OPEN! Methods and tools for community-based product development

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The French-German research project "OPEN! Methods and tools for community-based product development" aims at:

  • understanding open source product development, showing concrete evidence of this emerging practice and delivering detailed description of the phenomenon;
  • modeling the open source product development process as an alternative to well-anchored industrial product development processes;
  • providing concrete process support in the form of methods and IT-tools. It will particularly be focused on the concept of a open design platform.

The project started in March 2016 and is co-financed by the German and the French national research foundations DFG and ANR for a period of three years.

Contents of the wiki

All along the project, we will use this wiki to share results and data with the open source hardware community. Check for example the following pages:

Research programme

The aim of the project is to characterize current practices of open source product development in order to develop concrete guidance to support design process efficiency of open source product development projects. This guidance shall particularly consider:

  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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?

This will be addressed through the development of:

  • a formalized open source product development process for coordinating individual efforts of community members towards a finished product design;
  • online tools enabling collaborative engineering, thus supporting simultaneously the three functional spaces of collaboration: communication (e.g. chat, wiki), cooperation (e.g. concurrent text editing) and coordination (e.g. task allocation through workflows).

Project partners and staff

Consulting partners

Related publications

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, Italy, 27-30.07.15, pp. 11-22. [1]

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. [2]

Product development for everyone, TU Berlin Press release 2016/3, 13.01.2016 (EN DE)

Introducing the Do-It-Yourself Bicycle, Public Awareness Video, posted on Youtube 21.11.2013. [3]


Project coordinator: Jérémy Bonvoisin
+49 (0)30 39006 358
contact form


"OPEN!" is a French-German project located in Berlin (Germany) and Grenoble (France) <display_map service="leaflet"> Berlin, Germany Grenoble, France </display_map>