The Open Business Models Initiative

Sharing Ideas for Commons-Based Social Enterprises
Paul Stacey

[Editor's note: last month, Creative Commons launched their open business models initiative, which seeks to provide models for sustainable, commons-based businesses. The project utilizes a standard business model canvas, modified for commons-based businesses, which contributors fill-in to describe their business model and then share with the community.  So far, contributions include models for on-line mathematics coures and for a language learning smartphone app especially geared towards small languages.  For ways to participate in the project, read this activity guide or visit the Open Business Model community on Google+.]

cross-posted from Creative Commons

Creative Commons has long celebrated everyone who uses our licenses. TeamOpen profiles give a good sense of the diversity of use and purpose. The creative ways individuals, not-for-profits, governments, and businesses use our licenses is inspiring.

For every TeamOpen example there are many others who want to move in that direction but don’t know how. The question we frequently hear is, “How do I earn a living, pay the bills, and keep the lights on if I openly license my work and give it away for free?” This question is asked not just by entrepreneurs but by people in non-profits and government too.

We are pleased to announce, through gracious funding from the Hewlett Foundation, that we’re launching a Creative Commons open business models initiative aiming squarely at showing how our licenses can, and are, used by businesses, non-profits, and governments.

We aim to help businesses see how to use and contribute to the commons in a way that aligns with the norms and values of the commons, while at the same time operating as a business. We want to show what sustainability models look like. We’re planning to generate designs for how to move from closed to open. We want to provide models for businesses whose aim is to provide products and services that have both economic and social value. We aim to make visible how open business models work and provide tools and strategies for designing and developing your own.

We want to do this work in a community-based way with all of you. So this blog post is an open call for participation.

The Creative Commons open business models initiative provides you with a set of interactive tools which you can use to design your own open business models. You can use the tools to model anything from a new startup open business to an existing open business, or something in between.

The Creative Commons open business models initiative asks you to share the models you come up with including your analysis of your own models and provide suggestions for improvement of the open business model tools themselves.

Creative Commons invites you to participate in these open business model activities:

  1. Join us in designing, developing, and iterating a set of interactive Creative Commons open business model tools that anyone can use to design an open business model.
  2. Use these open business model tools yourself to generate your own open business model(s).
  3. Share the results of your participation including the open business models you generate.
  4. Provide feedback and recommendations for improving the Creative Commons open business model tools and process.
  5. Partner directly with Creative Commons on developing an open business model for your specific initiative.
  6. Participate in a Creative Commons workshop on generating open business models.
  7. Contribute to a Creative Commons open business models report.

See our Creative Commons Open Business Models Participation Activities document for further details on each of these activities, including specifics for participation, and links to the tools.

We’re excited about doing this work with all of you and growing the commons through open business models.

Originally published under a CC-BY 4.0 International license

 

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About the author: 

Paul Stacey, Associate Director of Global Learning—Paul is a senior project manager with Creative Commons. His project management skills were honed at Hughes Aircraft working on large scale, international air traffic control systems. Paul’s core expertise is in adult learning, educational technology, and open education. Prior to joining Creative Commons, Paul led Open Educational Resource (OER) and professional development initiatives across all the colleges and universities in British Columbia Canada. Paul’s firsthand experiences using Creative Commons’ licenses with faculty, institutions, and government inspired him to join Creative Commons. Paul is an avid outdoor and ping pong enthusiast.