“Idea stealing”- does it affect scientific innovation and creativity?
An interesting piece on the ownership of ideas within an institution. The (rather extended) discussion is at least as interesting as the article itself.
Here are my two pennies anyway, for whatever they are worth. (I know, two pennies are worth two pennies, no sarcasm required)
Ownership of ideas is a complex topic and one governed internationally in law (intellectual property). As individuals within organisations, be that academic or commercial, we are paid (in most cases) to generate, develop, and apply our ideas for the good of the institution, or more directly our boss. Not being credited for your contribution is hurtful and demotivating, but the need to discreetly label each idea with its’ “inventor” is not only a waste of energy, time and money, but would also rely on the ideas themselves being discreet. Ideas by there very nature build on experience and knowledge gained from those who have gone before us, and those who are around us. What happens when my boss generates an idea which I have develop, take in a new direction and give a new application too? My ideas were borne from his knowledge and experience directly; who owns it? Our bosses/companies allow us the time and facilities, as well as provide us with the skills to generate our ideas, in addition to paying our salary. As a result I believe they do have a large degree have ownership on our ideas. I am a firm believer in credit where credit is due and acknowledgement and recognition of individuals should always be paramount, but if your ideas are ‘yours’ and have potential, quit your job and develop it, make it work. The world needs people like this; just remember though, your idea came from somewhere!