Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to play the open game in the present and future economy

This is the forth draft; it will evolve based on your feedback. Come back later for more... 
Last modified on September 02, 2013

More and more value comes in the form of open products. We have grown accustomed with open communities creating open soft-and hardware. Most of these communities are based on gift economies, i.e. the creators of these open artifacts are not directly rewarded in a tangible way for their contributions. The most popular examples are GNU-Linux and Wikipedia.

Recently, we have witnessed the emergence of new models that brake away from the gift economy, directly rewarding those who invest (time, financial capital, social capital, ...) in open projects. The open product is gradually becoming sustainable. The first step in this direction can be illustrated by Open Source Ecology, which designs open hardware for farming, construction and manufacturing. The designs are  entirely open and free, but the Open Source Ecology community is not interested in the market economy, their designs target DIY communities. Their revenue model is based on donations. 

Open crowdsourcing is a model in which 
designers, part of an (open) community, are rewarded but not in proportion to their contributions. The organizations who capture the value of  the products don't share the profits with the individuals who help design them in a fair way. They give away some symbolic gifts, reputation tokens, sometimes can hire prominent members of their open communities, which dosn't reflect the entire value added to the product. Arduino is one example of such model, a hybrid between the open (value) network OVN and classical business. 

There are also closed and non-transparent crowdsourcing initiatives in which only a very few participants are rewarded. Contributors are placed in competition against each other. The resultant products are closed and remain under the control of the initiator. We are definitely against this new form of human exploitation, as you can see in this post

SENSORICA is based on a more radical model (referred to as an open value network) of commons-based peer design production. It is in fact a mix between a gift economy and a transaction-based, or market economy. SENSORICA produces products to be exchange on the market. All the revenue generated is redistributed to all contributors in proportion to their contributions, based on a value equation, which is at the heart of the value accounting system