About this project
"Open" = the digital commons, collaboration, transparency, community.
Some people want you to believe there is a conflict between Open and Business. We’re out to shatter that illusion.
Creative Commons ("CC") is a nonprofit dedicated to Open. CC licenses are free copyright licenses creators apply to their own works, enabling the public to reuse the work under certain conditions. Sometimes CC licensing is core to a business strategy, and sometimes it is simply a way to increase the number of eyeballs on a work. In all cases, CC brings an element of social good to the table.
We want to show the world the full spectrum of open business models made using Creative Commons. Our goal is to begin to answer what we consider one of the most important questions of the digital age: how do creators make money to sustain what they do when they are letting the world reuse their work?
We are starting this work by trying out our own open business model here on Kickstarter. We want you to both support us, and help steer this project. Ready? Read on...
Here's the plan:
With your help, we are going to identify and select a diverse group of two dozen businesses, creators, and organizations from around the world succeeding with business models made with Creative Commons. Then we're going to dig deep into how they work to show how using Creative Commons can produce economic and social value.
Our goal is not to identify a formula for business models that utilize CC, but instead to gather fresh ideas and dynamic examples that will help spark new, innovative models that build on what is already working.
We want to spread this knowledge far and wide to inspire others to use what works for them. At the end of the process, we'll publish an ebook that puts together everything we learn and create an interactive online tool to help others build their own CC-made business models.
Note: Creative Commons is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. CC will issue tax receipts for all donations exceeding $250.
Working in the open
The book will be the culmination of a year-long learning/writing/listening/creating process. We'll be working entirely in the open, using Medium as our virtual sandbox.
Here we'll share little nuggets of wisdom we pick up, our half-baked ideas, and whatever else is in our heads as we explore this work. Throughout the process, we will publish 6 polished, in-depth articles on Medium that consolidate what we’re learning.
The point of all this is to work collaboratively with you. We definitely need your financial support, but we also want to borrow your brains. We don’t want to create this book alone. We need insights, contributions, and ideas from you - our community.
Put another way, this Kickstarter is itself a business model made with CC (how meta!). By using crowdfunding to engage a community, sharing by default as we go, and collaboratively building the final product, we’ll be doing our own experiment with an open business model.
With the proceeds from this Kickstarter, CC will:
- Create in-depth profiles of 24 successful CC business/revenue models based on your votes;
- Visually depict each business model and extract at least 3 high-level lessons for each one;
- Distill common strategies and patterns in the various business models and publish 6 long-form articles on Medium;
- Create a lightweight interactive online tool that helps people design open business models;
- Publish an ebook (licensed CC BY-SA) that combines all of the profiles, analysis, and recommendations from this project.
Vote tally and results for business profile winners will be announced on September 1, 2015.
In-depth Medium articles will be released on the following schedule (shorter Medium posts to be published almost daily):
- September 15, 2015
- October 15, 2015
- December 15, 2015
- February 15, 2016
- March 15, 2016
- April 15, 2016
Ebook and interactive online tool published by July 15, 2016.
[Early drafts of articles will be distributed to backers for input to Kickstarter Co-Creators 10 days before publication.]
How you can get involved
Nominate! Anyone can nominate businesses, organizations, and creators you would like to see in the book.
Vote! Kickstarter backers can vote for who they would like to see profiled in the book.
Share! All of you (financial supporters, or not) are invited to produce your own open business models using our tool available as a Google doc. You can post and share your models on our Google+ community to give and receive feedback from others in the community. We really want your input as we go, so follow along with us on Medium, and tell us what you think.
Co-Create! Kickstarter backers can become co-editors of the project with us! We’ll share early drafts, get your feedback, and work with you to shape the content we produce.
Reuse & Remix! Everything created through this campaign including the book, tools, models, discussion, and analysis will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.
Although it will involve the entire Creative Commons staff and community, this project will be spearheaded by Paul Stacey and Sarah Pearson.
Paul is Associate Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons. As an educator and serial startup specialist, Paul thrives at making visible the possible and bringing new possibilities to life. Creating good in the world and having a good bottom line are core to his vision and work.
Sarah is Senior Counsel at Creative Commons. As a lawyer and former journalist, Sarah is a critical thinker with a lifelong goal of using fewer words to say more.
Our Work So Far
CC is already working with a handful of businesses and organizations to evaluate existing business models and develop new ones (thank you Hewlett Foundation!). Here's an example of a visual depiction of a business model we have profiled in our work to-date.
Our direct interaction and collaboration with all of you will result in many more, and it will help us distill common themes and strategies that can be replicated by others.
Risks and challenges
To mitigate risks associated with editing, laying out and producing an ebook, Creative Commons plans to use a combination of do-it-yourself tools with do-it-for-you services from ebook service providers.
By using votes from backers to determine who we profile in the book, we hope to learn about new creators and businesses using CC in innovative ways. This process also creates some risk, however. To help avoid any possibility of being trolled or of having the book include only creators of one type, we'll publish parameters during the campaign. Note that backers only get one set of votes regardless of how many rewards they purchase.
Ultimately, the ebook will only be as good as the level of engagement by you, our co-creators. We plan to write it using a community-driven process, which means gathering ideas and contributions from all of you, collaboratively editing drafts, and thinking of the entire project as a work-in-progress. CC has plenty of experience with this; our legal tools are created in exactly this same way. But to do this well, we need your help.
We also want to ensure that this project produces something more than narrative success stories. Our goal is to create something that will be useful to others who are in the process of creating something or want to make whatever they do more open. In short, we want to find business models, strategies, and ideas that can be reused and remixed by others.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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