Among the many issues facing sustainable technological development, dispersed and un-coordinated research, as well as poor communication and collaboration of technological knowledge to those that need it, play a major role in many failed and delayed projects. However, the Internet and its multifaceted platforms provide a potential solution to these problems. This paper examines the ways in which the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) can improve critical shortcomings to sustainable development efforts. Specifically, the strategies of open source appropriate technology (OSAT) and innovation through collaboration are reviewed. The methods are examined by which OSAT is
i) accelerating innovation by building and sharing knowledge, ii) improving collaboration and iii) increasing both the efficiency and effectiveness of many programs and projects.
Four OSAT case studies are presented for organizations at the forefront of open collaborative technologies for sustainable development: i) Practical Action, ii) Kopernik, iii) Engineering for Change, and iv) The Appropedia Foundation. The key features, models and the approaches employed by these organizations are discussed and conclusions are drawn from these case studies to contribute insight and better guide the development of this new innovation strategy.
Case studies[edit | edit source]
|Name & date of establishment||Structure||Focus||Themes & Categories||Library, manuals, briefs||Rating/review / feedback||Open Source/ Open Access|
|Practical Action (1966)||International non-governmental organization||Appropriate Technology, BoP||14 Categories: Social/ economic development, agriculture, crop /food processing, energy, construction, disaster relief, etc.||Yes, detailed manuals and technical briefs available via Resource Center & Practical Answers.||Rating & comments, plus a forum.||Mostly open access|
|Kopernik (2010)||Non-profit technology marketplace||Connecting technology seekers, with providers and donors||Ready to Go Technology, DIY/Open-Source Technology,
Emerging technology: Agriculture, Education, Energy & environment, Health, ICT & Mobile, Water & Sanitation
|No solutions library / database, but some technology has instruction manuals||After registering anyone can comment. Also space for Project Reports to provide feedback on the technology / project.||Open source & DIY solutions|
|Engineering for Change - E4C (2009)||Non-profit organization||Improving quality of life by affordable, locally appropriate and sustainable solutions||7 Main Categories: Water, Energy, Health, Structures, Agriculture, Sanitation, Info Systems||Yes, Solutions Library, Resources/ Workspace, Bulletin Board, but not all are detailed||Feedback & Discussion via Bulletin Board and project collaboration via Workspace platform||Open access and open source supported|
|Appropedia Foundation (2006)||Non-profit organization – primarily for an editable Wiki||Appropriate Technology – Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.||13 Primary Categories: Appropriate tech, Energy, Solar, Food / Agriculture, Construction, Green living,
Health,Knowledge, Transport, Water, etc.
|Yes,but partial and inconsistent||Discussion tabs and anyone can create an account and add content. Status tags allow for content validation||Open Access and Open Source - focus on Creative Commons|
Table 1. Summary of OSAT Case Studies
Related work[edit | edit source]
- Pearce J., Albritton S., Grant G., Steed G., & Zelenika I. 2012."A New Model for Enabling Innovation in Appropriate Technology for Sustainable Development". Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 8(2), Published online Aug 20, 2012.
- Amy J. Buitenhuis, Ivana Zelenika and J. M. Pearce,. "Open Design-Based Strategies to Enhance Appropriate Technology Development" Proceedings of the 14th Annual National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance Conference: Open, March 25-27th 2010, pp. 1-12.
- J. M Pearce, C. Morris Blair, K. J. Laciak, R. Andrews, A. Nosrat and I. Zelenika Zovko, (2010) "3-D Printing of Open Source Appropriate Technologies for Self-Directed Sustainable Development", Journal of Sustainable Development open access
- Zelenika, I. and J.M. Pearce. 2011. Barriers to Appropriate Technology Growth in Sustainable Development. Journal of Sustainable Development. Vol 4, Number 6
See also[edit | edit source]
- Open Source Appropriate Technology Literature Review
- Barriers to Appropriate Technology Growth in Sustainable Development
- Open source 3-D printing of OSAT
- The Case for Open Source Appropriate Technology
- A new model for enabling innovation in appropriate technology for sustainable development
Coverage[edit | edit source]
- Research brief: The Internet and other ICTs as tools for sustainable development - Engineering for Change