[p2p-research] Ted Leung on Design and Commons-based Production

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 30 03:56:34 CEST 2009

Another issue is not to see peer production processes 'in isolation'

if we look at free software, we see it is the companies that pay attention
to the 'last mile of design', and von Hippel says something similar in his
book.  The open design communities themselves are less interested in  the
'commercial design' phase, because they don't need to sell, and have
sufficient technical skills to use the programs/products in other ways.

So my take is that we can have open design of the innards, while
market-oriented companies can still compete on the outward designs ...

I don't see that as a 'problem', but rather as a complementary ecology.


On Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 6:38 AM, Paul D. Fernhout <
pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:

> Ryan Lanham wrote:
>> http://www.sauria.com/blog/2009/08/27/design-and-commons-based-peer-production/
> From there: "Can we actually do design using the commonly accepted tools of
> e-mail, version control, wiki’s and bug trackers? The design process relies
> very heavily on visual communications. The code (including design and
> architecture of code) process is predominantly a text based process. It is
> very difficult to do design efficiently in a distributed setting using the
> existing stable of tools. This is going to be a challenge not just for
> designers but for many other problem domains that could benefit from
> commons-based peer production."
> I think otherwise that essay could benefit by exploring this distinction
> about social processes versus stigmergy:
> http://collaboration.wikia.com/wiki/Stigmergic_collaboration
> """
> Stigmergic collaboration is the process of collaboration that utilizes an
> intervening encodable media such as a canvas, a word processing document,
> email or a wiki. Many if not most collaborative processes can be considered
> stigmergic collaboration as the use of encodable media is generally the
> norm. The employment of such media typically extends a collaborative group's
> reach enabling more participants to work across greater spans of geography
> and time, as well as extending group's memory and capacity to engage greater
> levels of complexity.
> ...
> # 2.3.2 2. Collaboration is inherently composed of two primary components,
> without either of which collaboration cannot take place: social negotiation
> and creative output.
> # 2.3.3 3. Collaboration in small groups (roughly 2-25) relies upon social
> negotiation to evolve and guide its process and creative output.
> # 2.3.4 4. Collaboration in large groups (roughly 25-n) is dependent upon
> stigmergy.
> """
> So, Ted Leung sees the valid difficulties in getting designers to work
> together *socially*, but is having trouble seeing the opportunities whereby
> they can build on each other's work *stigmergically*. For example, it may be
> hard for ten designers to agree on how to design a faucet, but it is fairly
> straightforward for someone to pick items from ten different free and open
> source designers to put in a bathroom design (faucet, towels, tiles, window,
> cabinet, lighting, drain, bathtub, outlets, mat).
> --Paul Fernhout
> http://www.pdfernhout.net/
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