Open Design Consulting: How to capitalise on and adapt to open source practices for tangible products

Asta S. Fjelsted, Gudrun Adalsteinsdottir, Thomas J. Howard (Supervisor), Tim C. McAloone (Supervisor)

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The objective of this study is to set up some foundational theory and practices for the conceptualisation of open source practices for tangible products, or the so-called Open Design. This is a novel and emerging approach derived from the well-known open source software movement. A clear definition of the practice has been lacking as well as identification of an archetypal business model of current practices. Furthermore no explanation or step-by-step process has been accessible on how companies could use open design and obtain a sustainable
business despite opening up the product development process.
Four open design companies were chosen as cases for the study to identify their characteristics and activities. One case; Arduino, received a special focus, as the authors had the opportunity to work with one of its founders. Empirical material was gathered through faceto-face interviews and Skype conferences, while internet resources were used extensively. With literature on open design being scarce, some knowledge and experience was drawn from the ‘brother’ paradigm; open source software, especially in relation to motivational factors,
management and business aspects.
This has lead to a clear definition and archetypal business model for open design, in addition to the Open Design Process, which demonstrates the key elements that have been identified and how they come into play in the
process. These are platform, community, development, business and drive. A 6-Step Guide to open design is then introduced which starts by identifying the company’s current situation (As-Is), both externally and internally,
for thereafter to translate it into a To-Be scenario in terms of open design business opportunities. Emphasis is laid on the different possibilities of revenue streams that may influence other dimensions of the company’s business
The authors see the 6-Step Guide as a consultancy framework for companies to walk through when considering open design. It should provide them with a well-rounded scenario of opportunities and challenges and prepare them for the next steps of implementing open design strategies.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherOpen Design Consulting
Number of pages95
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This report is developed and published under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0.

Note re. dissertation

The online version is slightly different to the submitted masters project.

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