Open source hardware communities: investigating participation in design activities

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Boujut, Jean-Fran
Series: ICED
Institution: Grenoble INP - University Grenoble Alpes
Section: Innovation engineering
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


Open source design of hardware products is an emerging phenomenon that takes more and more importance today?s in the society. However, open source (hardware) design implies a tremendous change in both design practices and philosophy because it is partly related to the movements of creative commons and the sharing economy. From this perspective one could think that participation is crucial in the success of open source design projects. In this paper, we analyse 9 case studies in the light of 3 hypotheses. If many studies highlight the potential of the crowd as a resource for design tasks, our study shows that for open source design communities the participation is not massive. In this study, we used an activity-based approach to build our model. As open source design processes are fairly unstructured and based on voluntary participation, it is impossible to adopt a classical task-based model. With the help of this model, we were able evaluate the overall size of the active community, the participation rate with regards to the activities. This study paves the way to deeper and extensive studies on how to support communities engaged in open source design of hardware products.

Keywords: Open source design, Collaborative design, Open innovation, Design process, Organisation of product development


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