Are you a Generous Mind?

Are you a Generous Mind? If you are intrigued by the idea, this is a place to explore what it means to you. Our blog focuses on helping you to learn what it means to be generous with what you know. You will find helpful tips and encouraging examples that will inspire you to release your ideas to the world! Find out more at www.generousmind.com.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Generous Colab

It was a blessing to be at the Colab 2013 event in Chicago last week. I will be sharing more from my notes in the coming days. The event was a small, invite only collaboration event designed to create opportunities for connection and engagement. There were some great donors, organizations and churches there.

Here is the Storify story of the event with quite a few contributions from the Generous Mind team:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Generosity or Manipulation

Have you ever tried to control the outcome of something you cared about? Maybe you try and control your children’s behavior or you try and exert control over a big project at work. If you strive to do it in your own strength, your main weapon is almost certainly manipulation. But the minute manipulation is inserted into your arsenal your efforts are no longer aligned with the Kingdom. They are now your own efforts to control your world for your personal benefit.

You cannot be a Generous Mind and rely on manipulation to influence the world. A Generous Mind gives freely from their ideas without trying to control them. That doesn’t mean that those ideas don’t end up in products and services that can produce a return for you. However it does mean that a Generous Mind does not invest time in manipulating the way the ideas are used for their personal benefit.

The line between a productive idea and a manipulative idea is fine and fuzzy. That is because it mostly has to do with motivations of the heart rather than a list of “do’s or don’ts.”
If you release an idea productively, you make it available in ways that are focused on your readers and will be useful to them. For example, a Generous Mind who came up with a new cookbook for children might realize that a DVD product to accompany the book would be an excellent way for the children to interact with the cooking process and get a sense for how to participate with their mom or dad. The desire is to see the idea used more fully and the result is a new product that adds value to the customer and is sustainable for the author.
But if you are releasing an idea in manipulative ways, that is different on many levels.  One example of a manipulative mind is the contract that governs how your ideas are released. Many of these contracts are written to confuse and discourage your audience rather than to empower them with the idea you have brought to life. The way your contracts are written is an important indicator of your desire to be generous.
As I continue to process Tim Jore’s book “The Christian Commons,” one of the things that has jumped out at me is the manipulation that often exists in the contractual process. Tim describes one of the main advantages of a Creative Commons license as follows, “Every Creative Commons license includes a human-readable summary of the license. In a few clear paragraphs, the license summary explains exactly what the legal code (the actual license) does, in terms that do not require a degree in copyright law to understand.” (pg. 233)
This “human-readable summary” is an effort by the group behind the Creative Commons to be clear and open with what the rights and restrictions are. This makes the contract an open document rather than an effort to manipulate the audience through smoke and mirrors.
As you share your ideas with the world, are your motives focused on generosity or manipulation?

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Generosity with Your Intellectual Property

In an age where information is currency, Intellectual Property is critical to so many aspects of our careers and businesses. We spend significant time protecting, managing and turning our ideas into products . . . and there is nothing wrong with that. It is how we can sustain our creative energies.

But is our model for protecting and managing IP a Kingdom model? That is what Tim Jore explores in The Christian Commons: ending the spiritual famine of the Global Church. This well-researched book asks us to think through how traditional copyright protections limit the ability of the Global Church to resource the believers where the church is growing the most.

While the book focuses on moving from a traditional copyright model to the Creative Commons standard which is much more open, I appreciated that Tim did not minimize people's ownership of their content or the rights that they are allowed to exert over that content. Instead he focused on challenging people to select a Creative Commons approach to protecting their content out of a motivation of generosity.

By taking that approach to the issue, Tim affirmed people's hard work, rights and the value of being rewarded for their efforts. At the same time, he challenged those people to generously give of their content to those who can most use it.

I would have liked to see more in the book about encouraging the more open model among Majority World authors and publishers rather than the focus on Western resources being translated or modified for use in the Majority World. We have exported many of our models to the Global South and shackled our partners with many of the problems that were inherent in those models.

The best parts of the book are the last few chapters that make a very clear and easy-to-read case for the need for new paradigms in managing Intellectual Property. I loved Tim's integration of Scripture to help think through the Kingdom response to content.

I hope this book will start a healthy discussion about more sustainable models of managing IP within the Kingdom. We desperately need to unleash the ideas God has given us!