Funded vs. Unfunded Standards Development

Keith W. Boone | Healthcare IT News | August 26, 2013

I've noticed a trend of late.  A significant number of standards efforts are being pushed forwards by funded projects, instead of through unfunded initiatives.  I'd call them "volunteer-led" initiatives, but in an SDO, there are few real volunteers.  I get paid by my employer to participate in standards activities, as do most people I know who are involved.  It is simply a matter direct vs. indirect economic benefit.

What I find disturbing about this trend is that unfunded initiatives that get significant industry backing are where I think the gold is in standardization.  And all these funded initiatives mean that there is more competition for volunteers and mindshare (yes, volunteers still contribute a big chunk to funded efforts) .  It makes it difficult to develop truly innovative efforts.

Let's look at a couple of examples on either side: