DS0301 - Travail –place de l’homme, organisation des écosystèmes, valeur sociétale

Method and tools for Community-based Product Development – OPEN!


Methods and tools for community-based product development

Understand and model the open source product design process

The aim of the project is to characterize the open design paradigm and to develop a comprehensive organizational model embedded into an open design platform that can support design process efficiency of open design projects. This organizational model shall consider:<br /> • the organizational and business environment of open design projects: What business models can be built based on open design? What are the motivational drivers of project contributors and what are the different roles they may play? How is governance implemented? Through what regulation mechanisms are decisions taken?<br /> • the open source product development process: What can ensure an efficient distribution of design tasks in a loosely-coupled organization? What validation mechanisms ensure the approval or rejection of individuals` contributions? How to ensure that contributions converge and let emerge a sufficiently designed product?<br /> • the supporting information systems: What structure of product data information is adapted to a decentralized organization of design tasks? What capabilities should offer an online collaborative design platform to support the efficient collaboration of distant designers? What is the typology of information and intermediary objects to be stored and edited online to ensure building a common understanding between project contributors?

In WP1, 2 and 4 we mainly used empirical methods based on interviews, transcription and analysis. The analysis framework is mainly based on the litterature of computer supported collaborative work and management science.
This study has been carried out by TU Berlin, CERAG and G-SCOP, on the basis of interviews of 29 people representing 24 projects, mostly project initiators, and a qualitative analysis with NVIVO based on a framework provided. The main results are: 1) definition of 5 personas representing the archetypes of the OSPD actors, 2) a two level analysis framework, 3) an overview of findings which stresses the main characteristics of the OSPD initiatives we encountered.

This approach is complemented by a systematic search and analysis of existing OSPD project leading to the construction of a database available on the website. In a second time we will use a case study based research method relying on our partners projects. This will be WP3. On the top of that analysis scripts are being developed to mine the projects on GitHub and provide data on the activity of the projects on this emblematic platform. The effort in that direction will be continued.

Task 1.1 was dedicated to the inventory of open source product design projects and is still ongoing as the database is constantly enriched today. This result is available online on the project website. Task 1.2 and 1.3 were dedicated map the characters represented by the personas with problems the interviewees have raised.

WP2 main activities have been to study OSPD process models and identify project typology and design of generic collaborative development process map. The results of the typology analysis showed three categories of projects (public innovators, involuntary isolated innovators and collaborative innovators). The next step was to study the process itself and try to map a generic collaborative development process.

WP3 delivered an analysis of IT supporting tools used by open source product development projects. This allowed for the identification of specific functionalities which have been compiled into the specification of an ideal platform supporting open source product development projects. As a result, we need to extend the empirical research to an observation-based approach and we will concentrate on two use cases illustrating two different paths to OSPD (Raidlight and Entropie companies).

WP4 investigates how open source product development initiatives create, capture and deliver value, and what that value entails. To that end, the empirical research conducted in WP1 to answer the following research questions: (1) What are the characteristics of the revenue streams of OSPD projects? (2) How can the notion of value be extended to include stakeholder value?

Additionally we decided to assess the relevance of the phenomenon in the market by complementing the community-led perspectives in WP1. The general question behind this research is “how do companies respond to open source hardware and how do they engage with or foster collaboration with OSPD innovation communities?”

The first important result of the project was to frame the field of open source design products, and to provide a clear picture on the importance of the phenomenon in terms activity, actors and area covered (see data base and web site): opensourcedesign cc/wiki/index php/OPEN _Methods_and_tools_for_community-based_product_development.

Second result is a clear stat of the art of the topic and therefore a definition of the notion of openness (see paper to be issued in journal of open hardware). Concept are clearly defined – refer to glossary

Third was the partially surprising fact that the abundance and diversity of tools available but not directly designed for open source hardware underlined a lack of integration more than a lack of tool.

Four is the interest of the companies towards this phenomenon, and the way they respond to the phenomenon notably the potential business model in the future that implies open source approaches.

