Return On Investment
When we discuss funding proposals with our associates, for business entities wishing to use the "IP" the Organic Design peer group has created, the issue of "protectable IP" crops up a lot. Investors are often wary of putting their money into something they cannot own outright. It is much easier for them to be sure of their return on investment, a.k.a. ROI, if they can use intellectual property laws to ensure no one else can use the same technology in bringing products and services to the market.
In response to these concerns, we like to emphasize to potential investors that they stand to benefit from being at the leading edge of technology and are poised to exploit opportunities that this provides, by working closely with the OD peer group and being "first to market", with a chance to create branding and establish leadership, which we may need to spell out with a few scenarios and examples. Unfortunately we cannot provide a solid "ROI formula" as there are a lot of variables involved here.
Potential investors also stand to raise their profile as technology leaders and visionaries, something that is possible without "owning the IP". This can offer substantial marketing opportunities. Google, one of the leading technology companies on the planet, have repeatedly done this.
Investors also have a chance to raise their profile as someone genuinely dedicated to human progress and true sustainability. In times when the public is increasingly cynical about "whitewashing", "green-washing" and other PR tricks, supporting the development of GPL'd (free and open source) software is a good way to demonstrate genuine commitment to the public good.
To summarise, the investors will be "first to market" through their close relationship with the OD peer group, exploiting years of research and conceptual development to offer branded products and services as well as consultation and customisation based on the Organic Design technology. In doing so, the investors will benefit not only from thousands of man-years of development invested in the open source components that comprise the Organic Design technology by other open source development groups. They also stand to benefit from a vast open source developer community that will be happy to deliver free and paid development man-years to drive the ongoing development of the technology.
Notes and references
- To name just a few: The GNU/Linux operating systems Debian and Ubuntu, the MediaWiki collaboration and documentation software, the Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email client