[open-development] [ciresearchers] FW: Promoting open business models?

Tim Davies tim at practicalparticipation.co.uk
Mon Jan 28 08:43:18 UTC 2013

Dear Kiringai, (cc back to the open-development at lists.okfn.org list where
the discussion started)

Many thanks for this reply - it highlights really well the tensions between
the move towards openness and the practical realities of the markets,
funding structures and theories of business we operate within.

The distinction you make between developing with open platforms, and
building solutions or products that are open, is really useful. It asks us
whether open development is just about open inputs; or outputs also
(complicated by the fact that the output from one value chain may be the
input into another...).

I find it hard to see arguments against the idea that at some point in the
value-chain there needs to be a finite or excludable resource in order to
generate revenue. In many open business models this ends up being a
service, rather than information or physical product, but often with a
strong cross-subsidy from a small number of users as in freemium models
(and services are perhaps trickier to set up without investment; whereas
selling information can scale smoothly and be bootstrapped). The challenge
perhaps is working out which sorts of goods, when kept open further along
the value chain, bring the most benefits, and which are distributed more
effectively when more closed models are adopted.

I certainly think this would be a great area for more of the open knowledge
community to engage in. I'll try and find out at the OKFs meeting next week
if any of other working groups such as open economics are exploring this,
or whether it might be something to encourage shared work to explore...

All the best


*(A note just in case it was interpreted otherwise - there was no criticism
at all of Strathmore intended in my original post; I was impressed by what
I saw when visiting, and just thought that the questions of openness it
raised were an interesting area of discussion for the open-development
community to explore...)

On Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 8:20 AM, Kiringai Kamau <kiringai at gmail.com> wrote:

> Tim,
> My name is Kiringai. I want to declare my interests in this matter as an
> adjunct faculty of Strathmore where I participate in their food and
> agribusiness programmes.
> That said, I can now try to be open on this matter by stating that the
> challenge of being a learning organization that has to fund its operations
> for existence using internally generated funds places Strathmore in a
> situation that makes their open solutions not be very open. And given that
> they have to motivate their students as well as staff, if there are no
> funds flowing in, they will be just another good organization.
> Demonstrating how the students can make money through innovation is part
> and parcel of their being part of the business school. To that extent,
> their solutions are only developed using open platforms for not so open
> existence. They are therefore quasi open.
> It would definitely be exciting for Dr. Sevilla if there is a way of
> benefiting from being a more engaged member of the open foundation so that
> they can approximate as much as possible to openness.
> Sincerely,
> Kiringai
> On Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 12:48 AM, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com>wrote:
>>  For those with a more techie or open data interest this below is well
>> worth taking a close look.  What Tim Davies and Pete Cranston and others
>> seem to be doing here is to try to link coders/app developers on the ground
>> in Nairobi (iHub) with some of the real world of research outcomes and most
>> important with the real world of trying to make use of the those research
>> outcomes on the ground for African agriculture -- which for the most part
>> means working through intermediaries, in their case Extension Workers.***
>> *
>> ** **
>> Good stuff!****
>> ** **
>> M****
>> ** **
>> *From:* open-development-bounces at lists.okfn.org [mailto:
>> open-development-bounces at lists.okfn.org] *On Behalf Of *Tim Davies
>> *Sent:* Sunday, January 27, 2013 11:10 AM
>> *To:* open-development at lists.okfn.org
>> *Subject:* [open-development] Promoting open business models?****
>> ** **
>> Hey all,****
>> ** **
>> Responding to one of the comments on the open development working group
>> review etherpad at http://okfnpad.org/opendevwg (please do visit to add
>> your thoughts) that as a list it would be good to have some more in depth
>> discussions as well as link sharing, I thought I would pose a question that
>> struck me whilst in Nairobi last week for a hackathon around research data
>> (blog posts about the event here:
>> http://www.timdavies.org.uk/2013/01/27/linked-development-notes-from-research-to-impact-at-the-ihub/and here:
>> http://www.euforicservices.com/search/label/r4d).****
>> ** **
>> That question was how far in advocating for open development we should be
>> advocating for open business models? And what that might look like in
>> practice?****
>> ** **
>> The context of the question was a visit to the iLab at Strathmore
>> University, where, amongst other issues, some of the research and product
>> development work going on has focussed on developing DRM (Digital Rights
>> Management) technologies that will allow mobile educational content to be
>> sold through micro-payments and tied to single devices. This clearly goes
>> against the idea of open content that anyone can share, but at the same
>> time, could lead to wider access to educational resources than would
>> otherwise exist, and could stimulate provision of educational content where
>> it is lacking...  In hearing about this micro-payment based, and DRMed
>> educational content, I wasn't sure how to respond, or what realistic
>> alternative models to point to that stand a chance of similar success in
>> disseminating educational content. ****
>> ** **
>> Have other list members dealt with this sort of situation, and the
>> tensions between the potential for market-based production to take a
>> valuable idea or product to scale (particularly in developing countries),
>> but at the cost of the openness of the products? ****
>> ** **
>> In a spirit of open discussion...,****
>> ** **
>> Yours****
>> ** **
>> Tim****
>> ** **
>> To unsubscribe (subscribe) send an email to: sympa at vcn.bc.ca with the
>> message unsub (sub) ciresearchers
> --
> __________________________________________________________________
> *Kiringai Kamau*
> Value Chain Analyst and Knowledge Specialist
> PO Box 35046 00200 City Square, Nairobi
> Tel: +254 202 719 733/202 738 783
> Cell: +254 722 800 986/733 375 505
> *Skype:* kiringai.kamau
> Websites: www.willpower.co.ke, www.octagon.co.ke,
>                       www.vacidafrica.or.ke,
> http://rural-agriculture.wikispaces.com


07834 856 303.

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