8. Case Study: Sensorica


Sensorica is a collaborative network dedicated to the design and deployment of sensors and sense-making systems. It offers an open platform for interaction among individuals, with any type of skills or expertise (e.g. engineers, researchers, developers or lawyers), and organisations from the business and public sector and the civil society. It is partially a commons-based community and partially an entrepreneurial entity. On one hand, the individuals and organizations (productive community) pool resources and organize around projects that produce open hardware technological solutions. For instance, one of the most successful Sensorica projects is Mosquito, which is a force/displacement sensor device with numerous applications in biotechnology.

On the other hand, a group of independent business entities (entrepreneurial coalitions), often launched by the community, introduce the innovative solutions in the market. All revenue is distributed back to the network and in particular to the people that have been involved. For this, Sensorica has developed a system that facilitates value accounting and resource management in the network. This system records and determines every member’s input in every project and redistributes revenues in proportion to each contribution. Simultaneously, it tracks all activities in the network with the relevant resources that are either used or generated by a project, as a project’s output can be another project’s input.

All the agents participating in the network are affiliated with a custodian (for-benefit association), which manages the common infrastructure and resources. It is a nonprofit organization holding all assets and liabilities of the network, based on a “non-dominium” agreement. “Non-dominium” reflects the fact that no agent or combination of agents may have dominant control over the shared resources. It illustrates the dynamic and highly adaptable structure of Sensorica that strives to combine open, large scale collaboration with fair distribution of the co-created value.

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