DERI Galway produced an insightful open day on their developments in the semantic web of linked data. While I listened, two thoughts kept recurring that I want to explore. Chances are I am preaching to the choir but shucks, just in case I am not...
For a web architecture of the future look at Unhosted
At the root of the problem of siloed data and fragmentation (the database hugging phenomena) is the issue of ownership. Institutions have data that they don't really own because that data is of a personal nature. The collection of data is theirs, but not the individual components.
With Unhosted, the ownership problem is turned on its head. Users and aggregators of data only have a 'handle' (a URI) to personal data. A handle that is only useable with permission. Collections of data containing 'handles' can safely be shared. Granted, lots of issues need to be ironed out, but I think the architecture is on the right track and the concept is bang on.
Open source your research
Lots of what you do is plumbing. For new plumbing to be broadly adopted it needs to be better and it needs to be cheap. Publish and be damned. If the research is great the plumbing will proliferate at very little cost. If it does proliferate, you continue to research and innovate and profit above the new infrastructure, it is all good. If it does not proliferate..., well open source was not the problem!
Enterprise Ireland: open source can be a viable business model for shared infrastructure research. It is a world of constant iterative improvement. The profits are smaller but the rewards are greater because simply put, value shared is value multiplied.
In essence, open innovation puts the focus on execution rather than protection, if puts everyone on the front foot.