Trajectories to reconcile sharing and commercialization in the maker movement

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.

Bibliographische Angaben:
Langley, David J.; Zirngiebl, Marthe; Sbeih, Janosch; Devoldere, Bart:
Trajectories to reconcile sharing and commercialization in the maker movement;
In: Business Horizons, Band: 60, 6/2017, 783-794

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