Community : Get Involved

The Open Source Ecology project is fueled by a community of countless contributors motivated by the open source ethic of collaborative development.

We are lowering the barriers of participation so that anyone can join: in areas spanning design, engineering, art, communications, video, writing, enterprise – and on to tangible outcomes of hands-on builds and pilot projects. We are building on commonly-available tools and creating processes that allow people with little prior experience to generate sophisticated results – using an integrated, interdisciplinary development process. We care about systems and ecologies – where we value generalist skills that transcends the limits of siloed thinking.

We are testing the limits of collaborative innovation fueled by open processes and open hardware – to accelerate innovation – to make a better world – and to leave nobody behind.

Our goal is to show that anyone, provided access to tools and techniques – can tap amazing productivity, creativity, and power – on a transition from consumer culture to a new level of responsibility. Our goal is to create a cultural revolution – where you can Build Yourself – and build the world around you. We offer Design Sprints, immersion workshops, and the summer of extreme design/builds. Our work is geared at students, professionals, and social entrepreneurs – and anyone looking to make a change in the world, reskill themselves, and collaborate in a growing community creating the collaborative economy. Our goal is to create a kernel for a Civilization Starter Kit, and to create a formidable, open source development platform to create the next economy.

For further information or to begin working on one of the following opportunities, please email info at opensourceecology dot org


Development on the GVCS occurs both on site at Factor e Farm and remotely via Design Sprints, university collaborations, pilot projects, immersion workshops, and other development opportunities. We publish Requirements and Requests for Proposals and encourage anybody to apply either to work remotely or on-site. On-site work includes prototyping, infrastructure buildout, Immersion Workshops, agriculture, and other education opportunities. Our unique approach is creating not single machines, but instead – modular, scalable construction sets for building any machine – to Build Yourself – to Build Civilization.

  • Design Sprints – We have held a number of Design Sprints where collaborators gather around a Google Hangout and work in real-time on collaborative documents for conceptual and technical design. The potential here lies in – for example a group of 20 mechanical engineering students working for 2 hours to generate CAD on 10 different modules of a machine – given that Requirements are provided and given that the event collaboration architecture is defined precisely. With team leaders emerging, we envision running such events in parrallel with a number of groups. For example, we envision 10 groups of 20 students coordinating development for 2 hours on a Saturday – to generate an equivalent of . Our University Tour is intended to identify and recruit groups for such work. If you are involved in a student group – such as ASME, AIST, ASABE, ASCE, SAE, AIME, TMS, EWB, ESW, AIAS, ASLA, IEEE, IACES, NAEA, AIGA, TAGA, IGAEA, Habitat for Humanity, Architecture for Humanity, public service, alternative spring break, or other groups anywhere in the world, please contact us to get involved in OSE Design Sprints.
  • Internships – Summers of Extreme Design/Build – with the Learning Factor-e Model. Most of OSE’s development occurs at Factor e Farm near Kansas City, Missouri, USA. We have offered Dedicated Project Visits in the past year-round, and in 2014, we are focusing our development efforts on the summer – such that we pull together as a larger, interdisciplinary team. Anyone is welcome to apply. For university students – this is a great opportunity to gain practical experience, make a difference, or build your skill set and resume. See information about what the development process looks like at Development Method – we will be engaging in a process where we prototype a module or machine every week – spending most of our time on design and preparation, and one day on the build.
  • Alternative Spring Breaks – Interested in changing the world rather than going to the beach? Join us for Alternative Breaks. If you have a group that would like to participate, please contact us at info at
  • Dedicated Project Visits and Group Visits – You can plug into the Summers of Extreme Design/Builds, into our alternative spring breaks. If you are a special group interested in doing work on site, we can organize other special opportunities.
  • Residency Program – We are looking for rock star open source developers of hardware and systems to join us for a 3 month program, currently under development. OSE supports the individual in collaborating with us on site at Factor e Farm, plugging into our development process – to take technologies to product release in the framework of our immersion workshops model.


