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The Standard: Open Force

Jun 12, 2000, 18:50 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Don Tapscott, David Ticoll)

"The open-source model, popularized by the success of the Linux operating system, isn't confined to the ones-and-zeros world of software. With the Internet's arrival, astute companies can capitalize on many aspects of the open-source philosophy to gain competitive advantage in the development of products as solid as a new car."

"The potential power of the open-source spirit is enormous, and for good reason. It is the finest expression of the free market. Ideas are encouraged to proliferate and the best thinking wins. By contrast, most corporations today operate in a central planning straitjacket. Designers - whether of physical goods (like cars and toothbrushes), technology (like computer software) or of abstractions (like business strategy) - tend to have a linear view of the design process. Define your needs, do a high-level design, then a detailed one. Create a prototype, then the item. Test before deploying on a large scale. Keep the design team small and focused to minimize errors."

"But imagine the open-source spirit moving into the manufacturing arena. General Motors (GM) could use the process to help design cars using 3D visual prototypes distributed via the Web. Participants could include style-conscious customers, fleet buyers, knowledgeable service technicians, supply-chain partners, dealers, car buffs and industrial designers. Everyone would participate because of their self-interest."

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