exchange of value
many purposeful social spaces have some exchanges between forms of value. what kinds of value are exchanged and how the exchanges work determine the workings and the form of a purposeful social space.
a formula for the value exchange element
the people in the space contribute throughout various forms of value and do get something out of it in a synchronous or asynchronous manner. the exchange is different for the various players in the space. this exchange is an essential concept. how the exchange works determines part of the form and experience of the space. building a fair and useful exchange that is consistent with the intentions of the space is an important pillar of a sustainable space. both the timing and the form of exchange are important.
the exchange is a multi-player game
the exchange is about the transformation of many different items
an example: the value exchange in the space of the beyeler foundation and its visitors
the beyeler family exchanged their art collection into a foundation and a museum. visitors exchange money for an entry into that museum of modern art. that is the economic transactional view.
the real exchange is more interesting. there are subtle elements involved. the entry provides the opportunity to see the art in a beautiful building. the people come to appreciate the art in this particular setting and museum appreciates its art loving visitors (that was the whole point of establishing the foundation). these appreciations circle around curiosity, awe and being part of a kind of elite of the beaux arts. status, self reflection, insight, money, the heritage of ernst and hildy beyeler, the meaning of art and the individual works of art, the livelihood of the artists, all are ingredients of the true and more complex exchange. it is this particular exchange that contribute to the succes of this purposeful social space.
many museums share this kind of exchange of values.
asymmetrical and asynchronous value exchanges
many value exchange are asymmetrical or asynchronous or both.
in asymmetrical exchanges the quantity of the input differs from the quantity of output. an example is a subscription to netflix where the output is more or less continuously one (being able to watch the catalogue of films and series) while the input is in multiple, monthly payments.
asynchronous exchanges is where the moment of the input differs from the moment of output. investing is a typical example, but also the input by an author who writes a book in a certain timeframe and gets revenue as long as the book is being sold.
a lot of these exchanges are made possible by businesses that provide exchange solutions for its suppliers and its customers. those businesses operate in certain ways, established by tradition, common practices and business models. The rules and the constraints of 'business' hinder innovative and more complex interchanges.
the promise of the concept of the purposeful social space is to start from a different perspective; not so much the business model is leading as well the shared desire that all participants are committed to. the exchanges become a mean instead of an end. the exchange is a result of a pull and not the push.
inherent but characteristic complexity
the value exchanges in the purposeful social space are in most cases complex but also fascinating. that complexity adds to the character of the space. the complexity reveales itself only when outsiders have closer look, for most participants in the space the exchanges feel natural and in accordance with what the space is.
the illustrations show some of the attributes of that complexity.
the facebook exchange
users in the facebook space leave their digital traces that facebook converts into targetted commercial messages that companies are allowed to send to the user in return for money.face
facebook as the big exchange on data and money leaving the players basically out of the true exchange loop.
value and instruments
what is exactly exchanged in a value exchange is sometimes hard to tell precisely. what seems the value may actually be an instrument for the exchange and the not the deeper value for the participant.
a purposeful social space is characterised by a practical understanding by the participants of the objects and the value that are exchanged. the difficulty in designing and building of a good value exchange is to define those objects and make them operationable. in business terms this is called product management and marketing. when we look beyond the realm of supply and demand and make it about the exchanges to realise a common purpose in the space that design capability and practice is mostly terra incognita.