Networked production and outsourced design. A comparison of three case studies — Design for Next — EAD12 Rome


Openness is a common feature in the contemporary design field. It may be found in both production and design processes, and enables the ability to spread information, create networks and connect people, skills or companies. In the last few year many new web platforms have based their business model on crowdsourcing, networking and on collective intelligence, envisioning new relations between the customer, the designer and the production system. Today not all of them are still on the market, and others have taken new directions. This paper presents a comparison of the path of three design companies: Opendesk, Quirky and Formabilio. The first company is still flourishing, the second changed its intent in part and the third closed after three years of activity. All these platforms have some points in common: they are design companies, they produce objects, their work is based on using internet and they create networks. The paper seeks to analyze these similarities, as well as the differences between these companies, by focusing the role of design, the methods of production and distribution, and the degree of openness in each of them.

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