What kind of economy are we moving to? 3. A hierarchy of engagement between companies and communities

The ladder of Participation

I have reworked Roger Hart’s Ladder of Participation to account for the different modalities of community-corporate cooperation and engagement, based on the key variable of who controls the overall framework.

Indeed, despite its usefullness, I find that Xavier Comtesse’s approach presents a limited view of use of social innovation by corporations only, thereby leaving out autonomous peer production.

The following is a rework of Xavier’s proposal, with documentary links showing which practices correspond. I have formulated it from the point of view of a corporate institution.

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. Company-based Crowdsourcing. The company organizes a value chain which lets the wider public produce the value, but under the control of the company.

See the examples of Crowdsourced Design, Crowdsourced Advertizing and Crowdfunding.

5. Co-design: you set the parameters, but you design it together

For examples, see here http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Co-Design

This is possible because the process of Mass Amateurization has created what Charles Leadbeater calls the Pro-Am Revolution and users are now demanding a say in how their products are designed.

Customers are creating their media, their networks (see also here http://www.p2pfoundation.net/User-Capitalized_Networks); they are demanding Customer-centric Brands

6. 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.

For examples, see here http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Co-Creation

7. Sharing communities create the value, Web 2.0 proprietary platforms, attempt to monetize participation.

See my concept of Netarchical Capitalism which tries to account for the new role of such platforms.

Here should also fit the network of minipreneurs that we discussed earlier. Sharing communities do not care about monetization, but minipreneurs do, but they have a similar relationship to proprietary platforms.

See the items on Revenue-Sharing and Rewards for Contributions.

8. Peer production proper: communities create the value, using a Commons, with assistance from corporations who attempt to create derivative streams of value. Linux is the paradigmatic example.

Production without manufacturer is now possible and the open source software is showing a thriving ecology of cooperation between communities and businesses.

See our entry on Open Source Commercialization and on the specific Open Source or Free Software Business Models

There is no reason that this model of self-organized open peer to peer design communities should be confined to the world of software and would not be able to do physical product design .

Agro-blogger writes:

Let us imagine an active online community participating in vibrant discussions and sharing of Appropriate Technology plans and experiences. Let us imagine the AT equivalent of a sourceforge.net, a place where designers and field workers can go to download plans of greenhouses, beehives, water pumps, animal traction implements, and biodiesel equipment. And, within the legal framework of an AT General Public License (GPL), those plans can be used freely, modified, and republished under the same AT GPL. IRC channels dedicated to specific programmatic areas could serve as a dynamic forum where “newbies” can gain wisdom and insight from experienced field practitioners.”

We can foresee new models that combine Open Design Communities , and separate physical production of physical commodities.

See our category here http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Category:Design for an idea of how much movement there is in this sector

What is being built or designed right now?

The Grid Beam Building System, at http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Grid_Beam_Building_System

The Hexayurt, at http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Hexayurt

Movisi Open Design Furniture, at http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Movisi_Open_Design_Furniture

Open Cores, at http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Open_Cores and other Open Computing Hardware, at http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Open_Hardware

Open Source Green Vehicle, at http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Open_Source_Green_Vehicle

Open Source Scooter http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Open_Source_Scooter

The Ronja Wireless Device at http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Twibright_Ronja_Open_Wireless_Networking_Device

Open Source Sewing patterns, at http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Open_Source_Sewing_Patterns

Velomobiles http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Open_Source_Velomobile_Development_Project

Open Energy http://www.p2pfoundation.net/SHPEGS_Open_Energy_Project

9. Peer production with cooperative production: peer producers create their own vehicles for monetization.

The OS Alliance is an example of this

Equity-based licenses are being designed for this practice

10. Peer production communities or sharing communities place themselves explicitely outside of the monetary economy.

This is the domain of the Adventure Economy :

“”We coin the term adventure economy to refer to a gift economy that is pay-forward, in-person, global and among strangers. In any economy, there are challenges in allocating resources effectively and avoiding abuse, but these are of special concern in non-market economies among strangers, where we don’t have the information mechanisms of the price system nor of social relations, and we are also missing the risk-reduction mechanisms of contracts.”

The Center for Adventure Economics is trying to define metrics for this

A wide variety of Peer to Peer Exchanges has already been created for such sharing and there are many initiatives to create a better technical infrastructure so that even more social cooperation can occur

3 Comments What kind of economy are we moving to? 3. A hierarchy of engagement between companies and communities

  1. Agroblogger

    It has been two years since I wrote the post referenced in this article. Since that time, Open Source AT has made strides beyond my imagination. One thing we clearly lack, for better or for worse, is a common framework. The fact that appropedia, instructables.com, and howtopedia all exist (to name a few) exist side by side is a wonderful thing, but it begs the question: how can we use similar, standard formats? I think a software application that acts as the “glue” for these communities might go a long way in bridging this gap, as I no longer believe a “sourceforge” type community will emerge from this phenomenon. But, how about a desktop application that organizes critical content for us, and then automatically updates different web-based respositories on the web? The software can take the work out of organizing documentation, CAD files, GIS objects, photographs, etc, and it will also retrieve other such changes made by the community in real time via the web.

    Sure, my idealized software is pure fantasy right now, but the concept is fairly simple and should be standards based. If the OSAT community could galvanize around this project, I think a community-minded group could get some of the GNU/Linux types on board to actually build the thing. Then maybe howtopedia or appropedia would become more like a torrent tracker a la Pirate Bay. This is definitely something worth looking into.

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