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= proposal for an "Open Source physical product distribution infrastructure"


  • bring peer designed products to the market in an accountable way
  • make sure that needs of all stakeholders are met
      • creative people get their share
      • producers can produce under human conditions
      • users get quality and reliability
  • foster cooperation and improved product design
  • facilitate quality control by branding
  • exert democratic control over a brand name
  • create resilience towards proprietory action
  • empower the growth of compatibilty and coherence (interoperability) between Open Products in the physical world.





By Thomas Diener, FairWork GmbH:

"I'll can send a more structured text within the next few weeks
but it will be in my very simple English. If somebody would like
to translate from German into English it would make my job
much easier.

I just start with a kind of sketch:

We would like to design a new way to develop and produce products. The
vision is:
Imagine all products we purchase and use contain the following quality
- functional
- worthwhile
- durable
- fully serviceable
- easy to keep up-to-date (acc. techn. products)
- fancy
- positive ecobalance
Imagine that in such factories, where above described products are
manufactured there is also appreciation for workers - so we even would
like to work there.
From there, we would love to use these products with clear conscience and
a kind of pride as we consider it as "our products". These products belong
to us, because its developed from our pure needs and designed and made by
us, potentially. More, trademark rights are owned by us in our roles as
worker/producer and consumer, concurrently.
These are products whose design and goodwill is considered common
In this sense there are already a lot of useful initiatives, e.g. Software
relying on a range of striking Open Source applications.

But what about cell phones, sneakers, furniture, cars, solar panels, as
well as many other products?
Lets call it the Open Source Physical Product side, not only electronic
hardware, but all kind of different stuff.
Indeed, even here there are some remarkable projects launched, but didn't
made headway, so far.
In comparison to above mentioned initiatives today's business mergers and
affiliated corporations are more powerful, financially strong, and rather
efficient, too.
Think about what will happen, if we combine efficiency of a large
commercial structure, the capability of Open Source, IT options, and the
vitality of Social Communities?

To concretize this vision we need:
- a form of organization which combines the efficiency of a global company
with a deep democratic foundation.
- a clear structure which allows fast growth and the involvement of many
different players
- a web 2 community-based communication between all the players which
allows not only to brainstorm ideas, to crowdsource questions/solutions
and to control the different players but also to facilitate and to
visualize basic decisions making process.

The ideas to realize this dream are so far:
- the democratic foundation is possible through a special form of
participation: Every person which is involved in the "Company" is
automatically a co-holder of the company. Since as developer and designer
of products, as producer or as consumer (any person can of course be a mix
of all this roles). This model is proven by big and successful companies
like for instance "Visa-Card" (http://www.chaordic.org) and maybe also some
cooperatives like Mondragon, Migros etc.

- to set up a organizational form we call "Hybrid global company" it is a
combination of basically 3 elements:

- - a foundation with legal capacity. The goal is:
- - - to assure that the "ethic" nucleus of the company will sustain
- - - to gather the precious parts of the company in order to keep them
away from the greediness of some player inside or outside of the company
(precious could be: the social community platform, the brand of the
Compagnie and of each product, the design of the corporate communication
and each product and so on.)
- - a limited company which is responsible for the operative part of the
work (coordination, translations, marketing, and so on).
- - - This joint stock company is only responsible to provide the services
around the "Hybrid global company".
- - a social community platform which is
- - - the "newspaper" of the company (independent from the foundation and
the limited company.
- - - the place where all the players are represented
- - - the place where the global direction of the company were discussed
and basic decision were made (something like a online parliament)
- - - The place where crowdsourcing can happen
- - - and so on . . .

This 3 Elements are basicly independend but connected trough a structural
coupling. In the best case that could grow into an living system, which
stabilize itself in a very dynamic way.

An example of this interplay you can find hier

http://fairwork.mixxt.org/networks/wiki/index.ProdukteGeschichte (only in
german yet) - "The history of a product" describes in full detail what
would be a "democratic economic process"

Maybe someone could translate it to english and english pages could be
added in that MIXXT Wiki.

What could be the next steps:
There are of course a lot of unsolved problems around this idea. But best
way to bring it into practice is to start.
So I suggest to build a foundation for that project and we need a first
striking product for the start of a cooperation between developer,
producers and consumers.

I am willing to maintain the process of building the foundation. The Swiss
law is very flexible and allows to start with a very small amount of
money. Anybody who would like to help me with the formulation of the
articles of corporation is kindly invited to help."