Business models are changing everywhere. New models which incorporate the new world order are particularly interesting. I like the way this one decribes a model based around consumer involvement, collaboration and open source – it’s a nice analogy:
The ‘Beekeeper’ model
The Bee Keeper creates an environment that is attractive for bees: accommodation and a natural, food-rich habitat. The bees do what they do naturally and make honeycombs. The Bee Keeper sells the honey and bees-wax to his customers and uses the money to grow his bee farm.
In this model the bees have to come first. The Beekeeper has to invest in a hive first before he has a product to sell. He (or she) has to attract a Queen and enough of her bees to make it viable. The longer he invests in building the bee population the faster it will grow. Each bee makes a small contribution but it is the sum of the parts which makes the output useful. The Beekeeper has little control over them, so they can fly off whenever they want to. The growth of the bee farm depends on how many bees he can attract and their productivity, so they have to be kept happy. He has to balance this with growing his customer base at the same time. But both the customers and the bees need the Beekeeper – the customers don’t want to deal with the bees directly and need the Beekeeper to turn their output into products they desire, and whilst the customer’s money is no good for the bees, the new hive the Beekeeper buys with it is.