Ethical Collaboration for Open Meetings

Ethical Collaboration sets the ground rules for open meetings.  An open meeting is any meeting where we welcome anyone, including newcomers.  In some cases, the new people may be experiencing your group or organization for the first time.  You want to make a good impression, welcome them to the community, and set the ground rules for a healthy, vibrant, collaborative community.

The entrepreneur ecosystem can be intimidating.  Is someone going to steal my idea?  Who can I trust?  Should I share my idea?  How does this all work?

The Ethical Collaboration Framework has three principles:

  1. Respect for intellectual property, ours and others.
  2. When we help, we do so freely and willingly, without obligation.
  3. Mediation and arbitration are the way we settle our differences – not the court system.

The Ethical Collaboration Open Meeting Agreement contains the following elements:

  1. No NDA.
  2. Lightweight IP transfer agreement so that nobody gets harmed during collaboration.
  3. Mediation and arbitration provision for all conversations in the meeting.

Here’s why we set up the agreements this way:

The principle of mutual respect begins with respecting our own IP.  In an open meeting, we do NOT use an NDA, so everyone who participates is responsible for protecting their IP before they come into the meeting, or they can choose not to share anything.

Open meetings are assumed to be public forums, so please treat them as such.

The principle of sharing freely and willingly comes from the missing piece in many NDAs.  Most NDAs talk about information that is owned by each party BEFORE they interact, but what happens once they collaborate and create something new?  In the Ethical Collaboration framework, we address this issue.  When it is possible to give a collaborative idea to someone we are helping, we agree to do so.

Mediation and arbitration is sometimes hated by lawyers, but that is because it is their revenue stream.  They would like nothing better than a three-year-long lawsuit that has lots and lots of motions, discovery, and billable hours.  Entrepreneurs cannot afford the money – or the time – to wait to “win”.  It is better to get issues settled quickly and at low cost.

The Ethical Collaboration Open Meeting Agreement is available for use for FREE to any public meeting.  Please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

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