Open A.I.R. has so far engaged in two types of research: Case Studies and Future Foresighting. (View our Research Ethics Policy.) The resaerch has resulted in two publications: Innovation and Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa (UCT Press, 2014), and Knowledge and Innovation in Africa: Scenarios for the Future (Open A.I.R., 2013), both of which are freely available for download under Creative Commons licences.
The case studies completed (with findings published) to date are as follows:
Personnel based in 14 African countries (listed below) are directly involved in the project (see the Team page for participant profiles):
The Open A.I.R. foresight research has generated three scenarios for future interactions in Africa among IP, open/collaborative creativity and innovation for development. The foresight research data collection was conducted via open-ended, semi-structured qualitative interviews with key actors. In addition, foresighting exercises were conducted at Open A.I.R. researcher meetings in Cape Town, Nairobi, Dakar, Rio, Washington and Geneva.
For the foresight interviews, most of the interviewees were residents of Africa or diasporic Africans – although a number of non-African global leaders were also interviewed to provide wider context.
The foresighting work has been inextricably linked to the case studies. The case studies were designed to identify existing problems and opportunities in relation to the six Open A.I.R. research themes, while the foresighting was designed to generate future scenarios, for the year 2035, in relation to the problems and opportunities elucidated by the case studies.
Foresighting techniques are not entirely new to research into IP or into development, but before this project they had not yet been intensively applied to exploration of the intersection between IP and development. This component of the Open A.I.R. research methodology has thus been integral both to answering the project’s research questions and to broadening and building the capacity of the researchers in the Open A.I.R. network.