The Future of Zero Marginal Cost at CIIC on 3 September 2016


Zero marginal cost explains why zero-waste value cycles are of extreme importance. A related book titled The Zero Marginal Cost Society by Jeremy Rifkin makes the case that vertically integrated industries have no future, and that decentralised networks and collaborative niche construction define the new organisational and economic structure.

Technology evolves faster than most people realise. Vast amounts of software are open source. Software vendors increasingly provide only a thin candy wrapper around open source technology. The wrapper is becoming a distraction, and often contains no value whatsoever. Software and electronics are commoditised, and it is increasingly impossible to make a big margin on technological innovation.

Dr. Pete Rive, one of the founding members of the Colab Industry Advisory group at AUT university, will present a keynote talk at the CIIC unconference on 3 September 2016 about the implications of zero marginal cost on the future of human societies.


Topics proposed for discussion

Join the CIIC community of innovators for the 5th conference in open space, and use interdisciplinary collaboration and systems thinking to address challenges such as:
  • economic progress in NZ
  • sustainable supply chains
  • effective healthcare
  • blending human interaction and automated  processes
  • energy efficient transport and housing
  • the limits of financialised economics
  • development of embryonic industries

The list of submitted  CIIC problem statements is growing. We are in particular looking forward to progressing the discussion of concrete challenges in the healthcare sector.

The last CIIC event on 4 March 2016

Participants started with the notion of People + Purpose = Performance to frame a discussion of core challenges within the healthcare sector in New Zealand.


  • Design and development of tools for effective self-care: With increasing numbers of people dealing with health issues that don’t go away, e.g. diabetes, we need to find innovative ways to help them keep as healthy and independent as possible. How do we engage people in self-care that is effective, and what are the tools that we can use to keep them engaged? Monitoring and education tools are good, but surely there are other tools we can develop to solve this problem of people needing supervision, coaching and clinical guidance from doctors and nurses who are already overworked and only accessible for short consultations.
  • How do we mobilise and align NZ’s policy, research, healthcare and commercial capabilities to deliver world-leading health outcomes, generate substantial economic returns, and attract, develop and retain talent?

Results and insights

Topics covered in earlier CIIC events

economic value networks


  • Is there a place for barter? It seems likely that money, and hence financial systems, arose from bartering.  How did this happen, how did bartering arise in the first place, and what does it tell us about the modern world/what can we use it for?
  • How do we need to redefine economic progress?
  • What is value? How do value systems influence the process of creating and maintaining trust?
  • Which values can be said to be universal across most cultures? What specific values are conducive to innovation and long-term collaboration?

Results and insights

Open Space

CIIC is an entirely participant driven open space event.

  • Whoever comes are the right people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • When it starts is the right time
  • When it’s over it’s over

open space technology

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