Article – Protecting Ideas: The Government Whitebox is out…

So what now?
In my previous message, I discussed Pipeline commoditization, an exploitative model used by VCs / large corporations to mine ideas cheaply at the expense of Innovators, and which relies primarily on “greyzone ethics” application of behavioral science principles (e.g. opportunity baiting in poor countries).
Remember, you are NOT “the chosen one”. There is no such thing. It is an *illusion* created to trick you into acting against your own interests.
In a given “innovations competition”, even if just 100 submissions are made, your odds of being the “chosen one” are terrible at 1/100. In many cases, more than 1,000 submissions are made and it is more likely you will be among the 980 hopefuls who don’t get chosen. 
This doesnt mean that the “chosen ones” end up with a better deal (many regret) because they often get taken over and the local founder is turned into a “ceremonial CEO”; a pseudo-employee with no real decision making authority and a seriously compromised ownership structure (can be kicked out of own business). 
What REALLY happens behind the scenes in such competitions is that the sponsors get a *free* brainstorm of 1,000 creative ideas (the real prize for them), from our best, albeit gullible, minds, while being only loosely obligated to pay a tiny amount ($10K-250K) for a tiny fraction of them (typically 1-20) under conditions if total subjectivity.
As many founders have already observed, the concept of “judges” or “idea evaluators” in such competitions is utterly ridiculous. There is no one on this planet who is capable of identifying great ideas/businesses by relying on pitches (or even with the benefit of traction data). Such a person would already be a GAZILLIONAIRE with his/her *own money* (and hence have no time nor inclination to judge competitions).
Way forward:
1. No matter how tantalizing the opportunity, the odds for all of us improve *only* when we *unite* and negotiate with *one voice*.
2. Let’s build leverage:
a. Innovators ought to be well represented in the boards that conceptualize these ideas / programs so that their interests are considered from the onset as key stakeholders.
b. IP policies and laws need to be contextualized and indigenized to level the playing field for indigenous Innovators. Some partial aspects of this issue were very well articulated in a recent article by Dr. Bitange Ndemo.
c. The time has come for innovators form a *collectively owned* cooperative society whose primary mandate will be to *aggregate* and *commercialize* indigenous innovations through *licencing* partnerships with Gov and Corporate entities.
In addition to direct partnerships with Innovators, our cooperative entity will partner with willing incubators as well, offering a solid “next step” after incubation/PoC.
It will act as a formidable shield for Innovators (protecting them from IP predators) which will result in massive negotiation leverage and help create numerous *jobs* as well as *wealth* (which will incentivise more innovation).
We can start by forming a core team (abt 3-5 people max) right away, to get started with the formation, structuring and popularisation of such an entity.
[Permission is granted to anyone interested in republishing this in tech/innovation blogs, forums, periodicals or media with attribution. Would appreciate if you let me know when you do so and send me a link. Thanks.]
Patrick.
On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 2:12:24 PM GMT+3, Patrick A. M. Maina via kictanet <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:

Sounds good in theory but in practice our IP landscape is woefully inadequate because it is a copy-paste framework that lacks local context.
1. As a poor country it is a given that most of our Innovators  will be starved for (and thus easy to bait with) capital. 
2. The lure of easy cash / validation is powerful and irresistible. It short-circuits even the most brilliant minds, causing each participant to individually fantasize that he/she is the “chosen one”. Yet even if just 100 submissions are made, your odds of being the chosen one are terrible at 1/100. 
This is classic *Game Theory* in action where self-interest decisions by individual actors result in a less favourable outcome for all. 

3. When you don’t have leverage (e.g. something that *only you* can offer) you can’t negotiate. No one will sign an NDA with you. I call it pipeline commoditization. If, by applying game theory principles, a healthy flow of unprotected ideas can be guaranteed, why would anyone sign a true NDA with an innovator? Ideas are not “worthless”, they are the most crucial ingredient for execution (otherwise why did cash-rich execution King Waymo/Google go after Uber for alleged theft of AV ideas, which they valued at $500M???)!
Pipeline commoditization relies on *brainwash* and *capital baiting* to unfairly swings the odds in favor of capital gatekeepers… Come on, play our idea lottery and Win! Win! Win! Are you “the chosen one”? We have “judges” who have never invented/innovated anything, many of whom are career employees with zero startup experience, which makes them PERFECT experts in judging great ideas/startups. These experts will decide who proceeds to level 2. Gamble with us and WIN BIG!

We have to shift this model from a gambling / lottery system to a business negotiation system. My next message will have some concrete ideas on how to do this.
Patrick.

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 11:21:16 AM GMT+3, WANGARI KABIRU via kictanet <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:

www.businessdailyafrica.com/lifestyle/pfinance/Steps-to-guard-against-business-ideas-theft/4258410-4815572-o2bx1hz/index.html

” While strong arguments may be made for the need to create a competitive environment, there is a counter argument that there is need to reward novelty to originators of ideas by granting some sort of protection for innovating. While this makes sense, the truth is that not all original business ideas qualify for intellectual property rights award. It is interesting that business ideas on their own do not qualify for protection. I have set out a few simple steps through which an originator of “business ideas” can guard their idea without necessarily being given intellectual property rights protection. The first is simply being wise and cautious about your dealings with third parties concerning these ideas. Do not disclose this idea to others without being strategic about it. Premature disclosure could lead to its annihilation or theft. In the event you opt to disclose, then ensure that you have signed non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements. Please do consult a lawyer to assist in its preparation and avoid picking template drafts from the internet. Some are irrelevant to the domestic situation and actually accord you no protection.

A message said again and again. So what’s still missing 
Be blessed.Regards/Wangari

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