Bausola, Benkler and understanding the new digital economy

My Edel-colleague, Jason Mical, recently caught up with creative technologist (and former Head of Insight (Strategy) for Digital Communications at Imagination, David Baesola Bausola. It sounded like a great meet and I was pretty gutted I couldn’t attend.

But reading David’s biog really got me thinking again about some ideas from within the digital economy that I’ve been mulling over in recent months.

David argues (from a specifically creative industries perspective) that:

Data and User-Centric design define the poles between technology and communication. Whereas Data Centric models lean towards ‘Manufacturing’ architectures, User-Centric will lean towards ‘Network’ aesthetics. […] Data is possession driven; collectivity occurs within communities with degrees of ‘openness’."

This sparks off some thoughts linked to what Yochai Benkler has to say about the radically new economic models – specifically nonmarket models – being shaped by the Internet.

In The Wealth of Networks, Benkler discusses rival and nonrival goods:

When economists speak of information, they usually say that it is “nonrival.” We consider a good to be nonrival when its consumption by one person does not make it any less available for consumption by another. Once such a good is produced, no more social resources need be invested in creating more of it to satisfy the next consumer.

Benkler’s perspective is important because it maps nicely to David’s idea of a manufacturing focussed ‘data centric’ model and a network focused ‘user centric’ one.

Rival goods are predominently manufactured commodities that rely on scarcity and – in accordance with David’s observation – possession to drive commercial value. Nonrival goods (in Benkler’s example, information) rely on sharing via open networks as a commercial model.

I suppose what I am doing here is little more than articulating my own understanding of Benkler’s hard economic theory through the prism of David’s perspectives on the emerging business and economic model of the creative industries, and trying to catalyse thoughts about the spaces where we can bring traditionallt data centric industries mroe towards networked production and equally how we can help encourage user centric industries to look to the digitally connected networks arpiund their organisation, its brand and products to improve their offering in contemporary nd future society.

Perhaps, these thoughts and ideas illuminate the (perhaps obvious?) notion that there is no one-size fits all model to help busiensses adapt to a digital market (or nonmarket) place. It definitely helps us begin to chart the routes down which we – as digital strategists – can help take our clients.

For what it’s worth, these ideas – the changes taking place in the contemporary business and organizational landscape and how we deal with them – seem to be occupying more and more time in my thoughts at the moment.

I suppose it makes sense. The logical next step from understanding how organizations communicate in a digitally empowered environment is seeking to understand how businesses need to think and what they need to do in a digital world.

Technorati tags: David Bausola; Yochai Benkler, digital strategy; creative industries; manufacturing


  1. Hi Simon, very interesting post. I’ll respond later, as I’m in the middle of a project that is doing exactly what you’re talking about.
    We should catch up for a coffee; Jason and I are trying to get a date in the diary now, for another natter.
    But on a side note, my surname is spelt Bausola. Though I do like the spelling you created!

  2. Woah! Apologies for the school-boy error re. your name. Will change it! Look forward to catching up soon.

  3. Thanks for the amend!

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