Peer production from the point of view of corporations: a hierarchy of engagement

In this post, I’d like to do a thought experiment, in which, on the basis of being inspired by the Direct Economy concept of Xavier Comtesse, extend the model to pure peer production.

For background see also the recent discussion on engagement that has been doing the rounds of the Blogosphere.

  1. Consumers: you make, they consume. The classic model.
  2. Self-service: you make, they go get it themselves. This is where consumers start becoming prosumers, but the parameters of the cooperation are totally set by the producing corporation. It’s really not much more than a strategy of externalization of costs. Think of ATM’s and gas stations. We could call it simple externalization.
  3. Do-it-yourself: you design, they make it themselves. One step further, pioneered by the likes of Ikea, where the consumers, re-assembles the product himself. Complex externalization of business processes.
  4. Co-design: you set the parameters, but you design it together. It is important to see the distinction between phase 4 and 5. In stage 4, the corporation sets the parameters, but allows input in the design phase. I can’t come up with an example right now.
  5. Co-creativity: you both create cooperatively. In this stage, the corporation does not even set the parameters, the prosumer is an equal partner in the development of new products. Perhaps the industrial model of the adventure sports material makers would fit here.
  6. Peer production: they create, you assist and enable. This is the current open source model with Linux; whereby the peer producing community essentially produces the product, but with assistance from corporations; and with some corporations creating derivative streams. The Web 2.0 makers of participatory platforms, which enable but attempt to monetize participation, also fit in this category.
  7. Peer production with cooperative production: peer producers create their own vehicles for monetization. I don’t know many examples of this, but here the peer producers not only create the commons, but also create separate vehicles for this; and these vehicles are cooperative themselves, i..e. they are geared to equity amongst the participants. Here we could probably make a difference between vehicles that are a priori controlled by those taking the initiative, (would that be the case with the the Mozilla Foundation?), and others were the nonprofit and/or cooperative venture is explicitely democratic and aims to include the whole community of peer producers.

2 Comments Peer production from the point of view of corporations: a hierarchy of engagement

  1. Pingback: OpenBusiness » Blog Archive » A new idea about Opening Business

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