The Innovation Commons

18 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2015 Last revised: 27 Apr 2016

Date Written: April 21, 2012


An innovation commons is an institutional solution to the innovation problem in which knowledge, information and resources are pooled under defined governance rules to enable a particular community access to those inputs into innovation, often in a context of peer production. This paper examines the economics of why and when the commons is an effective institutional solution to the innovation problem. I set out four basic models of the innovation commons: (1) dual-commons; (2) evolution of cooperation; (3) strategic defence; (4) uncertainty of idea type. I suggest how innovation policy might look like were it were to recognise the contribution of the innovation commons.

Keywords: innovation, commons, entrepreneurship, new technology, cooperation

JEL Classification: O3

Suggested Citation

Potts, Jason, The Innovation Commons (April 21, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Jason Potts (Contact Author)

RMIT University ( email )

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