Innovation through collaboration: scaling up solutions for sustainable development

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    David Grimshaw, http://practicalaction.org/.

  2. 2.

    Vinay Gupta, http://hexayurt.com/.

  3. 3.

    Zubaida Bai, http://www.ayzh.com/.

  4. 4.

    David Eaves, http://eaves.ca/about/.

  5. 5.

    Arduino, http://www.arduino.cc/.

  6. 6.

    DIY book scanners, http://www.diybookscanner.org/.

  7. 7.

    RepRap, http://reprap.org/.

  8. 8.

    A flop is the floating-point operation speed of a processor. A typical computer runs at about seven GigaFlops. One PetaFlop is 1015 Flops.

  9. 9.

    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.

  10. 10.

    http://www.appropedia.org/Portal:Service_learning.

  11. 11.

    Engineering for Change https://www.engineeringforchange.org/home.

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Zelenika, I., Pearce, J.M. Innovation through collaboration: scaling up solutions for sustainable development. Environ Dev Sustain 16, 1299–1316 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-014-9528-7

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Keywords

  • Sustainable development
  • Open source
  • Appropriate technology
  • Knowledge commons
  • Crowd-sourcing