If you have organizational skill and you are interested in working more closely with the core OSE team – help us organize:

  • University Lectures – or other speaking engagemnents. This is a great form of outreach, intended to recruit participants to build the OSE team from within. We are continuing to find strong stakeholders with our College Tour – and we are actively pursuing Design Sprints, Summer Internships, and student projects with the new contacts.
  • OSE Chapters – We are currently working on the first OSE University chapters The requirements are hosting one design sprint per month. To organize an OSE Chapter, see the guidelines at the OSE Chapters.
  • Team Projects, Senior Projects, Capstone Projects, Design Teams, Competitions, Social Enterprise Challenges – many universities have team projects, and we would like to explore how OSE can be a client. If you are excited about the work of OSE – and if you are a faculty, staff, or a student and you would like to organize an opportunity with OSE – we would like to establish creative partnerships with you where students work on tangible projects that make a difference. There is a lot of momentum around distributed manufacturing, open collaborative processes, integrated design and systems optimization – and we’d like to work with you to push the limits in all of these areas.
  • Organize In-Kind Donations – Do you have a friend or family member who owns a company that can donate goods to OSE? See the OSE Wish List. Companies and individuals can donate materials and get tax advantages.


OSE’s roots lie in crowdfunding. When the founder became broke because his tractor kept breaking down – he turned to crowd funding to bootstrap the project. He would blog and post videos (see Distillations Series) on all that he did, and then he put up a ChipIn to collect funding – on the order of $1-2k at a time. Then he turned to the 1000 True Fans – 1000 Global Villages concept to gather a group of supporters who fund the project with a small monthly donation for 24 months. We have since gotten our 501(c)3 nonprofit status, and continue to collect donations and foundation funding. However, in order to scale the project to the next trillion dollar economy – we would like to see the distribution of economic power to many stakeholders. This is why we publish open enterprise models – to lower the barriers to entry – with which a social entrepreneur can start a lean enterprise with zero outside investment. Such start-ups are a true test of our work. Our goal is to collaborate with other distributive entrepreneurs of this nature – to create an ecology of such organizations. Once critical mass is reached – which may be as few as a few dozen solid enterprises spanning different levels of open industry down to the production of materials – then the world may see the next industrial revolution. The world has already seen 3: steam, steel, and computers. The next revolution will revolve around Open.

Since the early Distillation Series, we have doffed our suits, got on the world stage, put more dirt under our fingernails, and continued to build. We believe that dog-fooding all of our work is a way that we gain deep understanding on all that we do. We dog-food our own economic models to develop open source enterprise models that work. We continue to crowd-fund, and we will experiment whether crowd funding can be integrated with our RFPs to reward contributors in our innovative, open design/build process.

We also accept In-Kind Donations. You can receive tax write-offs for donations of material items – for example, we are currently looking for a van to take our students on field trips and to remote design/documentation events as part of our swarming development method. See our Wish List.

Become a True Fan

We kicked off the 1000 True Fans funding campaign in 2009 – soon after we built the first prototypes of the brick press and tractor. This was a time when we operated on no budget – and put all resources into critical machines. in order to continue our work and do it full time, we asked people to support us for 24 months at $10 per month. That is how the True Fans program began. True Fanship continued over 24 months makes a significant impact on the project: such as ability to buy over 200lbs of steel for our machines, or other materials for our projects. We have ALSO added donation amounts up to $100 per month. All the True Fans funds go to prototyping – and your support allows us to operate at a basic level even when there are no other resources. The numbers of active True Fanships are:

See above you can Get Involved in our Development Process. If you do not have time but would like to offer financial support – the True Fans program is for you. True Fan enjoy the following perks:

  • Invitation to the True Fans Hangout – a monthly hangout with the founder, for True Fans only, where we discuss the latest developments and insights
  • Free admission to prototyping days at Factor e Farm, which are typically on Fridays throughout the summer
  • 25% off OSE’s Workshops

Subscribe here:


Any donation, big or small, can help. We are proud to say that we follow agile, lead development practice – and all of your donations go directly to project development. Thank you!

*OSE was granted Tax Exempt Status by IRS on September 27, 2013. Please contact us at info at to make a tax-exempt donation.



Bitcoin Address 166yC48RakrZdtsBj36vY9q29CpzknHbxY


You can install an Android or iPhone app and point your camera to the QR code above to send us your donation – see

Other Donation Options

Paypal charges between 3 and 5% for handling credit card donations, for USA and international, respectively. If you would like to avoid these charges, you can use:

  • wire transfer – please email us at info (at) opensourceecology (dot) org for further directions
  • personal check
  • bank check
  • postal money order

Mail to:
Open Source Ecology
909 SW Willow Rd
Maysville MO 64469 USA