Sharing is caring: Intellectual property and the charity sector

Sharing knowledge about what works—and what does not—is instrumental to improving the effectiveness of charities. Yet often organisations are incentivised by competition to hoard their knowledge for their own advantage. Because of this tension, we wanted to explore the role of intellectual property in the charity sector.

In this paper we outline our own experiment with knowledge sharing,— explaining how we developed the model and what we learned. We then use this and other examples to explore various models for sharing ideas about how to tackle social problems. We talk through the various benefits and challenges of different approaches, and what might incentivise organisations to open up their knowledge and ideas to others.

We hope to encourage discussion, and invite conversation with anyone exploring these topics in their work.