update / deadline – Kenyan Innovators Cooperative Society (Membership and more) – Protecting Ideas: The Government Whitebox is out

Good morning listers!
Some quick updates on the Kenyan Innovators Cooperative Society:
The deadline for expressing interest in Founder Membership for the Kenyan Innovators Cooperative Society is 2nd Nov. 2018 at 23:59. We aim to have our first meeting soon after that in early/mid November.

The Coop’s primary purpose is to provide a simplified (and less risky) path to commercialization for local innovation and to unlock benefits of scale for innovators.  
We envisage three main revenue paths to start with: 
1. Direct to market – which will involve selling some of the innovative products directly in different markets (both private and public sectors) – starting with Kenya.
2. IP licensing – where we offer a rich pool of well protected Indigenous Intellectual Property to willing strategic partners, anywhere in the world, for commercialization.
3. R&D Joint Ventures with Private sector, NGOs and/or Governments to find indigenous solutions to specific challenges where we jointly co-own the IP. The Coop is expected to have a pool of some of the most creative tech brains in the country (who will be highly motivated, as they get to share the profits) so there should be some good demand for this service across the continent. 
Revenue share will be linked to IP contribution to avoid freeloaders/joyriders and initial structure will be agreed by the founding team – and then subsequently refined – as/when needed – via AGMs. 

Vesting structure / tiers for member shares will be performance based (rather than time-based) to ensure highest quality membership, with innovators who offer market-relevant solutions that make money. Our goal is to build wealth for indigenous innovators and to inspire future innovators by proving in a concrete and sustainable way that innovation can be a path to success.
To express your interest in Founder Membership please email me directly (pmaina2000@yahoo.com) – so we don’t flood this list – and I will add you to the coop contact list in order to avoid flooding this list. Kindly indicate your location (county) in Kenya. For those who have already sent, I’ll be confirming receipt shortly – if not done so already. 
Membership types & criteria:

* Founding Member: Must be a Kenyan Citizen and have a creative entrepreneurial mind that is solutions oriented. Where others see problems, you see opportunities. Willing to commit some time & effort to help grow the Coop.
* Founding Official (limited slots): Must be a Kenyan Citizen, and have an existing innovation that is 100% Kenyan owned. You should also have Gov. documented proof of ownership claim for the same (e.g. patent / utility model / copyright / design model – or proof of application). Leadership skills. Willing to commit some time & effort to help grow the Coop in a leadership capacity.
Founders will get special founding-member shares/perks in recognition of their crucial formative role i.e. believing in the idea and taking the bold steps to make it real. It makes a lot of sense to join early, imo, but that is entirely optional.

Please forward this email to your other (local) lists, groups, professional networks and social media as well. The more the members, the stronger the Coop will be.

“Creating sustainable wealth through unity and collaboration” will be our interim motto. 

Note: Please DON’T send me any unprotected ideas or trade secrets. There will be an official process for that once we have registered the Coop and have our constitution + idea protection framework in place.
Be blessed and have a great day!
Patrick. 

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 9:57:15 PM GMT+3, Patrick A. M. Maina <pmaina2000@yahoo.com> wrote:

Jimmy, listers, 
It can assure you that execution will not be a problem. I have already received a good number of direct initial enquiries and expressions of interest from local innovators across multiple forums (not only ICT but engineering, agri, health / biotech) and they want the co-op launched like *yesterday*!

It will be a willing member organisation and each member will be a *part owner* with shares. Founders will get special founding-member shares in recognition of their crucial formative role i.e. believing in the idea and taking the bold steps to make it real. It makes a lot of sense to join early, imo, but that is entirely optional.
For those interested, please email me directly (pmaina2000@yahoo.com) to express your interest in membership and I will add you to the coop contact list in order to avoid flooding this list. Kindly indicate your location (county) in Kenya and whether interested as well.
Interim requirements for members are broad for now (but this could change as we formalize) i.e. must be a Kenyan Citizen and have a creative entrepreneurial mind that is solutions oriented. Where others see problems, you see opportunities. 
To qualify as a founding official, you must be a Kenyan Citizen, and have an existing innovation that is 100% Kenyan owned. You should also have Gov. documented proof of ownership claim (e.g. patent / utility model / copyright / design model – or proof of application for the same). 
In all cases, please DON’T disclose any unprotected ideas or trade secrets until we have our constitution and idea protection framework in place.
For those who have already messaged me, no need to resend as I’m still going through the messages. I am impressed by the enthusiasm so far which is very energising!
Things will move *very fast* in the next few weeks as we formalize and register the organization, so don’t hesitate to get on board right away if interested in joining as a founding member or official.
Have a great evening. Patrick.

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 5:59:56 PM GMT+3, JImmy Gitonga via kictanet <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:

Thank you Patrick for a comprehensive look at the cons of the Whitebox. We have seen so many of these “innovation harvesting” competitions, hackathons and organisations, we should have learnt something by now.
Having been part of an award winning team at the Pivot East conference, I can tell you what it takes to “impress” the judges. To get that the winning idea to escape gravity is where the work is. Then, VCs were not serious. I don’t know about today. But one thing that has remained the same is the rhetoric.

I expect whitebox to spectacularly fail. The guys with good ideas are executing them against all odds. If we don’t fix the virtual infrastructure like “idea/innovation protectionism” and get everyone to understand this requires all sectors to pull in the same direction, let us at the very least grow the human capital through the Andelas and Moringas of this world.

One day we will build everything here, constantly innovating and iterating to stay ahead of the sharks. Right now, I imagine that trying to bring innovators into a cooperative group is like herding cats. We are not ready yet.

Patrick has given us very good ideas. But execution …
Regards,Jimmy Gitonga@afrowave

———————————————————————-

Message: 1

From: “Patrick A. M. Maina” <pmaina2000@yahoo.com>
To: “kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke” <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>
Subject: Re: [kictanet] 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 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.

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