From Open Revolution to Diginomics: a major evolution of the project is underway

We are evolving Open Revolution to Diginomics. This evolution reflects our broadening mission to share tools and insights for the distinct economics of the digital age ("diginomics").

We have a lot of material – and even more thinking – which we haven't published anywhere. At the same time, there is a clear need for broader and more practical content like how to design a digital business model "in real life". We are therefore evolving Open Revolution into a new Diginomics site to address these needs.

Going forward, this site will provide a grounding in the economics of the digital information economy, together with toolkits for solving key micro and macro challenges ranging from sharing climate data on consumer goods to economy wide issues like tech monopolies.

Context: Open Revolution is five years old and much has changed

The site and book are now five years old 😲

The content has been well received but the book tells a high level story. The existing site focuses on the book: it's currently just "the book website".

The topics covered by the book continue to become ever more visible and mainstream – for example, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon etc are now clearly major concerns for the public and regulators.

We have also been regularly approached by people involved in various projects related to data sharing who want insight into the economics and incentives to underpin this. Understanding is often limited and there is a clear need.

Finally, we have lot of other material both published (e.g. https://imedproject) or unpublished that is relevant. It would be helpful if they were more accessible.

The Need and Opportunity: there's a broader topic to address and we already have the material

The current framing for the site is naturally about the book. The Open Revolution was focused on the high level vision of an "open world".

Whilst valuable this framing is much narrower than what we have to offer: a full guide to building blocks of the digital economy and how to use that knowledge to design effective digital business models and digital economies – especially for more public digital infrastructure. Moreover, this broader and more neutral framing is likely attractive to a wider audience – whilst still including our former work.

Over the last five plus years we have produced a lot of material. This includes material related to the book such as footnotes and detailed open models for particular areas such as medicine and news. It also includes a variety of broader material about digital economics in general – for example a complete guide to web3 and a detailed report on incentives for environmental data sharing. However, much of this material is less accessible than it should be, either because it is unconsolidated or simply unpublished.

How can we evolve this project?

How then, should we evolve this project? Specifically, what can we do to make our existing work accessible and useful for a larger and broader group of people and challenges?

And do so …

  • Without requiring the use of significant extra resources beyond those we have spare in-house? (we have as yet no additional funding!1)
  • Being as open as possible in what we share so as to enable contribution and reuse

Specific sub-questions include:

  • What questions and needs do people have? For example:
    • We have come across more and more projects where people realize the need to consider business models and economic sustainability but often lack relevant background or tools?
    • How do we have a great digital information economy?
    • How can we reduce tech monopoly without harming innovation?
    • How can we sustain this data project, this data commons, this database?
  • What material would address that?
  • What material do we prioritize to create / publish? i.e. value vs cost to produce?
  • What infrastructure/process do we need to put in place to support that creation now and into the future?
  • What's missing in the current presentation?
  • What additional material do we have?
  • What offers / requests do we have?

We welcome further suggestions and feedback πŸ“£

Thesis: a guide to core principles of the digital economy plus associated toolkits for designing more sustainable digital infrastructure and economies

Our current plan is to:

  1. Publish guides to the core principles of the digital economy: why they are so important, how they differ from old material economy and why that matters.
  2. Publish toolkits for designing sustainable digital business models and economies the core principles lead naturally into a necessary discussion of business models and incentives around creating and sharing digital, information goods like software and databases. In particular, how you can sustainably fund digital goods, especially "public" ones.

As part of this we will outline how these principles and models can be applied in different areas, for example:

  • designing the business model for a database tracking green house gas emissions across the supply chain
  • funding new medicines for cancer
  • funding basic scientific research
  • democratising big tech
  • and more …

Finally, we provide framework and toolkits rather than rigid blueprints: building blocks and patterns that you can use to design specific solutions in many different areas.


  1. If you are interested in supporting our work, please get in touch or write to the project lead personally at ↩