Two enlightening exchanges with Professor Michel Léonard (Service Science, Information System, University Computing Center (CUI) - University of Geneva) Linkedin


With Lionel Lourdin and Alain Renk

Interview with Michel Leonard and Alain Renk; Audio exchange: March 16, 2023

Contribution from Michel, notes from Alain (to be specified by Michel if needed)

On the background of history and the theme of commons, driving force for Impact Entrepreneurship Innobooster

Cognitive context

The situation is evolving, with emerging cognitive fundamentals, many of which come from the digital world. Powerful companies sharing their technologies as open source, specialized open-source companies being sold for billions, open-source knowledge exchange platforms becoming essential f

This is important because, to create lasting radical innovation, it is necessary for the innovation to be bearable for society. Today, we can consider that the booster's theme has a favorable cognitive context for radical innovations that will benefit from a favorable appropriation context.


The other point is that in most cases, defending a radical innovation to a funder is relatively limited in terms of available evidence, as we are upstream of the development of a process, technique, algorithm, or product. In the case of IE_Innobooster, we can already explain how we will act; i.e., we will ask innovation teams to develop their ideas using the commons framework or even develop their ideas in the form of commons. We will train them for this and give them the necessary foundation to build profitable business models.


The whole is innovative and very tangible at the same time; it is also easy to rely on scientific literature. The Booster allows the design of progress engines for society with the production of economic and social value.

This is not a whim of which the Booster initiators would be the inventors. It exists.

Yes, the framework is particular, but it is accessible. For examiners, it is possible to verify whether this framework works or not. And it does work. Examples will need to be given. And from these examples, the examiners will be able to build their trust in the Booster's proposal.

Interview with Michel Leonard and Alain Renk; then Lionel Lourdin, Ideavox Spaces / March 20, 2023

Take away

Through the sharing of open informational heritage, impact-driven businesses enabled to act by the commons develop the freedom to undertake and innovate ethically. In doing so, they increase the chances of successfully adapting the Swiss territory to digital and environmental transitions.

For Michel, the documents and the website are very interesting, with two remarks;

#1 First remark; specify the fields of application.

The question of Innobooster's domains.

The IB has the capacity to address all subjects, that's for sure.

But to examiners, it might seem presumptuous.

Moreover, it could be helpful to define application subjects.

Note: See the themes from the January kick-off and update them. They could be framed under the title of impact entrepreneurship projects capable of, for example, improving the quality of life in a territory (housing, mobility, public spaces, health paths), creating work (local manufacturing, services, software creation)


#2 Second remark; clarifying the complementarity between common goods / common

Mention is made of commons, not common goods

This lack is detrimental to the understanding of the subject.

For people not familiar with commons, this lack can lead to confusion between commons and common goods. For experts, this lack could devalue the quality of the proposal.

As a reminder, in the sense of Elinor Ostrom, there are natural common goods; water, grazing, fish, and on the other hand, the commons, which bring questions of organization, distribution, principles of resource use, etc.

For IE_IB, common goods are more like non-natural common goods of knowledge; artificial


#3 Consider cognitive load, preserve enthusiasm

The need for structuring frameworks to make the booster work

45 teams over 4 years! The doubts and questioning inherent in the emergence of ideas within each innovation team should not disrupt or diminish the commitment of booster managers to effectively support them.

However, empathy and communion are not enough in the face of cognitive froth. On the contrary, getting involved with teams can help create an excessive mental burden for those who will be responsible for supporting projects within the Innobooster. Relieving cognitive load by offering relatively standardized online form procedures is possible, but at the risk of reducing initial enthusiasm.

A solution would be to provide what is necessary for innovation teams, i.e., structures and benchmarks that will enable them to face difficulties. Then, make these benchmarks transferable and replicable. Moreover, far from being disseminated in a standardized form, these structuring benchmarks should themselves be enriched by the experience and progress of the Booster.


#4 Definition of criteria for selecting teams

First approach regarding strategic support, filter keys

Will your radically innovative idea, which could later give rise to an impact-driven enterprise, create an informational common good? Under which sub-theme of the Innobooster?

Could your impact entrepreneurship project develop the capacity of individuals in the territory to act by building a common informational heritage? How?

If your idea were to materialize within an impact-driven enterprise, how could it subsequently give rise to a common good useful to the Swiss territory, i.e., capable of fostering the creation of new impact-driven enterprises, generating employment, positive for the environment and society?


#5 The importance for Innosuisse of the shift towards impact-driven enterprises

First approach regarding economic reality and environmental benefits

Impact-driven enterprises are capable of generating economic value and jobs. Prusa, a leader in digital printers, has 600 employees while sharing an informational common good.

Example of wooden geodome manufacturing.

  • Case 1: traditional, produce domes at low cost, rely on quantity and patents to be competitive
  • Case 2: impact supported by commons, share informational heritage, create a purchasing center, enable carpenters and businesses in a territory.

In terms of resource protection and economy, case 1 requires stocks, transportation, obsolescence to create the desire for new purchases, and potentially the creation of unsold goods. Conversely, case 2 promotes local production, empowers a territory, preserves resources by allowing customization and adaptation. Case 2 leads to the production of a digitalized informational heritage.

Generalized, the creation and dissemination of common informational heritages by the innovation teams of the Impact Entrepreneurship Booster enables the Swiss territory to create new impact-driven enterprises, with the resulting resource preservation, meaningful job creation, etc. This is the snowball effect.

imp 3D Prusa

#6 Intellectual protection and the need for copyright

Protecting ideas when they are still fragile

The support role of the Innobooster requires conditioning the aid on effective measures to protect the paternity of ideas. These measures will be part of the obligations, such as applying copyright to intellectual works.

Intellectual Property (IP) could be conceived in the following way:

  • By default, Intellectual Protection is open.
  • However, in all cases, during the ideation phase, the IB's advice is to maintain confidentiality within the innovation team and its trusted partners, using NDAs if necessary.
  • When the idea stands, register a name and a Swiss trademark to assert paternity, as a sign of trust, ensuring the kinship to the authors.
  • Sharing informational heritage.
  • Possibility of duplication, but without plundering (difference between protected Wikipedia and open Wikimedia).

Perhaps a minority proportion of teams wishing for proprietary IP could also be welcomed as a reference element?


#7 Contribution

To be specified, this is a draft.

Impact-driven enterprises empowered to act through commons align with open innovation models and thus serve the progress of society and the achievement of sustainable development goals.

Through the sharing of open informational heritages, impact-driven enterprises empowered to act through commons develop the freedom to undertake and innovate ethically. In doing so, they increase the chances of successfully adapting the Swiss territory to digital and environmental transitions.