Flash Mobs – Towards Extreme Collaboration

Our process for building the Global Village Construction Set is radically collaborative. It has to be – because the task is huge: an open source set of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.

To extend live collaboration far beyond the border of Factor e Farm – we are adding Flash Mobs to our collaboration platform. Flash mobs are on-demand, real-time, virtual work groups where a number of people come together for rapid development sessions. Read our flash mob conceptual plan. Basically – a number of participants share an internet voice connection and work screen to collaborate on a certain task. The task may be design, design review, collaborative CAD design, recruiting, research, or just about any task that lends itself to quick resolution with many people swarming on the issue. The challenge is breaking down tasks to a manageable form that lends itself to solution by a larger team.


To join one of our Flash Mobs – please fill out our Flash Mob survey that will show your skill set. This survey lists a number of key subject matter areas of expertise that we are seeking. Then we can contact you to let you know of a work session. Please share the Flash Mob Invitation page with your friends.


Flash Mobs are intended to be a core part of our open development process – with Flashy XM as our simple, experimental project development platform – under development. Participants will be shown on the Flash Mob Map at the upper right of our Flashy XM page. Flashy XM gets its name from Flash Mobs + Extreme Manufacturing (XM).. We are using the Flashy XM page as a general overview and development platform for the entire OSE project. See Flashy XM specifications. If you want to see the latest updates on the project – bookmark the Flashy XM page to keep a close eye on our work. The second place to get updates is our blog.

Our vision is to gather a database of thousands of Flash Mob members – so that if we have a problem, we can solve it instantly. When a problem arises, we will email or text the Flash Mob members for that particular topic – and announce a spontaneous or planned working session. Out of the thousands of members, there may be a few dozen people capable of contributing to a specific, narrow area of expertise – and if a small part of this populations appears for a development session – that would still be a formidable team.

So please sign up for the Flash Mobs, and let’s work out the limits of this technique together. See more basic notes about the process for running a flash mob. See a sample test of video connection on Google Hangouts. We are looking at Big Blue Button as an open source teleconferencing tool – if you can help us run Big Blue on a server, let us know.


As case example: Friday, 4 of us did a sample Flash Mob on recruiting. We are currently recruiting a Master Fabricator (please pass this on). We drew up a list of 20 Technical College human resources contacts – and began calling. We went through these contacts in 1 hour. We got a couple of promising leads for our Master Fabriator – we were asking for retired instructors or other qualified people. We typically talked to Department Heads, HR people, or Career services.

It appears that the method is highly scalable. Imagine scaling that to say 20 Flash Mob Participants – then our results could be 5x better.  Imagine 100 Flash Mob participants throughout the world – then we could realistically plan to accomplish our task – such as finding the right Master Fabricator candidate – in as little as one hour. I think there is huge potential in such crowd development – and we are testing the practical limits. We want to develop this technique and make it replicable. This will help us attain the goals of Strategic Plan v0.01 – check that out as well. 



  1. davidoski

    It’s a great idea – incorporates the proverbial “two heads are better than one” priciple into the real platform using widely available Internet technologies like VoIP. It will be extremely useful – there’s no other way.

  2. Micha

    How about setting up BigBlueButton in the cloud (Amazon EC2)?

  3. daan

    Hi there,

    Did you guys hear about this guy, he is working on the steamengine and so is greenpowerscience and some other guys, it’s a matter of time! Goog luck.

  4. Marcin

    We just heard about this – we’re contacting the person for collaboration discussion.

  5. Marcin

    Dear Friends,

    I am calling for a Flash Mob for Friday.

    Voice Call-In:
    Working Google Doc:
    Flash Mob Sign-up Form:
    Flash Mob members so far:

    The purpose of this Flash Mob is collaborative recruiting of subject matter experts (SMEs) for our Flash Mobs – everyone from machine design, agriculture, engineering, reviewers, design of specific GVCS machines, CAD flash mobs, recruiting flash mobs, resource development flash mobs etc. I think we are just beginning on a very powerful practice. So far, we have only ~50 Flash Mob contributors signed up. We are aiming for a few thousand for the platform to become really useful towards accelerating Global Village Construction Set development.

    I created an open document on the proprietary Google Platform to capture our results –

    Anyone can edit.

    The voice line is at . This allows thousands of people to join. Please mute yourself and use headphones if you will join the call.

    The basic directions for the 1.5 hour session are:

    1. Identify venues for finding SMEs. This could be online forums, magazines, people you know, etc. Record these in the Working Google Doc.
    2. Contact these people inviting them to fill out the Flash Mob Recruiting Form –
    3. Communicate with other Flash Mob participants on the Voice Call-In to strategize or coordinate with other Flash Mob participants.
    2. Fill out the Working Google Doc to record people and organizations, their links and other notes. This will help us facilitate future networking.
    3. Fill out your name and email if you would like to be recognized for your participation in Flash Mobs. We are tracking contributions of Flash Mob participants as a means of recognizing their value to the OSE community.
    4. Watch the list of contacts and invitations grow. Synergize.

    The beautiful part of this process should be watching the spreadsheet grow real-time and contacts being made. Later on – the Flash Mob Map – – should be getting populated with new people.

    Successful Flash Mobs depend on having a significant overall Flash Mob membership. The value of this platform could be tremendous. Let’s make it happen. If you haven’t filled out a Flash Mob Sign-up yourself, please do so.


  6. Nadia Noori

    I noticed that you are looking to use BigBlueButton software to conduct your sessions, I can help you setting it up and I know the core developers in person in case you guys need further help!
    you have my email in case you are interested!

    Cheers.. nadia