Open Source

Transparency, collaboration, and open source principles are core to our operations. Learn more about our approach below and visit our project and github pages to see the type of open source content we create. If you have a question that isn’t listed below, send us a note.

 

Our Open Source Approach

What is an “innovation package”?

Every project that we fund creates some sort of information or material. This might be a spreadsheet, a piece of software, a slide deck, or a set of hardware schematics. We work with our partners to package these materials in a way that makes them easy for other organizations to access, understand, and use. As an example: if a project creates a piece of software, the package might include the code itself, instructional materials on using and modifying the code, and a video describing the what, why, and how of the software. All packages that we publish will be either linked to or made available for download on our Projects page.

I’m concerned about sharing my organization’s IP and proprietary market knowledge. How does this work?

We don’t want or need your organization to share sensitive information. If we are funding your project, we’ll jointly determine what will be shared and what will remain confidential. While we advocate for collaboration in the industry, we also support competitive marketplaces. We aren’t interested in disclosing a company’s core IP or competitive intelligence; just the assets that can create a shared solution for the industry.

We have a tool that can dramatically change energy access. To use the tool, another organization would need to purchase my company’s product or service. Can EnAccess fund the development of this tool?

In general, other organizations should be able to use your solution “out of the box” and free of charge. If that’s not possible, we probably aren’t the right partner to fund your project.

Can we use our work with EnAccess to create two versions of the same tool/output – i.e. an open source version and a commercial version?

In principle, yes. We’d prefer to discuss this on a case-by-case basis.

What if our project fails - and we don’t prove, demonstrate, or create what we intended to?

We understand how hard this work is and embrace “failure” as a necessary part of innovation. Failure is not a bad thing for us; as long as we are failing for the right reasons, and can capture some lessons and insight along the way, we are all good.

 

In a situation where a project doesn’t work out, we’ll work with you to publish a summary of what we learned. Being transparent about failure can help us and other organizations get better; by avoiding costly mistakes, considering how we might do things differently, or inspiring new thinking. Our view is: if other organizations can learn from your experience, then it’s not all a loss.

 

For inspiration, check out GiveWell. We’re fans of their take on failure and learning in philanthropy.