If you haven’t discovered Jason Silva yet, immediately look him up. I’m serious. Go to Google and watch one of his videos. A great starting point is his video on Radical Openness which was presented at last years’ TEDGlobal event. The concept of the free flow of information, its importance and by extension its problems, is one of the major conundrums of our time. The idea of intellectual piracy and its effects inundates us in almost every part of our lives. Music, movies, and e-books are all obvious examples of pirate-able material but, as legal acts like SOPA, PIPA and CISPA show, this can extend to our emails, our Facebook profiles and even our own images. How do we as a society define what is, in fact, intellectual property? Can a person or corporation own an idea? Or only a series of ideas in a specific order (all that a book or movie really is)? And at what point does defending one’s ideas actually hinder the flow of creativity?
History has shown time and again that the best ideas and discoveries come through collaboration. Silva states that this ability of ideas to combine and mesh in cyberspace is actually the next step in human evolution. Can we, as corporations and as a culture, find the line that protects our financial interests while still fostering the kind of creativity that made these technological discoveries possible in the first place?
I do not envy our government officials in their journey to pass viable piracy and protection laws. But I do think that the uproar over CISPA and the popularity of videos like Silva’s underline a pivotal, actionable point: the free flowing generation of ideas can exponentially improve the creative work of any company.
In public relations we have brainstorms to bring together people and build ideas, but this is very often only done for specific client needs. How often are we meeting simply to mesh ideas on interesting things we know and combine them into groundbreaking new angles to approach the media and consumers? Jason Silva’s idea landed him a National Geographic gig making a series of short videos called “Brain Games.” I’d wager he didn’t come up and implement that idea all on his own.