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This page discusses collaborative ventures, also called collaborative enterprises, or open venture/enterprise , herein called simply venture, in the context of the OVN model.

A ventures is larger in scope than a project, as it takes into consideration production and dissemination, on top of the development of a new idea/concept, design or prototype.

For example, the Greens for Good venture of Sensorica is the context of work in which a food processing hardware is designed, and disseminated.

Three new economic tendencies

For all three:

  • use of excess capacity;
  • access to a resource rather than its possession;
  • pooling of goods and knowledge.

Features Platform capitalism Platform coop p2p
coordination of citizens and organizations in networks or communities Hosted in privately owned and profit motivated platforms Hosted in collectively owned and public benefit oriented platforms Hosted in platforms not owned by anyone that are public benefit oriented.
a more horizontal than vertical organization of trade Hyper centralized at the platform level, command and control governance Hyper centralized at the platform level, democratic governance Decentralized at the platform level, meritocratic governance
greater ease of conducting activities or providing services Platform architecture designed with profit motive in mind, rapid evolution, good UI/UX, siloed Platform architecture designed with public benefit in mind, slow evolution, mediocre UI/UX, siloed Platform architecture designed with public benefit in mind, rapid evolution, good UI/UX, higher interoperability
intermediation, often through digital platforms Privately owned and instrumentalized for profit maximization Collectively owned and instrumentalized for public benefit Not owned and instrumentalized for public benefit

See reference

In relation to OVNi

In the NRP-CAS technical jargon a venture is a context of work with a set of goals and benefits for contributors.

Organizational structure

Within the OVN model, a venture is a new form of enterprise that adopts a network structure, i.e it is open to participation (permissionless), fully transparent and highly collaborative. Examples: all ventures incubated within the Sensorica OVN, Bitcoin, etc. Open ventures are modeled based on open source projects, anyone who can/wants to contribute can join. Calls for participation are usually broadcast through social media channels. Documentation is very prolific and it is published with public access. An open ventures can be forked and remixed (like open source).

Economic model

A venture is a self-sustaining economic operation that clusters projects into for-benefit operations. As an economic enterprise, it has capturing mechanisms, some of which can operate through exchanges (offering services) to generate revenue, which is redistributed back to all contributors.

A venture is driven by collaborative entrepreneurs, using various mechanisms to bypasses traditional centralized and controlled processes, scarce monetary currency, and the labour market.

Within an OVN structure, a venture in a for-benefit, open enterprise that relies on all tangible and intangible resources provided by the network. It carries the OVN brand, which is subject to network-level governance. Among other things, this implies that the venture must be set up in accordance with the general mission and vision of the OVN, respect its culture, use the network's IT infrastructure, employ the network's methodologies,...

Ventures have accumulation mechanisms: design and development processes is recorded, technical documents are produced, experiments are documented, etc. The accumulation serves the venture but it is also made available to other ventures within the OVN - ecosystem.

Ventures reply on planning and stigmergy for production and dissemination.

A venture comes with a more or less defined objective/goal/mission, has more or less defined deliverables (which can be a product or a service, or simply a commons), and comes with a set of incentives (intrinsic or extrinsic), related to the benefits that result from the resources that are created.

Ventures that generate tangible benefits (can be revenue in some sort of currency) must contribute to the OVN's infrastructure (physical and virtual) maintenance and development. Sensorica employs the 5% rule.

A venture is a context for a set of activities that produce resources and benefits for affiliates and at the same time that produce commons. We can say that a venture is a locus of activity where agents use resources to achieve a desired goal. See REA ontology

Ventures share their accumulations, i.e. all resources that flow through the OVN, created or acquired, can be used by any venture, under certain rules.

Ventures may have different relationships with each other. For example, one venture might create resources that are used in another venture. Some ventures can be seen as parents or children of other ventures.

Within a venture, all benefits flow back to contributors. If a product (see exchange value) is made it can be exchanged with someone that needs it (a market) for money (revenue). If a venture that produces social value is sponsored (funded by someone or some organization) those who contribute share rewards.

A venture is the lowest level where the notion of revenue enters the system. Therefore, the benefit redistribution algorithm is applied at the venture level. The contribution accounting system is applied at the resource level, because resources are used as contributions to economic processes and the system must see them as individual units.

With respect to the origin of the venture

Some ventures originate within the OVN, initiated by network affiliates. These are endogenous ventures. Examples are "Product-based projects" - see section below. Other projects originate outside of the network. We call them exogenous projects. Examples are "Service-based projects" - see section below. Some projects have mixed origin.

The difference between the two extreme categories is that exogenous ventures establish a relationship between the OVN and another entity, [[organization] or individual, which brings with it constraints responsibilities and engagements towards this other entity, but also new forms of benefits. Examples of constraints are: non disclosure clauses, intellectual property, etc. Mixed ventures can take the form of an initiative initiated by a network affiliate with some relations to external parties which can directly or indirectly benefit from this initiative.

