Recent technological changes as well as social and organizational innovations have spurred a broad transformation of dominant means and ends for value creation. A fundamental transition has begun: from big, centralized factories to far more decentralized places of production. New forms of value creation emerge due to “disruptive elements” such as “FabLabs”, “Maker-” or “hackerspaces”. Those new labs have technologically advanced profiles, allow individuals access to production technologies and are accompanied by digital ideas of Open Source Hardware or Open Innovation.
The implications of digitalization and decentralization for society, industry, and sustainable development are described in the book “The Decentralized and Networked Future of Value Creation“, co-authored by researchers from the Institute for Ecological Economy Research. The authors focus on the particular example of 3D printing, because the 3D printer is considered a key technology for “Industry 4.0” and simultaneously strengthens decentralized commons based communities. It thereby represents conflicting priorities for the future society. In addition to evaluating 3D printing’s disruptive potentials against a broader economic background, it also addresses social and ecological implications.
Can Open Source Hardware Disrupt Manufacturing Industries?
While the means of production used to be exclusive and limited, new labs with technologically advanced profiles nowadays allow a wider access to modern industrial production forms. Therefore, they are often considered “disruptive elements”: the decentralization of digital productivity prospectively seems to finally reach the sphere of materialistic productivity, as the editors Jan-Peter Ferdinand, Ulrich Petschow and Sascha Dickel illustrate.
The volume consists of eleven chapters, including individual views on decentralization, emphasizing economic, technical, social and environmental perspectives. For example:
The book originated from the research project “The Potential of Advanced Technological, Decentralized and Personalized Production against the Background of a Low Carbon Economy”, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). With the project “Commons-based Peer Production in Offenen Werkstätten” (COWERK), funded by the BMBF program Social-ecological Research (SÖF), the IÖW is currently analyzing together with partners how new technological methods in the context of decentralized and community-based production are used and which impact they have with regard to a sustainable development (www.cowerk.org).
Ferdinand, Jan-Peter; Petschow, Ulrich; Dickel, Sascha (Editors, 2016): The Decentralized and Networked Future of Value Creation. 3D Printing and its Implications for Society, Industry, and Sustainable Development, ISBN 978-3-319-31684-0, 255 pages, 47 illustrations
More information about the book, including a printable cover: