Open Business Model Sectors

Sector Mandelbrot by Anders Sandberg CC BY

Open business models made with Creative Commons exist in a wide variety of sectors and domains.

As part of our Kickstarter campaign we invited people to nominate businesses they think we should profile. To narrow down the nomination list we generated a set of criteria. We’re looking for:

  • geographic diversity
  • industry/domain diversity
  • mix of creators and platforms
  • no unicorns. Business model should be replicable (or at least some lessons from the model that can be reused by others)
  • mix of business models (advertising, physical goods, services, live performances, etc)
  • CC licensing must be more than incidental to the model
  • no business model completely reliant on grant funding
  • must be CC licensing specifically, not software or other open licenses

Using that criteria and the nominations we received we generated a list of almost 80 organizations as potential candidates to profile. Backers of our campaign were given votes to cast for the businesses, creators, or organizations they want see us profile. So we put the list of candidates out to backers for voting.

I found it fascinating this week to see that the largest number of votes coming in was for organizations in the 3D Design / Open Hardware category.

The 3D design and open hardware sector isn’t always top of mind when you talk to people about Creative Commons. If this sector is new to you I encourage you to check out Open Design Now and Makers — The New Industrial Revolution.

As with many other technologies 3D modelling software has become more powerful and more affordable for every day users. Many 3D designs have been created and licensed under Creative Commons licenses that allow others to reuse and customize those designs for their own purposes. Those designs can then be 3D printed or laser cut into physical goods of all types. The emergent open business models are supporting a move from mass manufacturing to personal manufacturing.

Votes came in for organizations in a range of sectors and I began to imagine a structure for our book based on industry/sector clusters. Using votes as an indicator of level of interest I came up with the following industry/sectors:

  • 3D Design / Open Hardware
  • Education
  • Publishers
  • Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums (GLAM)
  • Music Platforms
  • Publishing Platforms
  • Authors/Musicians/Journalists/Artists
  • Open Data

This is by no means a comprehensive list of sectors but it’s illustrative of the wide range of sectors in which open business models using Creative Commons exist. I found it useful as a potential structure for our book and began to identify three businesses in each category to profile.

I think it could be very interesting to compare and contrast open business models of organizations in the same sector. How are they similar? How are they different? Is there open business model diversity in a sector or are the models more or less all the same?

We want the profiles to be replicable. Organizing by sector will allow readers to first look at the examples in the sector they themselves are in and gain insights into open business model strategies they could adopt and use themselves.

I’m also very interested in ensuring the organizations we profile have global diversity. Nominations that we received tended to be primarily for US based companies so going forward I’m seeking more international examples. I’m wondering “Do open business models differ across cultures and regions?”

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