Digital maker-entrepreneurs in open design

Who are this digital maker-entrepreneurs and what activities make up their business model? This article reveals some interesting insights from a recent study. The article was written by  Peter Troxler, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, and Patricia Wolf from CreaLab and, it was recently published by the Business Horizons Journal. Follow this link to get to the full article.


The business models of digital maker-entrepreneurs in open design are inextricably linked to the broader open design community. Digital makers share designs on online platforms such as Thingiverse and use digital manufacturing technology such as 3-D printing as a generative mechanism for their entrepreneurial activities. There is a general understanding of how sharing works in that community and the basic design parameters that determine the business models of these digital maker-entrepreneurs, which are based on a portfolio of activities. This study is based on in-depth interviews with 11 digital maker-entrepreneurs from the open design community. We investigate the activities that constitute their business models using activity theory as a lens with which better to understand them. This study provides a perspective on the complexity of the relationships in which these activities are embedded and analyzes the activities related to the production, distribution, and consumption of value. Finally, we examine the exchanges between digital maker-entrepreneurs in the community, shedding light on how digital maker-entrepreneurs share and exchange goods, services, and knowledge as peers.