have the right to:
These rights give rise to certain responsibilities. License holders must:
Time for the Planet was founded to create economically viable businesses with potential for growth, to impact climate change and to trigger the creation of many other businesses based on their innovations.
Companies must therefore make public all the knowledge they’ve amassed and generate revenues. They cannot privatize it.
The following are examples of possible open source economic models:
This economic model is particularly well-suited to B-to-B innovations, that is those sold between businesses. Take a technique for cement-free construction or CO2 capture. Rather than sell an industrial system, it can also be made available to major companies via support for technical integration.
Working directly with major industrial groups presents considerable advantages:
Open-source technology can be made available for development, rather than selling turnkey solutions with secret technology.
In short, we use what would otherwise be our opponent’s strengths and become their partners. The impact is stronger and faster when a very large company brings one of our innovations to market rather than if we had spent years competing with them. This approach also allows small businesses to impact gigantic companies, and as a result, impact huge amounts of CO2.
Obviously, this model is not always applicable. Some of the companies in question do not want to do business with us. In those cases, we need to take a different approach. It’s a good thing there are other models.
We are ready to help competitors to develop but we still aspire to be a market leader. Entrepreneurs know that strong competition never leads to business failure, which is rather caused by errors made when trying to beat a competitor.
Competition is usually a good thing because advertising by companies causes a targeted market to expand. Take Tesla. Their global communication has clearly improved citizen’s knowledge of and trust in electric cars. This has generated increased sales revenues for Renault and others in the sector.
With better design, product and communication than others in the market, it is possible to launch a company, allow competition to develop, and remain a market leader. Simply becoming a recognized brand which inspires trust.
It is also possible to concentrate development on one market segment, leaving other segments to the competition. Examples of segmentation include:
- geographic (Europe vs. Asia)
- economic (upper vs. middle class)
- logistics (retailer vs. producer)
The Marketplace Principle makes a standard technology widely available. An ecosystem can then use it to create goods and services and generate revenues. Take the operating system Android. It can be used by any developer to offer an application either free or fee-based. Android (Google) then earns a commission for every sale generated by third-party applications.
This principle can be applied to other fields. For example, a new concept based on 3D printing or modular units could give a competitive edge in ecological construction. In both cases, applications of these uses could be offered to the construction industry to improve
Making an innovation open-source can also lead to the development of industry standards. A new technology for CO2 capture could have several applications:
The open source creation of a battery which stores the solar energy produced by a household could be developed inexpensively and without using rare metals. Consequently, businesses selling installation and maintenance services can pay to be referenced on a list which is supplied with each battery sold.
A new technology which requires raw materials, particularly those hard to source, could be distributed free-of-charge and on a large-scale. Imagine a technology for producing electricity that doesn’t use metal. Instead, it is a biological method that requires cultivating a specific bacteria. This raw material could be sold to all industries interested in marketing the technology. Obviously, it’s quicker and cheaper to focus on producing the new material rather than trying to industrialize the battery concept on a global scale. All the more so because very big players are already equipped to do so.
This is a system where two versions of an open-source innovation are available: a free generic version, and more complete or technological private/fee-based version reserved for certain clients, generally big businesses.
An innovation is made open source and the marketing is turned over to several players but the technological contact remains the primary reference. Updates can then be sold. All technological improvements are made available but with a time lag of several months. Companies interested in advanced releases of this information can then purchase it. This model has the advantage of allowing a company to focus on R&D while distributors and industrial companies handle implementation and sales.
A new technology inspires trust when it demonstrates its capacity for development. When other businesses are authorized to market the technology, the creator can provide certification. Once a year, an audit verifies that usage is in compliance with the developed technology. This audit is conducted on site and invoiced. The company can then reassure its clients and customers that the deployed technology is used properly as certified.
The open-source principle comes from the software industry. From the Internet browser Firefox to software on US military planes, open source has demonstrated its robustness and ability to spread. The resulting ecosystem has created thousands of companies and jobs. The time has come to use these inspirational success stories in our fight against climate change. Intellectual property, patents and copyrights are interesting tools in times of peace. Mankind is faced with daunting challenges. It’s time to take up arms.
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