Institution that shares and deals in ideas?

I saw two TED talks this weekend. They were:

Rachel Botsman: The case for collaborative consumption


Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex

The focus of the first TED talk was how sharing is going to be more important in the future and the great things sharing can do.

The second talk dealt with how ideas and information sharing breed on themselves and create a collective brain that drives human progress.

After I watched these two talks I thought that what we really need is an institution that deals with sharing and with ideas. Does anyone know if historically there has been an institution that has dealt in these two areas?