How do we define the public space now that human life is partially taking place online? 

The public space on the street is easy to imagine, and public debate in traditional media is well regulated. The notion of a digital public space can be hard to imagine. The online world is largely a private and commercial space. Even though an unprecedented amount of human interaction takes place in the digital realm, the digital environment is created and dictated by the design choices, filtering algorithms, preferences and, above all, interests of big tech companies.

In this project, commissioned by ClickNL, Waag and the HvA research the conditions for digital public spaces and the fundamental aspects of responsible business models. We explore what responsible business models are, starting from the non-extractive, sustainable, and non-monopolistic alternatives to the business models of large tech companies. We explore what the conditions are for an open and heterogeneous digital public space and how responsible business models can contribute to it, especially for digital creators.

The Responsible Business Model Canvas
One of the main outputs of this project was the development of a Responsible Business Model Canvas and associated workshop method to support initiatives in designing a business model based on public values. The Canvas is specifically designed for initiatives in the digital public space, but can also be used more broadly. It encourages a holistic approach to a business model, in which the social and environmental impact of the organization plays an important role, among other things.