Designing Open Business: A day celebrating open source-based business development

On Monday, November 5, the Danish Design Centre had the pleasure of hosting the Designing Open Business symposium. Almost 100 professionals from across private industry, public sector and science gathered in Copenhagen’s new BLOX to share knowledge and exchange expertise in the field of open source innovation – in particular in the field of hardware manufacturing.

The concept of open source is really booming and increasingly provides a foundation for innovative business in all corners of the world, especially in the field of virtual products and software. Hardware, however – in the broadest sense of the word – is the newest frontier for the open source mindset. We look with curiosity towards the future to see how open source principles can be brought into the realm of physical product manufacturing on a massive mainstream scale.

The dynamics of physical products

The dynamic of physical products (atoms) is, of course, different than that of virtual products (bits) because of the innate costs of acquiring materials, handling logistics, keeping shelf space and the actual fabrication of physical goods, as opposed to that of virtual products. There are already some successful business ventures in this realm on the international stage, but still, there is a widespread hesitation towards experimenting with these concepts that so radically contradict the convention of using copyrights and patents to stay competitive. This is what Designing Open Business provided a stage for discussing.

Main themes of the discussion

The main themes centered around the challenge (and immense scaling potential) of building communities of co-creators around your product, as well as how to accelerate innovations processes by allowing the public to not only contribute to a product, but also – through the open source license – gain access to knowledge, design and knowhow which a company would normally otherwise keep to themselves.

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Launching the REMODEL toolkit

The day also marked the official launch of the REMODEL Toolkit; a design-sprint toolbox that enables any company to harness the power of open source principles to build new business strategies and business models around new or existing products. Especially manufacturers of hardware (physical products) can take advantage of this new resource to radically rethink how they innovate and scale their business through open source.

The REMODEL toolkit is a one-stop shop for any manufacturing company curious towards exploring the open source potential for themselves and is a product of the REMODEL programme which the Danish Design Centre lead in 2018. Here, 8 companies went through an 8-week self-directed design-sprint and went from having practically no knowledge about open source as a concept towards fully understanding the strategic application of the term in their own business and a draft strategy for one of their existing products.

Learn more about the toolkit REMODEL program – or simply go straight to downloading and using the toolkit for free here at

Sharing of slides

The program several exciting short talks as part of its panels and workshops. For reference please find all slides of the day here (in chronological order):

Christian Bason, Danish Design Centre
Christian Villum, Danish Design Centre
Ingeborg Rosenvinge, Thürmer Tools
Christian Villum, Danish Design Centre (breakout)
Tina Ryoon/Frederik Lean, IDA/Growstack
Serena Cangiano/Sabina Bargucci, SUPSI/WeMake
Roland van Mulligen, Danish Patent & Trademark Office
Martin von Haller Grønbæk, Bird & Bird

What happens next

Lots of new project ideas were discussed during the event and also during an ideation workshop the next day which had several companies and experts attend as well. As a result, we expect new projects to emerge in this space and we will certainly aim to contribute to several of them, both large and small.

This article is part of a series about the REMODEL programme

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Want to learn more about what the REMODEL programme is? Go here: About REMODEL 

Or curious to know which innovative manufacturing companies have taken part?  Go here: 10 manufacturing companies are ready to experiment with open source

To get the grand overview of all writings about the REMODEL business experiments in open source manufacturing, go here: REMODEL