Hacklin, Fredrik; Battistini, Boris; von Krogh, Georg (2013)
In the relentless evolution of technology and markets, many industries are in the midst of, or are approaching, major reconfigurations of their fundamental architectures and the way companies capture value.1 The changes are well underway in biopharma, nutrition products, health care and energy, where technologies and distinct knowledge bases are changing and converging. Perhaps the most dramatic example of such convergence is taking place in the booming space of telecommunications, information technology, media and entertainment, which many people now refer to as a single field, the “TIME” industries.2 The TIME industries are characterized not only by the variety of new technological products and services being launched at an ever-increasing pace but also by the surging complexity of their markets and how companies win. As some companies have expanded their scope, others have been forced to rethink and retool their strategies. In many ways, the TIME example offers a useful model for managers in other industries where convergence is less obvious.
The purpose of this paper is to explain why product-centric manufacturers utilize advanced services not as vehicles of transformation, but of reinforcement, to strengthen their established business model logic based on selling products and basic product-related services.
Maker technologies, including collaborative digital fabrication tools like 3-D printers, enable entrepreneurial opportunities and new business models. To date, relatively few highly successful maker startups have emerged, possibly due to the dominant mindset of the makers being one of cooperation and sharing. However, makers also strive for financial stability and many have profit motives. We use a multiple case study approach to explore makers' experiences regarding the tension between sharing and commercialization and their ways of dealing with it. We conducted interviews with maker initiatives across Europe including Fab Labs, a maker R&D center, and other networks of makers. We unpack and contextualize the concepts of sharing and commercialization. Our cross-case analysis leads to a new framework for understanding these entrepreneurs' position with respect to common-good versus commercial offerings. Using the framework, we describe archetypal trajectories that maker initiatives go through in the dynamic transition from makers to social enterprises and social entrepreneurs.
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