Sub-theme 10. Local institution building and radical futures for the commons
The Open Source Hardware Commons: Exploring the environmental and socioeconomic benefits of OSH and the Right-to-Repair movement
Over the past few years the preexisting model of producing and delivering physical goods to end users through optimized just-in-time supply chains served by centralized mass-manufacturing hubs has been hitting one problem after another. This model has proven incredibly fragile and sensitive to disruptions; global pandemics, and disasters attributed to rapidly accelerating climate change have placed strains so severe on brittle Supply Chain (SC) systems that management models are being rethought entirely, looking toward increased SC agility and contingency planning for future crises (Magableh, 2021).
What would the reconfiguration of the SC look like, if it were to be adjusted, or reconstructed entirely to support increased agility, resilience, and modularized production? What are the new information sharing, skills development, and sufficiency-driven business models (such as reparability), that the Open Source Hardware (OSH) Commons would need to develop in order to make distributed, localized manufacturing a viable alternative to the current model (Dao et al., 2020)?
In this panel, we will explore how the OSH Commons can help provide alternatives to the current predominant model to ensure that physical goods such as electronic and computing component parts, live-saving medical devices, scientific research hardware, and agricultural equipment can be made available to those who need them in a way that is more environmentally sustainable, socially beneficial, and economically viable.
Dao, T.; Cooper, T.; & Watkins, M. (2020). Sufficiency-driven business model through product repairability: a study on potential value to business stakeholders. In: N. Cornelissens, ed., Proceedings 5th International Online Conference on New Business Models.
Magableh, G. (2021). Supply Chains and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Comprehensive Framework. European Management Review. 2021 Autumn; 18(3): 363–382. DOI: 10.1111/emre.12449
1. A New Standard for Open Electronics Design-data to Aid Repairability
Internet of Production Alliance, United Kingdom
Repairability of electronics is crucial in the fight against e-waste. However, congruent, accessible and practicable design standards that aid design for repair are scarce, if not non-existent. The Internet of Production commissioned research into drafting a new standard for open electronics design-data, focusing on design information and documentation of electronics components, assemblies and sub-assemblies. The report is a product of that research project and has two key functions: 1) To share learnings from the research that would inform the development of the standard and 2) propose formulated concepts grounded in insights from the research. The methodology was a qualitative research, where 40 participants from relevant stakeholder groups were interviewed and the subsequent key takeaways then analysed. The results identified critical factors including: design process, supply chain, documentation, incentivising design for repair, openness and education and design for repair as a strategy. The report then details four ideas for the standard, grounded in the findings from the research, which could be developed further. The closing recommendations are: prototyping the suggested concepts and start building a working solution for each, at least in principle; community engagement, via interviews, consultation and forums, to gather feedback on the prototypes and iterate; develop success criteria, based on initial prototyping paired with research findings, to finalise the requirements for the standard; and apply requirements to prototypes to select and narrow down to a final concept, to be developed out.
2. The role of AfricaOSH in the open science/source hardware movement, and how networked ecosystems of community and shared events are transforming the work of OScH.
Africa Open Science & Hardware (AFRICAOSH), GHANA
AfricaOSH is a community of makers, makerspaces, scientists, researchers, etc which is dedicated to making open science hardware ubiquitous in Africa. Our flagship program is our annual summit which takes place on a rotational basis across various regions in Africa with the aim of discussing all the opportunities for Africa offered by open science and its various trends and topics. AfricaOSH seeks to create an ecosystem for innovation that is locally adapted, culturally relevant, economically viable, and environmentally sustainable, an ecosystem of shared ideas, shared knowledge, and shared resources.
3. Trust in material peer production
The problems that today threaten the health of our natural environment, the sustainability of our economies and even our ways of life, are proving so complex and interconnected as to have inspired new kinds of collaborations and organizations – referred to as the 4th Sector.
In parallel to these pressures to find radically new approaches, a new potential has been introduced by the development of new digital technologies, which has sparked the development of a new shared imagination and a new culture, giving birth to new approaches.
The 4th Sector, with its new p2p (peer-to-peer) approaches, can address social issues unattainable by public and private offerings. They are well-rooted in local realities and they tend to be more dynamic and more resilient than typical offerings structured within the social sector. The 4th Sector has the potential to address marginal social issues in almost real-time, saving national and regional governments millions of dollars.
In addition to detailing its benefits, we will address the following limiting factors for the development of the 4th Sector:
Imagination and understanding
The 4th Sector doesn’t exist for people, because most people don’t have a mental model for it.
Most people are formed 8h/day, 5 days/week within hierarchical and competitive environments.
Institutional Recognition and Legitimacy
This is about being identified, which depends on imagination and understanding, being valued and being recognized.
Related to trust. Need to develop a regulatory framework for the 4th Sector, in order to diminish the probability of wrongdoing.
Related to interoperability or the ability of different agents to interact. The 4th Sector is very fragmented.