Bonvoisin, J , Robert Mies, Rainer Stark and Jean-François Boujut 2017 “What is the source of open source hardware?” Accepted to the Journal of Open Hardware

Bonvoisin, J , Boujut, J F , 2015 «Open design platforms for open source product development: current state and requirements,« Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 15), Vol 8: Innovation and Creativity, Milan

Bonvoisin, J , L Thomas, R Mies, C Gros, R Stark, K Samuel, R Jochem, and J -F Boujut , 2017 « Current state of practices in open source product development » Accepted for presentation at the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design, Vancouver

Bonvoisin, J 2017 «Limits of Ecodesign: The Case for Open Source Product Development « International Journal of Sustainable Engineering 0 (0)1–9

Bonvoisin, J , 2016 Implications of Open Source Design for Sustainability In: Sustainable Design and Manufacturing 2016, Volume 52 of the series Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, R Setchi, R J Howlett, Y Liu, P Theobald (Eds ), pp 49-59, Springer

Bonvoisin, Jérémy, Robert Mies, Roland Jochem, and Rainer Stark 2016 «Theorie Und Praxis in der Open-Source-Produktentwicklung « In: 1 Interdisziplinäre Konferenz zur Zukunft der Wertschöpfung – Konferenzband, J Wülfsberg, T Redlich and M Moritz (eds ),

Bonvoisin, J K Galla, S Prendeville 2017 «Design Principles for Do-It-Yourself Production « In: Campana G , Howlett R , Setchi R , Cimatti B (eds) Sustainable Design and Manufacturing 2017, 77-86 Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, vol 68 Springer

Tech, Robin P G , Hendrik Send, and Konstanze E K Neumann 2017 “Central Components of Open Business Models - What Makes an Open Business Model Open?” SASE Conference, Lyon

Thomas, Laetitia, and Karine Samuel 2017 “Characteristics of Open Source Business Models ” Submitted to XXVII ISPIM Innovation Conference - Composing the Innovation Symphony, Vienna

The spread of ICT and cheap low-size production tools like 3D-printers led to the development of open design, i.e. community-based and open source development of physical products. This innovative organization of product development based on a new conception of copyright as well as decentralized and voluntary work offers a disruptive alternative to conventional industrial product development. It provides a great opportunity for continuous improvement of products as well as formidable potentials for product innovation and incubation of new businesses.

However, the emergence of open design still suffers from a limited availability of supporting methods and online tools helping to face the organizational challenges raised by distributed collaboration of non-contractually engaged volunteers. Because of a lack of adapted structuration mechanisms, open design projects are still restricted to the development of products of low complexity and quality, i.e. prototypes or toys for do-it-yourself hobbyists. In order to compete with today’s standards of industrial product design, open design shall be provided with adapted methods and tools that ensures significant process efficiency and economic viability.

The objective of this project is to develop an online Open Design Platform providing communities with innovative methods and tools allowing them to collaborate on the design and continuous improvement of open source products. The scope of the project covers 1) the characterization of the open design paradigm and the existing practices as they emerge today, 2) the development a set of adapted methods for the organization of open design projects based on the adaptation of existing methods used in industry 3) the prototyping of an online platform implementing these methods. Scientific challenges addressed along these tasks are to:
- Define an open source product development process ensuring the convergence of open source product development projects and allowing designing high quality and complex products.
- Define adapted supporting information systems providing design communities with tools for online collaboration, product data management and management of the development process.
- Define guidelines for business models helping entrepreneurs reducing risks associated with the development of business models based on open source.

The project will be performed by a multidisciplinary consortium involving French and German research laboratories and companies. It will be led by French and German laboratories on industrial engineering (G-SCOP [Fr], TU Berlin/IWF [De]) and will involve contributions from business economics (HU Berlin/HIIG [De]) and innovation management sciences (CERAG [Fr]). Solutions will be developed and tested in collaboration the company Raidlight [Fr] that develops an original co-design approch with its customers, and online communities thanks to our external partners (P2PLab, Open Source Ecology).

Project coordination

Jean-François BOUJUT (Sciences pour la Conceptoin, l'Optimisation et la production de Grenoble)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CERAG-UGA Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Appliquées à la Gestion
OSE Open source ecology
Open IT Open IT Agency
P2PLab Lab Reasearch Hub
IWF-QW Technische Universität Berlin - Institut für Werkzeugmaschinen und Fabrikbetrieb Qualitätswissenschaft
HIIG Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society
IWF-ITT Technische Universität Berlin - Institut für Werkzeugmaschinen und Fertigungstechnik – Fachgebiet Industrielle Informationstechnik
CERAG Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Appliquées à la Gestion
G-SCOP Sciences pour la Conceptoin, l'Optimisation et la production de Grenoble

Help of the ANR 315,298 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2016 - 36 Months

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