Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1299–1316 | Cite as

Innovation through collaboration: scaling up solutions for sustainable development

  • I. Zelenika
  • J. M. PearceEmail author


The open collaborative philosophy employed in the success of open source (OS) software can be applied to hardware design. Specifically, the development of OS appropriate technologies (OSAT) can improve sustainable development efforts worldwide. Yet, widespread OSAT use is far from ubiquitous. Given that lack of communication, access to information and poor collaboration are among the largest barriers to a more effective OSAT dissemination, this paper explores opportunities to overcome such obstacles using four techniques: (1) collaborative online platforms, (2) crowd-sourcing, (3) the concept of knowledge commons, and (4) enabled educational institutions through service learning and applied research. The results are analyzed, and conclusions are drawn that outline paths to higher multiuser collaboration for OSAT deployment.


Sustainable development Open source Appropriate technology Knowledge commons Crowd-sourcing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental StudiesQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA

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