From a social perspective

Venture is the context in which individuals interact to achieve a goal. It is a concept that everyone grasps. A venture / project attracts people with specific skills, passion and ambitions. Can form specific cultures and specific identities.

Types of ventures

Product-based ventures

The open venture

Proposed and advocated by: Tibi

Most ventures incubated within the Sensorica OVN are open.



  • still purely understood by the general public
  • doesn't inspire trust to institutions
  • suffers from lack of legitimacy
  • the openness and transparency is often incompatible with processes of traditional firms and other type of institutions, which prefer to work in silo, being competitive.

Main characteristics

  • Transparency: information related to the venture is available in a public format.
  • Openness: Since talent is acquired through collaborative platforms, these initiatives require a great deal of openness for their processes. The filtering for onboarding is not done at the entrance (no job interview, or if yes, a minimalist process, especially to evaluate the values ​​of the applicant, did). Filtering becomes an internal process based on reputation, based on what we do and how we do it. No one can be refused access to add value to a venture. Individuals who don’t respect the governance of the venture can be excluded.
  • Relations to resources
    • What can be crowdsourced will be crowdsourced - these initiatives use crowdfunding and collaborative platforms for the acquisition of monetary resources and for talent acquisition.
    • What can be shared will be shared - use shared platforms for access to physical spaces (operate in makerspaces), equipment (use tool libraries)
    • Open source: deliverables of ventures are published as Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License or some other open source license that grants commercial use rights.
  • Relation to governance: meritocratic and / or democratic, great place for individual initiatives framed by a set of rules / standards.
  • Relations to risk: we can see the contributors to collaborative initiatives as entrepreneurs (collaborative entrepreneurs) who invest in the venture in order to obtain different forms of benefits in the future (financial remuneration, networking, learning, visibility, ...) , sharing the risk. If the successful initiative everyone wins, if no, no one wins, everyone gets away with a good experience and let them go.

Relations to ownership: The initiative's assets usually take the form of shared resources (even nondominium type) and commons. Nobody has an absolute right over the fruits of the initiative (unlike private enterprise).

  • Internal relations:
    • The work is highly collaborative, using tools and methodologies specifically designed.
    • The organizational structure (roles and relationships between these roles) is emerging in context
    • Free initiative: You are strongly encouraged to take initiative in technical and nontechnical areas of the project, within the boundaries of commons sense. You must publicly announce your initiative and if anyone else in the project explicitly and publicly opposes your action stop and discuss. You need a group decision to continue. The decision making process can be lazy democracy, majority democracy or fluid democracy, depending on the importance of the issue.
    • Mobility: You are free to change roles within the venture
    • Autonomy: No one can force anyone else to do anything
    • Empowerment: You are encouraged to rate others’ reputation. See more on the Reputation system
    • Benefits: access to benefits is redistributed according to a contributions recorded in the NRP-CAS
  • Relations with the external environment
  • Work is socialized (we share progress and results on social media).
  • We create collaborative relationships with other organizations, we build synergistic relationships, ecosystemic view.

The Open and non transparent venture

This was first implemented in Sensorica during the IGC HEC project in 2013. Also, see video announcement.

The following is the message sent to the Sensorica network to set up the venture (using the Sensorica mailing main list) (NOTE: at that time, we were using the term "project"):

Hi all,
We are moving forward with the project at HEC (see below). The University asks us to sign a document of non-disclosure, to make sure that all the participants (grad students) in case competition don't get access to the info in advance. Moreover, the University wants to establish 3 individuals as primary resources in this project, who commit time to the project. Mai (the HEC prof in charge) suggested myself, Francois and Ivan.
1 Before we move forward we need to sign the non disclosure document, which also establishes that we can represent Sensorica in this case ONLY. We need you to grant us that power of representation, for this case ONLY.
NOTE1: We are using Sensorica logo/brand in this case, which is part of our commons, therefore you all have a say in it. Granting us the power to represent Sensorica in this particular case basically means trusting us that we will work in favor of our value network, that we will serve the network well, that we will only add value to the brand, not damage it.
NOTE2: The non-disclosure agreement ends on 15th of May 2013, the date of the case competition. Until then, the process is non-transparent, BUT OPEN to all affiliates of Sensorica: any affiliate of Sensorica can decide to get access to the entire process by signing the same document (see attachment) we are signing. An affiliate of Sensorica is defined in this case as an individual who has access to this mailing list. Those who don't sign will not have access to all the information. All the information will be released after the 15th of May 2013.
NOTE3: We are struggling to build an interface between an open and transparent structure like Sensorica and a classical institution, HEC. This is the best we could do after a week-long negotiation with Mai (the HEC prof in charge). In the end, this is part of the bureaucracy of HEC, because Mai is using some grants for this case competition, which takes months to setup, and many people involved.
2 We also want to know if any of you has any problem with any of us (myself, Francois and Ivan) acting as primary resources in this project, points of contact, as suggested by Mai.
The docs that are attached are the two forms we need to sign.
Let's apply lazy democracy 1 If you are against or have other suggestions please reply to this message. 2 If you agree you don't need to reply 3 If you don't care you don't need to reply

