A brief overview of key strategies organizations use when integrating Creative Commons into their business model. Strategies describe ways in which organizations can do this to become more sustainable.
Presentation given at OEGlobal 17 March 9, 2017 in Cape Town
As part of our Kickstarter campaign we invited people to nominate businesses they think we should profile. We got hundreds of suggestions. To narrow down the nomination list we generated a set of criteria.: 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
Generated a short list of almost 80 organizations as potential candidates to profile. Backers of our campaign were given votes to cast for which ones we should profile. 12 chosen based on votes and 12 by Sarah and I
Potentially interesting to compare and contrast models within a sector and between sectors. How are they similar? How are they different? Is there diversity or are the models more or less all the same? Global diversity - Do models differ across cultures and regions?”
All case studies involve an unusual invitation.
They are sharing textbooks, music, data, art, more. People, organizations, and businesses all over the world are sharing their work using Creative Commons licenses because they want to encourage the public to reuse their works, to copy them, to modify them.
They are Made with Creative Commons.
But if they are giving their work away to the public for free, how do you make money? This is the question this book sets out to answer.
The 24 in-depth examples reveal different ways to sustain what you do when you share your work. There are lessons, about how to make money but also about what sharing really looks like -- why we do it and what it can bring to the economy and the world.
But as we did our research, something interesting happened. Our initial way of framing the work did not match the stories we were hearing. Those we interviewed were not typical businesses selling to consumers and seeking to maximize profits and the bottom line. Instead, they were sharing to make the world a better place, creating relationships and community around the works being shared, and generating revenue not for unlimited growth but to sustain the operation.
This invitation is especially relevant in the digital context. Processing power, bandwidth and storage all doubling every 18-24 months while prices go down - not up. Cost of copying and distributing almost $0. Mass participation in culture - photographers, writers, videos, … We all are creators.
What if we focused on abundance rather than artificial scarcity? Focused on creating a commons rather than private property?
Social mission Moral decision - set of values Values = access to all, maximize participation, generate value collectively, spur innovation, bring people together for a commons cause
Anyone, anywhere in the world can download furniture designs for local making creating an eco-friendly alternative to mass-production. (Opendesk)
Make research articles discoverable, freely available, and reproducible immediately on publication for the advancement of science. (PLOS)
Contribute to a more informed citizenry and healthy democratic discourse by injecting facts and evidence into the public arena. (The Conversation)
Creating, sharing, and celebrating the world’s visual language. A visual language that can be understood by all cultures and people. (Noun Project)
Connect, equip and inspire people around the world to innovate with data. (Open Data Institute)
A world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. (Wikimedia)
“Profit is not the goal, it is the outcome of a well-executed plan. We focus on having a bigger impact on the world.” (SparkFun)
Prosocial human connection. A move from transaction to interaction. One of the ways we define ourselves is by sharing valuable and entertaining content. Sharing grows and nourishes relationships, seeks to change opinions, encourages action, and informs others about who we are and what we care about. Sharing lets us feel more involved with the world
Sustainability involves combining social good, with human connection, to generate revenue. Means of generating money falls into two broad categories - Market based and reciprocity based.
Market based In the market, the central question when determining how to bring in revenue is what value people are willing to pay for. By definition, if you are Made with Creative Commons, the content you provide is available for free and not a market commodity. Like the ubiquitous freemium business model, any possible market transaction with a consumer of your content has to be based on some added value you provide.
Reciprocity based Even if we set aside grant funding, we found that the traditional economic framework of understanding the market failed to fully capture the ways the endeavors we analyzed were making money. It was not simply about monetizing scarcity. Rather than devising a scheme to get people to pay money in exchange for some direct value provided to them, many of the revenue streams were more about providing value, building a relationship, and then eventually finding some money that flows back out of a sense of reciprocity. While some look like traditional nonprofit funding models, they aren’t charity.
Revenue is seen as enabling social mission, sustaining operation, and funding innovation - not fueling unlimited growth.
Historically, there have been three ways to manage resources and share wealth: the commons (managed collectively), the state (i.e., the government), and the market—with the last two being the dominant forms today.
The organizations and businesses in our case studies are unique in the way they participate in the commons while still engaging with the market and/or state. The extent of engagement with market or state varies.
