Citations on Open and Shared Design and Open and Distributed Manufacturing

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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

Shared Design is essential to transform the world

"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 [1]

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." (

"don’t EVER make the mistake that you can design something better than what you get from ruthless massively parallel trial-and-error with a feedback cycle. That’s giving your intelligence _much_ too much credit." (

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, 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 [2])

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." (

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." (


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." (

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." (

Both the capital and marginal cost of making products has trended consistently and rapidly down as manufacturing tools become both cheaper and more versatile, so that the capital cost of an object is increasingly not in the capital equipment required to manufacture it, but in the effort required to design it.

- Terry Hancock [3]

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."

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. [4])

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." (

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. " (

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." (

So, what can we do to prevent instability? The solution isn't to formulate vague contingency plans or return to passive optimism. Obviously, that won't work. No, the solution is to improve our resilience to these systemic shocks through a social and economic transition that follows this simple formula:

   * Localize production.   
   * Virtualize everything else.

- John Robb [5]

"The emergence of commons-based techniques — particularly, of an open innovation platform that can incorporate farmers and local agronomists from around the world into the development and feedback process through networked collaboration platforms—promises the most likely avenue to achieve research oriented toward increased food security in the developing world. It promises a mechanism of development that will not increase the relative weight and control of a small number of commercial firms that specialize in agricultural production. It will instead release the products of innovation into a self-binding commons—one that is institutionally designed to defend itself against appropriation. It promises an iterative collaboration platform that would be able to collect environmental and local feedback in the way that a free software development project collects bug reports—through a continuous process of networked conversation among the user-innovators themselves."

- Yochai Benkler ([6], p. 22)

"The guaranteed income will, in fact, lead to the revival of "private enterprise." Once the guaranteed income is available, we can anticipate the organization of what I have called "consentives": productive groups formed by individuals who will come together on a voluntary basis simply because they wish to do so. The goods produced by these consentives will not compete with mass-produced goods available from cybernated firms. The consentive will normally produce the "custom-designed" goods that have been vanishing within the present economy. The consentive would sell in competition with firms paying wages, but its prices would normally be lower because it would need to cover only the cost of materials and other required supplies. Wages and salaries would not need to be met out of income, as the consentive members would be receiving a guaranteed income. The consentive would be market-oriented but not market-supported."

- Robert Theobald, The Guaranteed Income, 1966

Design Global, Manufacture Local

Kostakis, Bauwens et al. on 'design global, manufacture local'

"[We explore] the contours of an emerging productive model that builds on the convergence of the digital commons of knowledge, software and design with local manufacturing tech- nologies. [We] tentatively call it 'design global, manufacture local' (DGML) and argue that it could potentialize new forms of value creation. In short, DGML describes the processes through which design is developed, shared and improved as a global digital com- mons, whereas the actual manufacturing takes place locally through shared infrastructures with local biophysical conditions in mind"

- Vasilis Kostakis, Michel Bauwens et al.:,_Manufacture_Local