Here I presented the results of one of my research methods, benchmarking of Open Source Design Platforms.
Open Source ideology had a large influence on this project. Openness is a collaborative culture rather than just a licence, the creation is shared and passed around without limits. The Open Source model is a social, political, technological and cultural movement. Originating in programming language, today it has grown into a worldwide sharing trend. The core intention is to create free content with collaboration at the core. It is sharing instructions which can be used repeatedly with no additional cost (Romer, 1989). Information is not tangible and can be distributed around the world.
The Open Source design platforms challenge the idea that the designer’s task is to deliver a product. Applying the Open Innovation principles to design can inspire mass, collective innovation. Dutch architect, John Habraken, wrote in his ‘Structure of the Ordinary’ (1998) that the role of the architect and designer in the future should be initiating the project and participating in it, rather than dictating it. Nicholas Negroponte, a Greek-American architect, said that the designer of the future would be a “creator of open frameworks rather than deterministic forms” (Ratti, 2015). The Open Source design platforms answer those concerns and look for methods for social engagement in making.
This benchmarking examines four Open Source design platforms:
Foldschool – cardboard furniture for children
Opendesk – plywood furniture
Precious Plastic – shredder made to recycle plastic and form everyday objects from it
RepRap – a 3D printer that you can make by yourself.
I researched each of the organisations as well as attempted to make the products they offer. For the purpose of this benchmarking, I marked them 10-1 (10 as the highest) in terms of i. ease of construction, ii. the practicality of the product, iii. accessibility of materials, sustainability and online presence. The ratings are based on my personal experience of making the objects and browsing the suppliers’ websites and social media. At this point, my idea of designing a service started to form (Knopek, 2017).