Some operate primarily as a commons with minimal or no reliance on the market or state. Wikimedia is 100% a commons Financial means generated through donations - no market transactions, no state subsidies or grants. Orange bar = % commons
And still others are hybrids of all three. Rijksmuseum is primarily state funded but has a store and admission fee. Makes hundreds of thousands of high quality digital images of its collection available under CC0 and encourages entrepreneurial use through RijksStudio and award.
It’s helpful to understand how the commons, market, and state manage resources differently, and not just for those who consider themselves primarily as a commons. For businesses or governmental organizations who want to engage in and use the commons, knowing how the commons operates will help them understand how best to do so. Participating in and using the commons the same way you do the market or state is not a strategy for success.
The Four Aspects of a Resource As part of her Nobel Prize–winning work, Elinor Ostrom developed a framework for analyzing how natural resources are managed in a commons. Her framework considered things like the biophysical characteristics of common resources, the community’s actors and the interactions that take place between them, rules-in-use, and outcomes. That framework has been simplified and generalized to apply to the commons, the market, and the state.
To compare and contrast the ways in which the commons, market, and state work, let’s consider four aspects of resource management: resource characteristics, the people involved and the process they use, the norms and rules they develop to govern use, and finally actual resource use along with outcomes of that use.
Beyond this idea of physical versus digital, the commons, market, and state conceive of resources differently. The market sees resources as private goods—commodities for sale—from which value is extracted. The state sees resources as public goods that provide value to state citizens. The commons sees resources as common goods, providing a common wealth extending beyond state boundaries, to be passed on in undiminished or enhanced form to future generations.
History of the commons
Part analysis, part handbook, part collection of case studies, this book is a guide to sharing your knowledge and creativity with the world, and sustaining your operation while you do. Going from a proprietary all-rights-reserved model to one that lets others copy, reuse, and modify your work is a big change. Made with Creative Commons describes the mindshift, the benefits, and the practices that come with going “open.” It makes the case that sharing is good for business, especially for companies, organizations, and creators who care about more than just the bottom line. Full of practical advice and inspiring stories, Made with Creative Commons is a book that will show you what it really means to share.
This is a book about sharing. It is about sharing textbooks, music, data, art, more. People, organizations, and businesses all over the world are sharing their work using Creative Commons licenses because they want to encourage the public to reuse their works, to copy them, to modify them. They are Made with Creative Commons.
But if they are giving their work away to the public for free, how do they make money?
This is the question this book sets out to answer. There are 24 in-depth examples of different ways to sustain what you do when you share your work. And there are lessons, about how to make money but also about what sharing really looks like -- why we do it and what it can bring to the economy and the world.
Made With Creative Commons
Associate Director of Global Learning
March 9, 2017
Except where otherwise noted presentation licensed using
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0
Images by Bryan Mathers http://bryanmmathers.com/
1,687 backers. Thank you backers!
A Book About
Open Business Models
Interview 24 businesses, creators, and organizations across sectors and from around the
world who have made Creative Commons core to their operations.
Tell their stories in a way that conveys their origins, goals, what they do, and how they do it.
Describe their sustainability strategy including revenue generation.
Analyse the stories and identify common practices, themes, and strategies.
Combine case study analysis with a review of related literature.
Generate a a big picture framework for contextualizing, thinking about, and analyzing Made
With Creative Commons initiatives.
Provide Made With Creative Commons recommendations and guidance.
Produce and distribute Made With Creative Commons as ebook and physical print book.
Not Business As Usual
Not about maximizing profit and getting rich
Not about restricting access
Not about monetization of commodities
Not about extraction, consumption, selling to the highest bidder
Not solely about the bottom line
MADE WITH = Business Unusual
Be human - express gratitude
Design for good actors
Be open and accountable
State principles and stick to them
Give more than you take
Involve people in what you do
Enable hands on engagement with
Build a community
Get discovered - find your people
Grow a larger audience
Get attribution and name
Sharing = marketing
Boost reach and impact
Value add custom service
Charge content creators
Licensing & trademark
Pay what you want
Crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Patreon, …)
+ Social Good + Human Connection + $