Understanding Community Behaviors In For-Profit Open Source Hardware Projects

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

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Li, Zhuoxuan (1); Seering, Warren (1); Tao, Tiffany (1); Cao, Shengnan (2)
Series: ICED
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Section: Innovation engineering
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.1017/dsi.2019.246
ISSN: 2220-4342


Free contributors have successfully shown the potential in large/complex software co-creation in the Free and Open Source Software Movement, triggering many discussions and exploration ventures from academia to industry and to the government. Though many research efforts explored whether the same level of co-creation efforts could take place broadly in the hardware realm, very few research studies focus on profit-seeking hardware projects initiated by companies. In fact, the specific nature of being tangible and profitable makes company-led open source hardware projects suspicious to be really ?open? to contributors. Community has been identified as the critical driver in many open projects. By reviewing the evolution of company-community interactions over time and different community behaviors in different open development context, authors in this paper hope to identify best community-company interaction forms for open source hardware companies. Using grounded theory and case studies, we construct a framework to describe and identify company community?s different behaviors and different roles.

Keywords: Open source design, Open innovation, Design management, Collaborative design


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