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Company-Community Collaboration for Open Source Development of products and services

Project description

Fostering community involvement in product creation and marketing

Open source software (OSS) gave rise to a billion-euro economy by releasing software design from proprietary use and opening the way to feedback by the public at large. Its extension to open source hardware (OSH) and the creation of physical objects has not been as widespread among the non-institutional segments of society. OPEN_NEXT focuses on encouraging and supporting SMEs to unleash OSH’s potential through company-community collaborations (C3). It will use case studies to prove C3 feasibility, provide SMEs with needed infrastructure and business support to integrate the designs into marketable products, and, most important, it will invite and rely on the participation of consumers and citizens in a project that will lead to new user-friendly products.


OPEN!NEXT enables SMEs to engage in company-community collaboration (C3) for means of co-development and market exploitation of Open Source Hardware (OSH) products and related services. OSH is an increasingly viable approach to intellectual property management extending the principles of Open Source Software (OSS) to the domain of physical products. These principles support the development of products in transparent processes allowing for participation of non-institutional contributors such as consumers, makers and citizens; enabling the emergence of innovation ecosystems around the co-development of user-centric products. This alternative organization of product development in OSS has been the template for the creation of a billion-euro economy that fuelled the fourth industrial revolution. Although OSH now has the potential to follow the same successful path, it has not found its way to mainstream business application yet.
OPEN!NEXT builds upon the vision that SMEs are the best placed to release the formidable potential of OSH in terms of product innovation and business incubation. The project aims to establish a company-community ecosystem, facilitate the engagement of SMEs in efficient collaboration with OSH communities and open up new avenues for value creation. Something to be achieved through the realisation of four objectives: 1) demonstrating the potential of C3 through cases studies with business partners, 2) delivering the necessary ICT infrastructure, standards and methods to enable seamless collaborative engineering in C3, 3) synthesizing adapted business models for SMEs, and 4) establishing a network of consulting actors to support SMEs adopt these business models. Thus, OPEN!NEXT fosters SMEs’ abilities to gather contributions from communities of volunteers and reusing of existing open source designs, leading to a reduction of 15% in time-to-market and 20% in development costs while further expanding a phenomenon of societal relevance.

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Net EU contribution
€ 913 948,75
10623 Berlin

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Berlin Berlin Berlin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 913 948,75

Participants (19)