by Chris McGivern and SF Team, 6 November 2017
“What industries, sectors and domains do you fund?”
We hear this a lot. It’s a common question asked of the Shuttleworth Foundation, both by potential investors and potential fellows. Here are three possible responses:
Allow us to explain…
We are open to ideas
The Shuttleworth Foundation places immense importance on open practices and requests that all our potential fellows embrace and display the same values. But because we expect openness, we must also provide it in everything we do.
We tried creating lists of preferred fields in the past, but found it restrictive, as it often resulted in the most innovative, transformative ideas being unnecessarily cast aside.
Having the flexibility to choose, find inspiration and engage with open ideas from the unlikeliest and most surprising fields is now essential to our funding philosophy.
Ideas matter, not industries
Our big vision is to support bright people with brilliant ideas that make the world a better place through open practice.
Concepts are welcome from any sector - we fund ideas in a broad range of fields, from technology and music through to manufacturing and law. We seek people with new perspectives and vision to create the foundational assets others will build on in the future.
Our goal is to find solutions. We don’t have all the answers - and we don’t even know all the questions. We rely on our applicants to inspire us, inform us and persuade us with exceptional, courageous thinking that makes a difference.
In short, if you have an idea based on openness, connectedness, and innovation, we welcome it, regardless of industry or domain.
The right question
Backing a narrow range of industries limits our potential to uncover real innovation in several ways:
So, in our minds, the real question is not who, or which industries, we fund. It’s why we fund that is most important:
In our experience, social change is more likely to happen when individuals can cross reference sectors, collaborate, and lay open foundations for future iterations.
It’s magic, of sorts, that is bigger than any one sector, industry, or domain – which is why we are open in funding, as well as philosophy.