Open Source Product Development

On Feb. 1, 2016, we continue to clarify the 20 year horizon for OSE in terms of creating the next economy, the open source economy. This is from our Roadmap wiki page:

A viable Open Source Product Development (OSPD) methododology is critical to this. You can read the seminal papers on the topic at the former link, and OSE’s current roadmap for this is:

Our immediate approach to realizing the Distributive Enterprise is the 3D Printer project – as well as the Brick Press – both of which we intend to take to Distributive Enterprise status by the end of 2016.

The significance is that the 3D printer is not the technology per se, which at present is limited, but a practical, low-cost entry point to a cultural shift. This cultural shift is where people gain unprecedented access to personal productive power: open design, desktop production, and the cutting edge of digital fabrication: prototyping + product development right at home. This is all thanks to the seminal RepRap project, which brought the open source 3D printer to the masses, and was fundamental in creating the consumer 3D printer industry. All of today’s leading manufacturers have their roots in the RepRap project. This is perhaps the poster child of an open technology that has changed economics.

But back to changing the world: this happens more in terms of changing hearts and minds – where people begin to recognize that design and production can happen on their desktop, not in megafactories of yesterday.

The references on the OSPD wiki page walk the reader through the evolution of Waterfall to Continuous Improvement product development methodologies. The interesting conclusion is that product development appears to be favored by open source, modular design – as discussed in the From Manufacturing to Design paper by Baldwin and Clark. This is the course that we are taking.

From p. 37 of From Manufacturing to Design:

Specifically, systems with more modular architectures, more divisible task structures, and/or more option value in the modules would attract more voluntary effort. Thus, Baldwin and Clark concluded, a user-driven innovation process based on the free revealing and sharing of designs was a viable institutional form. Open source development was a sustainable “institution of innovation,” — one that was competitive with, and in some cases might dominate, proprietary product developmentdevelopment


  1. Mike

    I’m glad this project is still being actively developed. I’ve been watching it closely for a few years now and think it can really help those in the developing world.

  2. […] Development (OSPD) effort – is the route to the best product development results. See our last blog post for more about teh OSPD […]