Microrevenue follows the logic that great change can be accomplished by many small acts and is an evolved idea from the success of the microcredit approach to financing small business. This is especially achievable within on-line communities that arise around a cause, a belief or a mass-appeal project. Microrevenue has particular advantages for social businesses that rely upon small-scale transactions but may have ambitious or hard-to-define investment targets that can be hard to fund using traditional means.
The microrevenue proposition draws significant strength from Crowdsourcing the phenomenon explored by Jeff Howe in his book of the same name. Communities of activity and of interest are no longer constrained by geography and can be massive in scale while drawing on devolved knowledge, which encourages the rise of microrevenue.
The phrase 'microrevenue' was coined and developed by Howard Jones, Director of Human Networks at the Eden Project in Cornwall. This was as a result of his creating the Living Networks programme as a first example of very large, networked, social business. For the model to work, the architecture and characteristics of the network needed to allow very large numbers of tiny transactions that develop revenue to support the programme and feed its development. The reasoning for this to happen is summarised in an article by Howard Jones in the book Beyond by Mario Raich. The practicalities are that this open-source approach to network economies can help provide environments for new communities of interest and ideas, for support systems, and for increased resilience for societies that are vulnerable to existing or traditional socio-economic rules.