Open Source Business Models for Circular Economy Video Series (1)

VIDEO 1 – Intro: Open Source & Circular Economy

From a Video Series about ‘Open Source Business Models for Circular Economy’ – produced for the Open Source Circular Economy Days (OSCEdays).  See our original post on Open Source Circular Economy Days  for the complete set of resources: tool downloads, explanations, videos, script, links.



I am Lars, Lars Zimmermann. I am an Artist & Economist. And one of the founders of the Open Source Circular Economy Days. This is the first video in a video series about “Open Source Business Models for Circular Economy” – which is one of the questions of the “Open Source Circular Economy Days”.

What is the “Open Source Circular Economy Days”?

The “Open Source Circular Economy Days” – or in short, the “OSCEdays” – is a global community, (event) and organisation to support the building of a sustainable circular economy, by using and exploring the collaboration methodology of Open Source.

For this video series here you can find several resources, like the full script, images, links and a tool I will talk about by following one of the links shown at the beginning of this video. In this first video I will introduce you to the core idea of the “Open Source Circular Economy Days” and also a little bit to “Open Source.”

Ok. Let’s start.

OSCEdays CORE Question & Idea

What is the Core-Idea of the “OSCEdays”?

When we talk about a “Circular Economy” we talk about the idea of an economy without waste! It is different from our current – linear – economy. Where we take resources make products and then throw them away as garbage!

In the Circular Economy everything is designed and organized in a way that our products can be repaired, reused, refurbished, and fully recycled. We save resources. Because the materials in our products are the resource base for future products of the same quality. The circular economy works in evolving symbiosis with our biosphere – protecting it and growing its potentials.

But when we take this idea and compare it with the world today. It quickly becomes clear that almost everything in our current economy has to change for this. And not just the designs of our products and services. But also the collaboration methods we use to make and distribute them.

Many people in Circular Economy often talk about “transparency”. We need a lot more transparency to make our economy circular.

But the next minute they start to talk about “trading secrets” and the “need to hide knowledge” in today’s economy. So transparency isn’t really an option.

And here is where Open Source comes in! Because in Open Source we have transparency. It is transparent how things are made. And there is also a number of successful businesses and products! That are successful BECAUSE not DESPITE they are open.

What can the circular economy learn and adapt from this? This is the question.


So. What Is Open Source?

Last year on a weekend Sam Muirhead and I did a video on this. You can find the link to this video in the resources.

But to sum it up: It basically means to have “Building Plans” in the public. It is openly visible how things work and how to make them work. Things are shared to enable others to study, use, modify, make and distribute them – also commercially.

In the world of software Open Source is very successful in many areas. And areas outside of software are also catching up.

Open Source has a clear Definition3, a growing community, and a good number of successful businesses.

But there are also misconceptions out there about Open Source. Like “it is all DIY” – Do It Yourself – or “Everything Is For Free”. It’s not! On the contrary: In software Open Source is foremost a collaboration method between experts and professionals that are paid for their work.

And Open Source really made and makes a difference for our economy and in this world:

The Open Source Software “Linux” is probably the most important and most used software in today’s world. Wherever you are watching this right now it is pretty likely that very close to you is one or more devices running Linux.

Like this one. Or this one.


The whole web is based in its critical infrastructure on Open Source. And also big companies with incredibly sophisticated software like Facebook for example would not be possible to this extend without Open Source. There is Open Source everywhere in Facebook.

Without Open Source the web would probably be where it was . . . I don’t know, maybe ten years ago?

So can we take this methodology to enable the building of a Circular Economy? To make quicker progress with it? Or maybe to make it possible at all?

This is what the “Open Source Circular Economy Days” are for to figure out. With a global community.

And one of the riddles we have to solve is Business Models. What are working “Open Source Business Models for Circular Economy”?


It is true. Bringing Open Source to new areas is often not trivial. You need to be creative! Because “Open Source Business Models” is not what we are teached around every corner in our present world. So in this video series I like to share a little bit of my perspectives on “Open Source Business Models.” The goal here is not to give an exhaustive overview. It is to seed some ideas insights and clues into your head. To enable you to engage in your own creative process.

In the next 2 videos – number 2 and number 3 – I will share some core ideas and examples I want you to be aware of. And starting with video number 4 I will present you a tool. Called the “Open Platform Design Flowchart”. This tool is supposed to help you to understand and ask some key questions when designing an Open Source Business.

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