My Research

Since spring 2008 I’m working as research fellow at Hamburg University of Technology at the Institute of Technology and Innovation Management. My research focuses on open source innovation and in particular on empirical studies of open design projects.

Part 1: The open design landscape 

Extensive research has been done to analyze the phenomenon of open source software development from various perspectives. By contrast very little is known about open source development of tangible objects, so-called open design, so far. Until recently, limitations to the availability of successful empirical examples of this `new innovation model’ outside software may have been a key reason for this gap. My goal is to explore the landscape of open source development in the world of atoms, to analyze project characteristics, structures, and success, and to investigate similarities and dissimilarities to open source software development.

Many findings would not have been possible without this webpage and without your help – thank you very much for your involvement. Here are some statistics about the projects collected so far, click on the images below to see them in full size.

Are you interested in more details? In First Monday (Volume 14, Number 11 – 2 November 2009) we published our paper which contains a detailled investigation of the open design phenomenon along the projects collected in this directory. The analysis reveals that open design is already being implemented in a substantial variety of projects.

Part 2: Survey: How open is open source – software and beyond 

In Autumn 2009 I was conducting a survey among developers in 20 open design communities. 
As of 5 October 2009 I counted 688 unique visitors on the entry page, whereof 457 started the survey. 270 answers are sufficiently complete to be considered for further analysis, i.e. respondents finished at least two out of five sections from the survey. This results in a response rate of 39%. 
Once more, thanks a lot to everybody who participated!

As promised, here are the survey results as of 5 October 2009.
For referencing the survey please cite:
Kerstin Balka, “Survey results: How open is open source – software and beyond”, TU Hamburg-Harburg, 2009

Furthermore the first paper discussing the findings is ready: How open is open source – Software and beyond

In my lightning talk at the 26C3 congress in Berlin in Dezember 2009, I presented a short preview on the second part of my findings.

If you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Part 3: A survey on community expectations in open design communities

After the success of my first survey, we decided to conduct a second survey, executed by Onwukamike Marvelous.

The goal of his research is to identify the governance structures that best suit open development of tangible goods. A survey on community expectations shall be conducted amongst 20 open design communities. The questionnaire is designed to understand openness of existing organizational structures and the expectations and preferences of communities for both the hardware and software parts of open design projects.