Applications of open-source theories of cooperation and development are popping up all over the place.
In veiled product R&D, Coca Cola now offers a self-serve soda fountain – the Freestyle – where users can mix hundreds of different flavors to concoct their own favorite beverage. You can bet that the results and statistics are being whisked back to Atlanta for analysis and possible product development. Why spend so much money on guessing what the public wants when the public can just tell you?
Boston has adopted the open source movement by capturing and redirecting its residents’ willingness to complain. An iPhone app called Citizens Connect allows Bostonians to report a public blight by snapping a picture. The picture, along with coordinates of the location, are sent to City Hall and logged with the public works department.
It makes me wonder whether an open-source invention could ever be possible, or whether it would require a total re-work of the patent system. Could there be a Creative Commons for patent development? Or an invention wiki that allows people to create, post, add to, modify, and improve an innovative work?