Open Standards and Innovation Empowerment

December 20, 2013

By Robert P. LaBelle, Senior Director, Strategic Innovation and Standards Solutions, IEEE Standards Association

For centuries, global standards have helped humanity achieve essential goals–enhanced public health and safety; technology innovation; market expansion and job growth; and the rollout of more sound and interoperable products at lower cost, among them. Global standards are underpinnings of innovation and social well being, and their value and necessity are coming into even sharper focus in the age of globalization.

Standards open new markets and applications and make broadly available proprietary knowledge for current and future innovative technologies. Globally open standards development forums help promote solutions and provide networking opportunities with and among cross national communities, creating vibrant, open ecosystems that provide multiple sources of readily available information and expertise.

As the global community strives to keep pace with technology expansion and to anticipate the technological, societal and cultural implications of this expansion, and as it faces the increasing intersection of technology with economic, political and policy drivers, embracing a market driven standards development paradigm that produces open standards and is inclusive of multi-stakeholders will help ensure strong integration, interoperability and increased synergies along the innovation chain.

The open standardization paradigm that enabled the success of the Internet provides a solid platform that enables participants involved and that addresses the challenges associated with increasing growth of a global marketplace, including the role that standards play in international trade and the inherent unpredictability of converging and emerging technologies on a global scale.

The globally open standards approach includes developing standards in communities that are grounded in universal openness and produced in a process that is open to the society of world experts without territorial restrictions. This open paradigm is driven by technical merit and harnesses global creativity and expertise through bottom-up collaboration. The approach results in the advancement of cutting-edge technology and empowers the rapid economic implementation of high-value, high-demand products and services with societal benefits. It drives technical innovation via processes that ensure direct, open participation, and which embrace different perspectives and interests to reach common goals. It produces standards developed according to accepted WTO principles, without borders to ensure a better future for all.

Working within a set of principles that advocates global cooperation and openness, provides for global interoperability and the building blocks for further innovation, and contributes to the creation of global benefit for humanity is core to unbounded market and trade growth and success through innovation. Globally open standardization processes and standards produced through a collective of standards bodies adhering to such principles are essential for technology advancement to ultimately benefit humanity, as the global expert communities address directly, in an open and collaborative way, such global issues of sustainability, cyber-security, privacy, education and capacity building.

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Robert LaBelle is a Senior Director of Strategic Innovation and Standards Solutions at the IEEE, where he provides executive leadership to an elite team focused on technology ecosystems, technology lifecycles and emergent technologies and related strategic and innovation initiatives; providing a best-in-class portfolio of solutions to standards-related collaboration and consensus building communities; and dedicated to a superior experience for the diverse, global and multi-stakeholder constituency. Robert works to advance the technology and solutions footprint for the IEEE and drives efforts that result in a deep knowledge of and expansion of the organization into technology spaces, as well as related technology governance venues like those of the OECD.