Business model

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What we call business models in this context are transitionary models, hybrid models that can interface with the traditional economy. In times of transition, these hybrid models assure the subsistence of OVNs, i.e. help generate fiat currency that is used to acquire goods and services that are available on the market, purchase equipment, rent a physical space or deploy digital infrastructure, among other things. Thus some ventures operate in pure p2p mode, others operate in hybrid modes. For a more general overview of the p2p economy see: economic model and peer production.

Example of business models

  • Offer DIY kits that provide required parts (non-digitally manufactured components) to build a particular tool (Zimmermann, 2014; Gibney, 2016).
  • Offer specialty parts / components, hard-to-find, custom (ex. BackYard Brains or OpenQCM both sell the most specialized and hardest to source components for their respective open hardware tools).
  • Help with calibrating and validating (scientific) hardware (can be transactional service) to provide security to prosumers who build their own tools. This provides prosumers with the confidence that their measurements or functionality are acceptably reproducible, accurate and precise.
  • Education / Training (ex. Open Source Ecology), include support. This can also follow the consulting business model (Fjelsted et al., 2012).
  • Ecosystem services: provide trust, validation, discoverability, help, a place to discuss and collaborate, etc.
  • Consultancy services offered to traditional organizations, firms, academic labs and even government, related to open innovation and open science. See OuiShare Paris, back in the early 2010's and Sensorica for examples.
  • Interface with the crowd (pioneered by Sensorica), helping traditional organizations to crowdsource R&D.

See also open business models patterns.

From Sensorica's experience

Sensorica was launched as an OVN focused on designing open source scientific instruments. In the early days, it focused mainly on product development. The intent was to design, sell and service open source scientific instruments, but the reality was other. The first revenues that were generated within the network were in the form of R&D grants in collaboration with academic institutions. Four years after its inception, Sensoricans were called to accompany traditional firms in their first explorations of new and disruptive technologies, such as IoT and Blockchain, exploring potential benefits, prototyping applications (proof of concept) that may fit with the business model, exploring new business models. Sensorica's edge was speed of innovation and more than 50% cost reduction. Sensoricans coined the phrase crowdsourced R&D on demand. In parallel, Sensoricans were also commissioned a few projects by academic labs, with the added value of increased dissemination and adoption of open source hardware, naturally achieved through the social mode of development of the network.

Sensoricans understood that they can position the OVN in innovation, which is "the new gold" in high tech markets. Thus, Sensorica was "sold" as an interface with the crowd through which traditional organizations can engage in open source development, accelerate innovation and cut development costs.

Interfaces between open and traditional organizations the Sensorica experience

See also