By Brandon Giesbrecht (naturegeak) [CC-BY-2.0], via Flickr.com

FAQ

Have questions about our organization?  We’ve got answers!

If you don’t find an answer to your question here, just fill out the form and we’ll add an answer soon.  We welcome any and all questions about our organization.

 

Organization

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Our organization’s slogan is “bridging the gap between dreamers & doers, for a more innovative future.” There are people with big dreams for the future, often referred to as futurists, but the people who actually have a significant impact on our lives (“doers”) tend to just improve on things that already exist. Our goal is to encourage work on ideas which are more than just incremental improvements on what already exists. To do this we encourage dreamers to focus more on achievable ideas while encouraging doers to take up the challenge of working on truly innovative ideas. Over time we’ll work on a series of projects to help achieve our goal, starting with the Collaboration Tree.

Is this a nonprofit organization?

Our goal is to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, but there are many requirements to achieve 501(c)(3) approval. Once we put together a board of directors for the organization they’ll be responsible for guiding the organization and filing for 501(c)(3) status. If you believe you or anyone you know can help us achieve our goals as part of the board or as an advisor we’d like to hear from you.

Can I donate money?

No, at this point we aren’t taking donations. If you’d like to donate once we have a board of directors in place or get 501(c)(3) approval (so your donation is tax deductible) please let us know and we’ll send you an email when we begin taking donations.

How do you pay for the organization?

We’re very careful with our spending, and members who’ve offered to pay for expenses cover the bills we do have.

What's with all the trees?

There are a few reasons we showcase trees so much. Our organization is focused heavily on technology, so the trees are a reminder not only to balance that technology with nature, but to find inspiration for better designs from nature. Trees were also an obvious choice since our first major project is the Collaboration Tree, which uses the parts of a tree as a metaphor for the different parts of the design process. A bonsai tree, in particular, was chosen for our icon because they’re frequently grown in pots rather than the ground, and we plan to grow ideas for the future separated from existing society until they’ve fully matured.

 

Collaboration Tree

What is the Collaboration Tree?

The Collaboration Tree is the first major project being developed by our organization. It’s a collaborative design platform and website which will allow anyone to participate in designing a better future. See the post about the Collaboration Tree project for more information.

When will it be available?

Right now we’re developing a demo site, which we’ll base the final framework and website on. This will help people better understand it and allow us test ideas before the final version. Anyone who wants to help develop the demo or test it out can go to the open source site on GitHub.

Who will be able to use it when it's done?

Anyone will be able to use the tree set up on our site once it’s released publicly. The framework will be freely available and we’re looking at offering hosting services for people who want to create their own cTrees.

Will I be able to use it on my own site?

Yes! We hope to provide pre-configured instances on Google and/or Amazon cloud services, turnkey hosting services, as well as the ability to download the technology for use on your own internal or external site.

Will it be open source?

The goal is to make both the technology source and the content of the website freely available, so people could easily make their own archives/mirrors. This isn’t just good for the public but will help protect the organization. There will probably be some private account information excluded from mirrors, but we’ll do our best to keep it easy to set up mirrors.

What will you do with the ideas in the tree once it fills up?

Once the tree fills up there will probably be some areas where there hasn’t been enough innovation, so we’ll try to encourage people to focus more on those areas, and if needed we’ll look into other ways to get researchers looking at these areas. We’ll also look for areas where there isn’t enough solid research/evidence to pick between top ideas and look into ways to test them. Eventually, once we start to lock in the best ideas we’ll start testing larger areas, which may even require test communities to be set up. We’re committed to taking the top ideas all the way to full implementation.

How will you deal with patented ideas?

This is one of the areas we need to investigate more, and may need a legal team to work on getting exemptions for organizations like ours. So far, we don’t believe exploring ideas and designs on the website will violate any patent laws. When members contribute ideas we’ll be asking them to provide proper attribution, to ensure the original inventor gets credit and we can track down any potential patent issues.

When I post an idea, do you own it?

No, we won’t take ownership of your ideas when you post them, but we will ask you to provide a non-exclusive license to us.  In other words, you give us the ability to use and test your idea (carefully read the license when you register your Collaboration Tree account for full details), but you still own it and can use and sell it to other people.

 

Members

How do I become a member?

Just fill out the form on the Participate page and we’ll set up your account.

What do I get as a member?

By becoming a member you’ll get access to a community of innovators where you can discuss interesting ideas and help shape the organization. Members can also submit articles to display here on our blog. Once we’re ready to form the board of directors, members will play a roll in selecting board members from our advisory board.

Is membership free?

Yes, membership is completely free.

What types of members are you looking for?

At this point, anyone who’s passionate about contributing can probably find a place in the organization, but we definitely need members with certain skills more at this point. People with a background in website development, open source software, or even general programming with an interest to learn would all be extremely valuable, especially if they have significant experience and/or time to contribute. We’d also like to have futurists, inventors, and designers from various fields participating so we can ensure we meet their needs. If you’d like to become a member, please sign up on the Participate page.

How can members participate?

Members can participate as little or as much as they have time for.  That could include as participating in discussions in the Google+ member community, contributing articles to our blog, or helping with the Collaboration Tree. Members who have the skill and time to contribute to helping develop the Collaboration Tree platform and website are extremely valuable, whether it’s programming, infrastructure, design, or testing. If you’d like to contribute, please sign up on the Participate page.

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