Joi Ito, the CEO of Creative Commons, speaking at the INK Conference earlier today, said that the key to success in the world of abundance, i about sharing, peace and empowerment, and less about control. “The cost of collaboration has gone down so much, and so much of our world is built around managing scarcity efficiently. We need to move from managing scarcity through central control, to managing abundance (of content),” he said, adding that “The key about sharing is – it is very natural – it is great to have people read your work. If you’re less focused on a huge IPO, you’re happier. The entrepreneurs focused on agility, process and openness are the ones who succeed.”

Ito said that prior to the Internet, Innovation used to be focused around working with experts: “You had experts, who came from illustrious universities, and would convene and try to figure out solutions to problems for years, and create specifications. A lot of technology, like 3G, was based on specification chosen by large companies and governments. And their specifications were so large and so complex that no individual could learn them, and they woul be rolled out spending billions and billions of dollars. That money gets paid as fee to these companies. This model is not entirely obsolete. However, there is a new type of innovation, which is the Internet innovation. This involves the users, venture capitalists, experts, govt, big companies, small companies, standards organizations, and it’s focused on building consensus, and letting it evolve. It’s about small pieces, loosely joined, compared with the old days, where there were big entities, well funded.”

“Most of the innvoation that is from small companies, is based on loose rules. It’s not something that always works – for example, we didn’t anticiapte spam when we created the email standard. However, we let the market create systems for spam solutions. This is like a biological system, like an immune system. The Internet has an immune system. The other key thing is that the cost of failture is very low.”

Ito said that when when the web came out, a lot of people asked about why this was needed. What the web did was, it removed an entire layer of friction, wherein someone writing content on one type of device could be viewed on another. It created interoperability, and allowed for the creation of telecom devices, routers, and each layer opened innovation. Now what’s happening to the stack and the ISPs, is the lowering of the transaction cost, the cost of creating content, collaboration and communication is so low, that the $10000 lawyer fee for sharing content is rather high. We need to lower the cost of trasactions of content. The Creative Commons allows you to share. It standardizes, what sort of things and permissions people would like to grant.

There are open educational resources, teachers sharing and collaborating with each other. It’s difficult for industry to get their head around this, because they’re built around controlling it; TED is a creative commons license, there’s the Architecture for Humanity project. The cost of convening and disseminating information used to be so high. I’m a college dropout, and i learnt everything I know is from what people tell me. The same academic journals who were created to allow the sharing of scientific information are now doing exactly the oppostive – they aren’t allowing professors to share their documents. We live in a world of abundance, but remain so focused on scarcity.”

Disclosure: We’re attending the INK Conference on the invitation of its organizers. For the duration of our stay here, they’re bearing the cost of our travel from Pune to Lavasa and back, as well as our stay at the conference. Content is (and always will be) at our editorial discretion.