Waag Society

Responsible business models

With human life largely taking place online, we wonder what constitutes the public space today. The public space on the street is easy to imagine, the public debate in traditional media is well regulated. The digital public space is a more difficult notion. The online world is largely a private and commercial space. Although there is an unprecedented amount of human interaction, the space is ruled by the design choices, filter algorithms, preferences and especially interests of large tech companies.

This project is about the way in which we shape the platform society differently. Although not designated as a transition in the agenda, this is a 'wicked problem' that requires behavioural changes from various parties at system level. We see a crucial role for designers and developers in facilitating that change in behaviour.


Within the project 'Responsible business models' we want to investigate the conditions for digital public spaces. We are researching a 'blueprint' in which the fundamental aspects for an open market are examined through open business models as a counterpart to the business model of large tech companies. This is of fundamental importance for the creative industries as creative content producers, and for digital creators (designers and developers) as the designers in particular.
We do this on based on the aspects of market structuring, organisation, technology and experience. For each of these, the question is which public values ​​are at stake and what their part is in creating the conditions for an open and heterogeneous, digital public space.
We then test several use cases against this blueprint. We are investigating which initiatives are relevant in this regard. These can be existing initiatives or initiatives-in-progress. For all these cases there can be a big role for creative digital creators. An open market for the digital public space increases this role.


The results of this study should form a blueprint for an open market. This describes how companies and other organisations that develop (public) technology can collaborate and how use cases can contribute to the digital public space.

The PPP programme grant available for this project is €97,882.