Just one more thing....

There is just one more thing to add, in the description given here of the future of PIEs and the PIElink's financing and income re-investment plans.

But for this, it's move the tone, from the second and third person ('we' and he') to the first - 'I' and 'me'.

For any who aren't already aware of this, it was me, Robin Johnson, the founder and (still, currently) editor of the PIElink, that first proposed the idea of 'a psychologically informed environment'; first formulated the original 'PIEs 1'(or 'classic') version, then organised the working group to develop the up-dated version, PIEs 2; then developed the Pizazz; and then the PIE Abacus.

Until the PIE Abacus came along, all this has been simply given away, for free.

But with the prospect that the PiE Abacus could bring in significant income, to be re-invested in the PIEs and complex needs sector work, there is also the option for me to retain some portion of this, for my own use and purposes. If so, should I?

I have given this a great deal of thought; and that is just what I now propose to do.

Let's first see how; and then why.


Authorship and 'Intellectual Property'

Technically, as the author, I own the intellectual property ('IP') of the Pizazz; and also all the supporting content I had created for promotion and marketing on the PIElink, over the years. Whilst I chose to make the Pizazz on paper free to use, on a creative commons basis, that permission does not extend to the electronic version, over which I still hold the 'IP'. It is this ownership that would allow me to licence and charge for the use of the IP when used in the PIE Abacus; and it is this that first gave the PIElink some prospects for an initially modest but sustainable future (HERE)

The situation becomes more complex with the prospects of significant growth by raising subscription charges for allowing access to the PIElink and its activities for vocational training (HERE). Hitherto,  IP and 'ownership' of PIElink page content is not constrained in the same way as the PIE Abacus IP. With some very rare exceptions (a few videos) all my authored content on the PIElink, although mine, is not covered by copyright.

However, in parallel with creating a company, PIRAN (HERE), to manage and re-invest the PIE Abacus income as a social enterprise, I have now created a second - and this time, entirely personal - fund, under the name of 'Fertile Imagination Incorporated', or "FI'.

Unlike PIRAN, which is destined to be a not-for-profit (NFP) company at some point*, Fertile Imagination is and will remain a private limited company (a 'PLC'), although the stated purpose of this company is actually philanthropic: to promote creativity in ANY field of human endeavour; and as sole director, I intend to keep complete control over how that may be spent.

It is now this company, Fertile Imagination (FI, for short) that henceforth holds and manages all my IP on my behalf; technically, in fact, FI licences this IP to PIRAN, which then licences it to Opeus, specifically to be used to promote PIEs via re-investment of the income.

But FI licences the IP to PIRAN for a consideration - a proportion of what PIRAN charges to Opeus. That proportion is currently set at 10% of the total income from the PIE Abacus.

But pro tem, as needed, I can nevertheless choose NOT to charge,  over this start up period, but instead to commit all 10% of Fertile Imagination income to the same purpose: developing and promoting PIEs, the PIElink as the information channel, and the PIE Abacus as the income stream that will continue this, into the future.

Over this period, PIRAN has in any case all of the remaining licence income (initially 20% of the total, rising to 40% as and when the company is able to take on the full burden of administration of accounts) on promotion, marketing and development; including maintaining the PIElink, for so long as it is felt to be a useful resource.

This rather convoluted (and typically idiosyncratic) arrangement needs some explanation.

So - why?

Essentially the creation of a company with philanthropic intent means that I will then be in a position to operate as a philanthropist, with some part of the PIE Abacus income (the rest - the bulk - being given away, via PIRAN); and I am then free to invest in or promote creativity in any sphere; not, that is, just in homelessness and complex needs work.

However, it is not as simple as that.

Having thought long and hard about this, I have decided that I really ought to be also putting aside some funds for my own personal use, for my own personal security. Since leaving my post as a social work team manager in the year 2000, through preferring on so many occasions NOT to charge for my time as a consultant and author, I have had a huge drop in income, and could put away nothing more to enhance my pension.

Although I live comfortably, I have no buffer for care costs, should I eventually need them; or even for runaway inflation; or even to travel.

But it helps no-one if I have to worry about my own survival. It will cramp my style; and I besides should certainly like to be able to travel, even on PIE-related business, without having to justify my time to the company; or to charge for my time, to charge those I might visit, as I had had to do in the past.

My first priority then remains the promotion and development of PIEs; and for the immediate future, in the 'start up' phase, I have taken none of the PIRAN income for Fertile Imagination. Only as and when PIRAN has sufficient income will I syphon off some; and even then, only up to a maximum of the current 10% of the income.

Even there I propose to impose a maximum in the total amount, over time. When I have made up for the loss of earnings from when I began as a freelance, compared to what I would have earned, had I stayed as a social work team manager, after that I will take no more from Fertile Imagination.

This is a very unusual arrangement, it's true. But then, I am in a very unusual position.




*In UK law, you cannot in fact simply convert a PLC into a NFP company; you must create a new one, and transfer the assets of the PLC to the new company. As and when the successor company, the future social enterprise, is created, it will take over PIRAN's assets and management of licences, including the agreement with FI. The difference is that the new company, as a social enterprise:

  • will have the 'assets lock' that in law ensures its fund can only be spent on its founding purpose - the promotion of PIEs and re-investment of PIE Abacus income; and
  • will be accountable to a board of directors, on which we hope to see community representation; but
  • will be free to maintain and develop the PIElink, or not, as seems most useful.









Further reading and viewing

FAQs: Costs and sustainability: HERE

The PIE Abacus: costs, licence arrangements and income re-investment (video): COMING SOON


Fertile Imagination, Inc.: HERE

Yet more small print: HERE

And now a word for our sponsors: HERE

The homelessness sector as potential beneficiaries:  HERE

Is this the future of vocational training?: HERE

Is this the future of academic publishing?:  HERE

How audio-visuals add value to academic publishing: HERE