Co-Creation pp 129-145 | Cite as

Harnessing the Synergy Potential of Open Source Hardware Communities

  • Robert MiesEmail author
  • Jérémy Bonvoisin
  • Roland Jochem
Part of the Management for Professionals book series (MANAGPROF)


Open source hardware is an upcoming phenomenon which bears an enormous potential for reframing the social organization of product development and therewith to disrupt conventional industrial practices. The open source movement has not just contributed greatly to the advancement of the internet, renowned open source software projects like the Apache project or Linux project have been accelerated tremendously through company participation while retaining their community structures. This article therefore raises awareness on commonly shared values in the open source hardware (OSH) domain and how to go about managing company participation in open source hardware communities. It addresses some of the most salient aspects of switching from a proprietary logic to an open source paradigm and gives practical advice towards this transition. Therefore, comparisons between the proprietary and the open source logic are drawn along seven themes: co-designing vs. open source product development, global vs. local sourcing, exclusivity vs. reciprocity, mass vs. niche focus, hierarchical vs. self-governed workflows, control vs. self-propelled learning, and company vs. community IT infrastructure. This leads to the identification of practical recommendations for companies interested to engage in open source hardware communities. This guidance will help managers to better navigate their companies within community environments, to identify the kind of contributions they can offer, and ultimately to realize the full potential of synergy advantages.


Open source hardware Open source hardware communities Open source product development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Mies
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jérémy Bonvoisin
    • 2
  • Roland Jochem
    • 1
  1. 1.Technische Universität Berlin, Institute for Machine Tools and Factory Management, Chair of Quality ScienceBerlinGermany
  2. 2.University of BathBathUK

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