At the beginning of December 2015 I was in Madrid for “Objects in common” seminar session at Medialab Prado. Here’s the summary of my talk and below the slides:
Open source projects are focused on involving a community of users and engaging them in different ways. It’s not only a matter of uploading a file, or some code. The process of sharing is a complex effort of internal and external communication: it’s about understanding the immaterial value that can be exchanged among the people participating but also the limits and obstacles you encounter on your path of growth.
In the last 10 years, the debate around open source has been growing in unexpected areas of the socalled “creative industries”. From software, code and computer’s operating systems (like Linux), open source moved to content creation, knowledge, art, journalism, photography, music.
Thanks to the power of the web and the accessibility of personal computers and mobile phones connected to it, it became easier to share and re-distribute immaterial culture at zero cost.
Later on, practices related to open source software, moved to hardware.
Open design and digital fabrication are showing us new ways for designing and producing things. But it’s not only a matter of searching for something new.
We have also a different problem. Traditional ways of producing objects and devices is often limiting innovation. Old monopolies are creating barriers for real innovation to happen.The same word “Innovation” is not a straightforward word, it has a different meaning depending on who’s saying it.
Innovation for most of the mainstream and powerful companies is about something better than their competitors or better than the previous version of their product. Innovation for me and for you and many other around us is about creating a product or a project disrupting the way a specific service or object has been traditionally conceived.
For example millions of tonnes of e-waste are generated by our devices which are generally difficult to upgrade, fix or repurpose, how come there’s not a yet a totally upgradable device? We have all the knowledge to build such a device.
In the domain of open source technology, novel paradigms emerge in which customization is combined with personal fabrication, product development is expanded by users’ co-design, open licenses replace the traditional patents system.
Many creators and innovators are assuming that the impact of those paradigms activate opportunities for developing new design approaches that consider products as platforms calling people to participation and activation.
Open source artifacts: what are they? They are objects and projects users can modify or build upon thanks to an ecosystem of shared documentation, services and licenses.
Because openness and commons are about sharing. Sharing is about communication and the ability to be found by who’s got the need you are fulfilling.
Communication is about care. Care is about allowing people to step-in easily and step-up properly without the need of becoming specialists.