Chapter 2: We have to Smartup


 I’m introducing a completely new type of organizational entity that redefines how ideas are turned into marketable products and services that the world requires AND our nature can sustain. Also, it transforms how people perform labor and earn value. Smartup Zero is the world’s first Smartup and lays the groundwork for many more Smartups to come.

Technologies BY and FOR the people

A Smartup is about democratizing innovations and their organizations. It’s about enhancing our chances to create and govern the right technologies, products, and services that we need in our fight against the existential threats that climate change and biodiversity decline comprehend. It’s about no more distraction and limiting conventions. All bets are off. We need to get to work.

It’s is a new type of company that creates and exploits, like any other company, a product or service. However, a Smartup creates and exploits its product or service in a completely open and collaborative community-driven environment where people can decide what we make, how we make it and, above all, why we should make it.

A Smartup is run BY and FOR the people. It doesn't know investors, founders, boards, CEO's, or any other traditional startup or corporate departments and terminology. It is a completely new framework for ideas to come into existence for all people, in a natural way.

The four layers of creation

A Smartup lives and dies by the grace of its community. Like any other startup, it starts with an idea that has a certain shape. Most often a visualization and theorization of why and what the idea comprehends. This can be as simple as a powerpoint presentation or a one-pager and can be as evolved as a prototype or Proof of Concept. The product will be ready to market if it successfully goes through the 4 layers of creation. The layers are Validation, Design, Production, and Organization. Every layer has a set of threshold deliverables that enable the next layer. The final ‘Go’ to go to the next layer always takes place with a vote among the whole community. There has to be a majority in the community that approves the ‘Go’.


The first, most crucial, step towards realization is validation. This means you are proving that there is enough potential traction among people by creating a vibrant/active community around an entrepreneurial idea. You need to get to a certain threshold of measurable activity from your community to reach the next layer of Design. This phase is so important because this active and loyal community is going to be the foundation of your Smartup. The reasoning is that if you are able to create a  vibrant community it means that you validated the need for your idea to come into existence. Basically, you are asking the world: hey world, do you think the world needs this? If the answer is yes, your idea and the community goes through to the next layer. The thresholds to continue to Design Phase:

  • Financial Target reached?

  • Formation of the Project Leaders Team ?

  • Delivery of the Official Smartup Business plan, 1.0? 

  • Majority vote on ‘ready for the design phase?’ 


The next layer is Design. Here you are using the community to get all design aspects around your idea in order. See it as the paper prototype phase. Designers from within your community can submit concepts, blueprints, architecture and functional designs. In this phase, you are defining how you should build the envisioned product or service.  In the Design phase, we answer the question: how do we build the product/service as sustainable, scalable and efficient as possible. The main deliverable of this phase is the Design Blueprint (document) that contains all the needed information for the developers in the Production phase to build a product or service. In this phase, the first scientific review is performed. This review determines whether or not the Design blueprint can go to the production phase. The thresholds to continue to the Development Phase:

  • Financial Target reached?

  • Delivery of the Design Blueprint?

  • Approval in a Scientific review done by the Science Team?

  • Majority vote on ‘ready for the development phase?’


In the production phase, we work together to create a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). The MVP is beta tested within the community. After the beta testing, the developers work together on the realization of the 1.0 version. The 1.0 version is the main deliverable of this phase. The 1.0 version is submitted for second and last scientific review which has the final say whether the product is ready to market or not. If so, the 1.0 version and the final scientific market assessment go to the final phase. The thresholds to continue to the Organisation Phase:

  • Financial Target reached?

  • Version 1.0 Beta tested within the community

  • Market assessment done by the business team? 

  • Majority vote on ‘ready for the organization phase?’


The last phase is the Organisational phase. In this phase, the organization structure around all business and marketing aspects are formed. Out of all members of the community, the Team of Executives is assembled and they are enabled and supported to get the product or service to market under the right conditions. The main deliverable of this phase is an official entity, based in a country of choice, with a solid and skilled team, a scientifically validated business proposition and a working 1.0 version that is ready to market. The thresholds to continue to Market:

  • Financial Target reached?

  • Formation of the Team of Executives?

  • Final Smartup Business Plan (including Market assessment)

  • Majority vote on ‘ready to market’?

FLOWCHART 1: Overview of the Four Layers of Creation and the main activities in each layer. All these activities and teams will be explained later on.

FLOWCHART 1: Overview of the Four Layers of Creation and the main activities in each layer. All these activities and teams will be explained later on.

As you can see, it all starts with an entrepreneurial idea. For Smartup Zero I propose to use Onlive as the guinea pig. In chapter 3 I’ll introduce you to this proposition. This is a great first choice because there is a lot of original documentation, the prototype is evolved, there is an architecture and there has been done a lot of research. This gives us a solid basis to start with. Still, it has to go through the validation phase. It might turn out Onlive won’t reach the thresholds of validation. That does not mean that some other idea of a different entrepreneur could be the fuel for the first Smartup in the world. Now let’s zoom in on how I propose a Smartup should work: