Sunday, September 16, 2012

Value Networks, about commercializing their products

We take the example of a specific value network, SENSORICA.

The problem

One of SENSORICA’s main reason for existence is to provide for its members/affiliates the means of subsistence and well-being. This is to say that the surplus value that is created by the network must be exchanged on the market against other values, which are to be redistributed to participants based on their relative contribution. This redistribution is done according to the value accounting system, to which all members must adhere. The goal here is to establish a channel of distribution for SENSORICA’s products. The problem is that there are laws and regulations which makes it difficult for a non-legal entity like SENSORICA to sell certain products. Someone must take the blame if those products don't respect established standards, and our society doesn't know how to interface with things like SENSORICA.


In the current situation, we need to create legally recognizable forms to channel products through them. This is actually the role Tactus Scientific Inc. plays for the Mosquito Scientific Instrument System, designed for the scientific instrument market segment.

One possible scalable solution is to create an Exchange Firm to act as a value exchange channel between the value network (SENSORICA) and the market. This was first proposed in May 2011 in the Business model 0.1 document.

The second solution proposed is to allow many such exchange channels to exist. The problem here could be coordination and an increased complexity of the value accounting system.

In any case, the license for SENSORICA's innovations is Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This gives anyone, member or nonmember of the value network, the right to commercialize its technology.

We need to realize that commercialization requires a coherent set of other processes, which includes the creation and maintenance of a supply chain, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, services, etc. Certain products, like the high tech ones, need to be rapidly improved, in order to maintain a strong market presence. This requires a continuous and rapid stream of innovation. All that is to say that commercializing a product requires an organization and some serious resources. Some of these resources can be found within the value network that created the technology in the first place. This network is an organization with strong potential for expansion. Therefore, we can assume that anyone who wishes to commercialize a technology developed by the network would be at least willing to consider maintaining some relations with the network. In fact, we believe that, in most cases, close integration with the network, which means using the network’s assets in the commercialization effort AND sharing the revenue with other network members/affiliates, according to the value accounting system, is more advantageous than going on an entirely separate commercialization venture. We’ve identified 3 options for commercialization.

The separate venture
Would be entirely cut off from the network, which means to renounce to all sorts of benefits the network might be able to provide, like access to precious know how, to academic labs that are part of the network, to an infrastructure for collaboration, to a physical infrastructure (space, equipment and tools), to other projects that might be in synergy with the one under consideration, etc. The Exchange firm is not used in this case. 

The “licensed” venture
Would maintain some relations with the network and some ability to extract value from it. This position is established by rewarding those who have contributed to the technology in question. One example is by paying some royalties to network members, based on some sort of agreement. This is similar to buying a license for commercialization from the network. The difference here is that what is really bought is NOT a commercialization right (that is already granted by the CC BY-SA 3.0 license) but a privileged access to the network. This “licensed” venture is not integrated with the network up to the value accounting system. It doesn’t need to be open and entirely transparent. It can be understood as a classical business operation, buying a limited access to an interesting pool of assets and to a fast stream of innovation. The Exchange firm doesn’t need to be used in this. 

The member venture
Would be entirely integrated into the value network, up to the value accounting system, i.e. revenues are shared according to the value equation. The venture, represented by a classic form, a company, a corporation, a co op, or something else, is actually a member of the network, which mean that it has access to all the benefits provided by the network. Openness and transparency are required. The Exchange firm can be used.

For all the options above, we need to keep in mind that anyone who uses a technology developed by the value network and released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license cannot patent it, and must share alike any remix or new development. That means that at any moment members of the value network have the right to take the work added on top of the initial technology and push it even further, without asking permission.
Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. 

Some legal tools are needed for the second and third option.
We are working on them, we also need help!

By t!b!
other SENSORICA members have also contributed
By AllOfUs

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