Tools exist to give the developing world the capacity to build its own technology, to its own needs, and grow richer and more sustainable in the process. Those tools are the tools of collaboration. Open the source code of innovation, and we'll change the planet.
- Alex Steffen 
This site is dedicated to the pioneers of peer to peer inspired physical production: Franz Nahrada, Marcin Jakubowski and Amy B. Smith. We also dedicate these pages to the memory of Lawrence J. Rhoades, pioneer of distributed digital production, who passed away last year.
The category was originally proposed and constructed by Franz Nahrada, and aims to encompass every form of design, including of hardware (i.e. Free Hardware Design) and physical production, that can benefit from peer production and open design methodologies.
Goals: the larger context is how to handle a broad shift from centralized, high capital production to decentralized, low capital production, preferably based on Open Designs in order to generate Attainable Utopias.
Therefore, this section will be:
For a narrower focus on actually "making things", see our subset section on Open and Distributed Manufacturing
Our P2P Open Design Network
|Bryan Bishop||Steve Bosserman||Kirsty Boyle||Kevin Carson||Charles Collis||Nathan Cravens|
|kanzure AT gmail DOT com||steve.bosserman AT gmail.com||kirsty AT openmaterials DOT org||free.market.anticapitalist AT gmail.com||charles dot collis at gmail dot com||knuggy AT gmail DOT com|
|Paul Fernhout||Vinay Gupta||Paul Hartzog||Eric Hunting||Marcin Jakubowski||Smári McCarthy|
|pdfernhout AT kurtz-fernhout DOT com||hexayurt AT gmail DOT com||paulbhartzog at gmail.com||erichunting AT gmail DOT com||joseph dot dolittle at gmail dot com||spm2 AT hi DOT is|
|Massimo Menichinelli||Catarina Mota||Sam Rose||Chris Watkins|
|info AT openp2pdesign DOT org||catarina AT openmaterials DOT org||samuel dot rose at gmail dot com||chriswaterguy AT appropedia.org|
- A visualization of the Future of Production by the Institute of the Future
Also: The integrated open design and manufacturing process, a poster by Thomas Lommee at http://IntraStructures.net/yes_we_re_open.pdf
Below are the guiding principles of this integrated vision:
- In a networked society, Investment is about sharing beliefs, leading towards decentralised financing platforms.
- In a networked society, Design is about sharing ideas, leading towards a common design vocabulary.
- In a networked society, Production is about sharing tools and workshops, leading towards flexible, small-scale production
- In a networked society, Retail is about sharing interests, leading towards a reconnection between makers and buyers.
- In a networked society, Consumption is about sharing experiences, leading towards customer-driven innovation.
- In a networked society, Recycling is about sharing materials, leading towards closed material cycles
Tools and Design platforms
Selection from our full Podcasts Directory:
Here are more Open Design Aphorisms
Marcin Jakubowski on open access to digital design
open access to digital design – perhaps in the form a global repository of shared open source designs - introduces a unique contribution to human prosperity. This contribution is the possibility that data at one location in the world can be translated immediately to a product in any other location. This means anyone equipped with flexible fabrication capacity can be a producer of just about any manufactured object. The ramifications for localization of economies are profound, and leave the access to raw material feedstocks as the only natural constraint to human prosperity.
- Marcin Jakubowski
"When intellectual problems become distributed, the search for solutions becomes collaborative and the research agenda is driven not by multinational shareholders but by the passions of the participants, you get not just better results, you get different results."
- Alec Steffens 
Linus Torvalds on Open Peer to Peer Design
"“I think the real issue about adoption of open source is that nobody can really ever “design” a complex system. That’s simply not how things work: people aren’t that smart - nobody is. And what open source allows is to not actually “design” things, but let them evolve, through lots of different pressures in the market, and having the end result just continually improve." (http://www.openp2pdesign.org/blog/archives/43)
Agroblogger on a Appropriate Technology General Public License
"Let us imagine an active online community participating in vibrant discussions and sharing of Appropriate Technology plans and experiences. Let us imagine the AT equivalent of a sourceforge.net, a place where designers and field workers can go to download plans of greenhouses, beehives, water pumps, animal traction implements, and biodiesel equipment. And, within the legal framework of an AT General Public License (GPL), those plans can be used freely, modified, and republished under the same AT GPL. IRC channels dedicated to specific programmatic areas could serve as a dynamic forum where "newbies" can gain wisdom and insight from experienced field practitioners." (Agroblogger )
Karim Lakhani on Communities driving Manufacturers out of the design phase
"for any given company - there are more people outside the company that have smarts about a particular technology or a particular use situation then all the R&D engineers combined. So a community around a product category may have more smart people working on the product then the firm it self. So in the end manufacturers may end up doing what they are supposed to - manufacture - and the design activity might move to the edge and into the community." (http://www.futureofcommunities.com/2007/03/25/communities-driving-manufacturers-out-of-the-design-space/)
Kevin Kelly and Terry Hancock on nearly-free material production
"Material industries are finding that the costs of duplication near zero, so they too will behave like digital copies. Maps just crossed that threshold. Genetics is about to. Gadgets and small appliances (like cell phones) are sliding that way. Pharmaceuticals are already there, but they don't want anyone to know. It costs nothing to make a pill." (http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/01/better_than_fre.php)
Vinay Gupta on Open Source Design for Development
"An open library of designs for refrigerators, lighting, heating, cooling, motors, and other systems will encourage manufacturers, particularly in the developing world, to leapfrog directly to the most sustainable technologies, which are much cheaper in the long run. Manufacturers will be encouraged to use the efficient designs because they are free, while inefficient designs still have to be paid for. The library could also include green chemistry and biological solutions to industry challenges, for example enzymatic reactions that could be used in place of energy, and chemical-intensive processes or nontoxic paint pigments for cars and buildings. This library should be free of all intellectual property restrictions and open for use by any manufacturer, in any nation, without charge." (http://www.guptaoption.com/5.open_source_development.php)
Steve Bosserman outlines what is most appropriate for local distributed manufacturing
"strong candidates for a locally distributed manufacturing approach include ANYTHING that is agriculturally- based like food, feed, fiber, and biofuel production, much of housing and building construction including the manufacturing of inputs used in that industry, localized electric power generation using non-bio sources like wind, solar, and geothermal, and production / manufacturing of materials, components, and assemblies that use locally sourced raw materials and draw upon open-source, relatively easy to learn, appropriate technologies that can be applied in a wide range of situations-- not just a single product."
