Introducing DIDIY D6.3: Open Business Models

Open Business Model framework

Digital DIY is a socio-technical phenomenon in the transition between the consumption society towards a new, emerging economic system. In this report we review a series of hardware projects that maximise the potential for collaboration, replication, reuse and personalisation. They are cases of Digital DIY following a so called open business model. Open Business Models can be understood as those models that encourage sharing of knowledge under open licenses, from free to some rights reserved. Digital DIY at its core is about knowledge sharing and to do things oneself or together, with a digital component. Sharing knowledge openly or freely is often considered in tension with a viable business model. And it certainly is challenging to make all digital components of a project available online with the legal conditions to freely replicate: it allows anyone to compete with the original project.

As these projects are developed in and by a community, we wonder how come the community is not walking away to some other (forked) project? How does the community influence strategic decisions, or in other words: what governance model do they follow? These and other questions we try to answer for each case, in a structured set of case studies. In the report we take a holistic approach and look at licensing, revenue models, modes of production, governance, impact and other aspects.

We present cases ranging from electronics (Arduino, Raspberry Pi and C.H.I.P.) to 3D printing and digital fabricators (RepRap global community, Repap BCN 3D Technologies, LulzBot and GoodEnoughCNC), biochemical lab robot (OpenTrons), furniture and open design (SketchChair, OpenDesk, Wikihouse) and community networks (, The Things Network and Flood.Network).

We hope these cases to inspire and illustrate some of the challenges, and ways in which communities seek ongoing sustainability of their individual and collective projects.

Case Studies on Legal Aspects and Open Business Models: Deliverable 6.3