The ID Commons recent bylaws update to permit more flexible yet still formal entities called "Autonomous Councils" represents a significant legal and governance innovations with potentially valuable applications for the high techn sector and innovation economy.
The overhead of complexity, cost and other constraints related to set up and maintenance of multistakeholder consoftia can be significant. Yet in some cases, a special interst members group or other working group may be too informal and deeply embedded within the business, legal and operating context of their host organizations to provide an adequate home for multiparty collaborations seeking to focus on starting a new innovation. Whether the innovation is open source software, a technical standard, an industry pilot or other multistakeholder collaboration, there is a need for a middle-ground between a stand-alone incorproated trade association or other consortia on the hand and a committee or other working group of a parent organization on the other hand.
The Autonomous Council was carefully designed to provide exactly such a third space. While representing many novel characteristics, notably the right of such councils to spin-off upon their own decision, the underlying approach is premised on a successful model from the banking and payment network industry. More information on this approach, including the wording of the new ID Commons bylaws and explanations of the financial sector lineage, is published on special update brief posted at the eCitizen.MIT.edu research blog.
The ID Commons Legal Forum is currently planning a future online dicussion on the topic of Autonomous Councils and their potential use in the health and medicine research fields. Please reach out directly with your questions or comments.