The semi-closed venture

   {need a better name for it}

Advocated by: Ivan Pavlov, add your name

Advantages: Disadvantages:

Formed by a group of individuals who cluster themselves along the lines of

Main characteristics

  • Transparency: Not all documentation is made public
  • Open Source: Some open source license - not determined yet
  • Free initiative: You are strongly encouraged to take initiative in technical and nontechnical, within the cluster, within the boundaries of commons sense. You must publicly announce your initiative and if anyone else in the project explicitly and publicly opposes your action stop and discuss. You need a group decision to continue. The decision making process can be lazy democracy, majority democracy or fluid democracy, depending on the importance of the issue.
  • Mobility: You can engage in other clusters of the venture, but most affiliates work within their cluster
  • Autonomy: No one can force anyone else to do anything
  • Empowerment: not defined yet

Service-based ventures

In 2015, Sensorica established service-based ventures and this experience sparked new discussions about contribution accounting. Service-based ventures are, in general, less resource-intensive. Therefore the initial costs (initiation contributions) are lower. Most important are rolling and support contributions. The first prototype of a contribution accounting system with a benefit redistribution algorithm was implemented by Tibi and Daniel for the FabMobile project. A better version was created for the 3D course project. See the evolution of service-based ventures in Interfaces between open organizations and classical institutions - the Sensorica experience.

Service vs Support ventures

Sensorica has distinguished between Support and Service ventures:

Structurally, the distinction between a Support venture and a Service venture is that in the case of Service there is a transactional relation established between a Client and the venture, mediated by a Custodian. In the case of Support, the venture enters into a collaborative relation with another party, a Sponsor, often a traditional organization, forming a larger network. This collaborative relation is not transactional in nature, in the sense that both, the venture and the Sponsor deploy efforts and resources for a common goal, complementing each other. In both cases, the outcome is intended for the commons, bringing into the relation a third party, the World. In terms of infrastructure and methods, in the case of the Service-type relation the Client doesn’t share the same development or production environment and coordination and communication are ensured by a lead affiliate, i.e. a liaison individual. The venture and the Client. In the case of the Support-type relation, there is a great overlap of Sponsor’s and venture’s activities within a shared infrastructure (often provided by the OVN), making them effectively form a new organization with very tight and intertwined coordination and collaboration.

Infrastructure ventures

The goal is to build infrastructure, physical (a new lab) or virtual (a website, the value accounting system, a forum, etc.). the deliverable is a tangible resource, material/physical or immaterial/virtual. These can also be projects if the scope is not wide enough and if the goal is not reaching over the boundaries of the OVN.

Funding ventures

The goal is to raise funding for capacity development (infrastructure, equipment, events) for the OVN or particular ventures.

If the scope is not so wide, these can be considered projects. If some individuals collaborate on a funding campaign for a product the funds will NOT belong to them, because they use the OVN's brand, its capacity and an existing venture to which others have contributed. So the funds must belong to the venture or sub-network. But the activity involved in organizing the funding campaign must be rewarded. A simple way to deal with incentives and redistribution is to give a % to the team who drives the campaign the moment the funds are delivered. The group can use a way to account for their contributions to the funding campaign, which can make use of the contribution accounting system.

In 2021 Sensorica introduced Community Services, which are ventures within the OVN providing support to other ventures, such as fundraising, outreach and consultancy for collaborative entrepreneurship.

Social ventures

Aim: provide value to the local community and/or to the society as a whole.

Rewards: Apart from reputation (social capital), if these ventures bring something positive to the OVN (by increasing visibility, by improving the image, etc.) contributions to these can be logged. Within Sensorica these logs are logged in the NRP-CAS against "Building Sensorica" (a project), and are rewarded from Infrastructure development and maintenance funds. Social ventures can also be funded from grants from foundations, government agencies, NGOs, private organization, or even through crowdfunding. They can even generate their own revenue, by offering small paying services.

Examples from Sensorica:

  • paid events, such as workshops or education.

See also

How Tos

How to create a new ventures?

See Sensorica's HELP document on how to create a new venture and how to kickstart a new venture.

Create the venture in the NRP-CAS

  • Go to the agents page and click on "Create New Agent" button.
  • Fill the form. Everything is kind of self explanatory, but don't forget to chose "project" in the Agent type box, and don't forget to click the "is a context agent box".
  • After that, you need to "Maintain associations". From the agents page, lick on Projects and find the project that you just created in the list. Click on it and open its page. In there, you'll find a link to "Maintain associations". You need to set up this project as a child of Sensorica project. Save the changes.

Important discussions about ventures

NOTE: at that time, the term "project" was used instead of "venture"