Marcin Jakubowski on Neosubsistence
"Neosubsistence is the term we apply to a lifestyle where people produce tangible (physical) wealth, as opposed to dealing with information in the information economy. We are talking about basics: even though we live in the information economy, we cannot deny the reality that human prosperity is founded on the provision of physical needs upon which the meeting of all higher needs is predicated. Neosubsistence is related to the information economy in that the information economy is a foundation for neosubsistence"
John Thackara on the importance of design for sustainability
"Eighty per cent of the environmental impact of today's products, services and infrastructures is determined at the design stage. Design decisions shape the processes behind the products we use, the materials and energy required to make them, the ways we operate them and what happens to them when we no longer need them." (http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/007654.html)
Eric von Hippel on Manufacturing around User Innovation Communities
"Threadless has tapped into a fundamental economic shift, a movement away from passive consumerism. One day in the not-too-distant future citizen inventors using computer design programs and three-dimensional printers will exchange physical prototypes in much the same way Nickell and cohorts played Photoshop tennis.
Eventually, Threadless-like communities could form around industries as diverse as semiconductors, auto parts, and toys. Threadless is one of the first firms to systematically mine a community for designs, but everything is moving in this direction.
He foresees research labs and product-design divisions at manufacturing companies being outstripped by an "innovation commons" made up of tinkerers, hackers, and other devout customers freely sharing their ideas. The companies that win will be the ones that listen." (quotes and paraphrased by Inc. )
Frank Piller on User Manufacturing
"User manufacturing is enabled by three main technologies: (1) Easy-to-operate design software that allows users to transfer their ideas into a design. (2) Design repositories where users upload, search, and share designs with other users. This allows a community of loosely connected users to develop a large range of applications. (3) Easy-to-access flexible manufacturing technology. New rapid manufacturing technologies ("fabbing") finally deliver the dream of translating any 3-D data files into physical products -- even in you living room. Combining this technology with recent web technologies can open a radical new way to provide custom products along the entire "long tail" of demand.
User manufacturing builds on the notion that users are not just able to configure a good within the given solution space (mass customization), but also to develop such a solution space by their own and utilize it by producing custom products. As a result, customers are becoming not only co-designers, but also manufacturers, using an infrastructure provided by some specialized companies." (http://mass-customization.blogs.com/mass_customization_open_i/2007/11/webinar-the-nex.html)
Jeff Bezos on User-Manufacturing Everything
"Before long, “user-generated content” won’t refer only to media, but to just about anything: user-generated jeans, user-generated sports cars, user-generated breakfast meals. This is because setting up a company that designs, makes and globally sells physical products could become almost as easy as starting a blog - and the repercussions would be earthshaking. " (http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/kevinmaney/2006-11-21-amazon-user-generated-products_x.htm)
Flexible Manufacturing and the Maker Movement
"Two future forces, one mostly social, one mostly technological, are intersecting to transform how goods, services, and experiences— the “stuff” of our world—will be designed, manufactured, and distributed over the next decade. An emerging do-it-yourself culture of “makers” is boldly voiding warranties to tweak, hack, and customize the products they buy. And what they can’t purchase, they build from scratch. Meanwhile, flexible manufacturing technologies on the horizon will change fabrication from massive and centralized to lightweight and ad hoc. These trends sit atop a platform of grassroots economics—new market structures developing online that embody a shift from stores and sales to communities and connections." (http://iftf.org/node/1766)
The reality for advanced design today is dominated by three ideas: distributed, plural, collaborative. It is no longer about one designer, one client, one solution, one place.
- Bruce Mau (cited in Getting Results from Crowds, p. 171)
- Sheen S. Levine 
In the 21st century economy, it isn't factories and it isn't people that make things. It's communities.
- Eben Moglen 
- Willard McCarty 
- Clay Shirky [http://finance. groups.yahoo.com/group/decentralization/message/6967]
- Marshall McLuhan 
Marvin Brown on Civic Design:
"When people say, ”We have seen the problem and the problem is us,” they deceive themselves. We are not the problem. The problem is one of design. Our current design of how we live together in unjust and unsustainable, and it is still controlled by commercial conversations without any moral foundation. Those who control financial markets are sovereign. If we expand and protect civic conversations we may, in time, participate in the solution—an economy based on civic norms making provisions for this and future generations." (http://www.civilizingtheeconomy.com/2011/12/what-is-a-citizen-and-the-civic/)
Design by the People, for the People
"We know it will only get better but in the meantime the open source/DIY/hacking wave has already achieved a major success, that of cementing the centrality of the common good. The process begins with a community, a group whose homogeneity is no longer described by historical definers of age, gender, race, class, region or religion but rather by a shared interest or passion and ends in another, only to begin again through the way the product is used, adapted, disposed of and maybe even celebrated in its afterlife. In the past, reaching the "consumer" with a finished product meant reaching the terminus of the design process. But that was the time, to paraphrase Ilse Crawford ... when we, designers, used to design for them, consumers. Those rancid old times have gone. We now design for us, people with people for people." 
- Paola Antonelli
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