Annual Report Editing

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Marcin Jakubowski was born in Poland. His grandfather led actions in the Polish underground derailing German trains in WWII. His grandmother lived through a concentration camp. When he was 10, tanks rolled down the streets of his neighborhood, and it wasn't a parade. These were times of martial law behind the Iron Curtain - a clear state of material scarcity. Marcin and his family waited in line for staples like butter and meat. His life would be transformed when his family left for America, but he never forgot the terrible things that happen when resources are scarce and people fight over opportunity. He began to think that the most essential type of freedom starts with an individual's ability to use natural resources to free oneself from material constraints. Marcin thrived in the United States graduating with honors from Princeton University and earning his Ph.D. in fusion physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Yet, Marcin felt increasingly useless, as his studies were distancing him further from solving pressing world issues.

So, Marcin started a farm in rural Missouri. He learned about the economics of farming. He bought a tractor - then it broke. He paid to get it repaired - then it broke again. Then, soon enough, he was broke too. He realized that the truly appropriate, low-cost tools that he needed to build a sustainable farm and settlement just didn’t exist yet. He needed tools that were robust, modular, highly efficient, low cost, made from local or recycled materials, and that were designed for a lifetime - not obsolescence. He realized that he'd have to build them himself. So he did just that, and he tested them. He found that industrial productivity can be achieved on a small scale. So then, he posted all the designs, schematics, instructional videos, and budgets on a wiki, and contributors from all over the world began showing up to prototype new machines during dedicated project visits. As such, the tractor, the brick press, and a number of other machines were created.

Open Source Ecology was born.

Wherever material scarcity exists in the world, we see impoverished, isolated beings powerless to take care of themselves and live the healthy, productive lives they desire. Open Source Ecology (OSE) is building a solution where information flows freely and openly, so that everyone has access to information on how to process raw materials into the life-stuff of modern civilization. We believe that everyone should have access to material security, efficient production, and autonomy.

At OSE, we find it paradoxical that many of the populations living in poverty are surrounded by the absolute abundance of natural resources (sunlight, rocks, plants, soil, water) from which all the wealth of the economy is built. We are convinced that the big challenge to producing true freedom is bypassing the artificial roadblocks of scarcity: to give as many people as possible access to know-how and the right tools, so they can convert their environment’s abundant raw resources into personal good and freedom.

OSE’s current project is the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) - an open platform of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes to build a small civilization with modern comforts. The GVCS provides open solutions for food, energy, housing, transportation, and industrial manufacturing: everything needed to build vibrant, sustainable economies. This is freedom. This is progress. Lowering barriers to efficient production means going forward into a richer, more just and sustainable future. We’re excited to build a bright, new, more equitable and abundant world, and we’re grateful for your support.

Executive Director's Statement

Open, collaborative development promises to revolutionize the way the economy operates today. It allows companies to innovate faster via access to prior work and crowd-based contributions. It fosters the emergence of a greater number of producers, resulting in a broader and more diverse ecosystem. It lets us (re)shape the artifacts we use and in this way shape our own experiences. Open Source Ecology is working on mechanisms by which this can happen in practice - in our lives and in our work. How can we participate in a more meaningful, ecological, and satisfying system of production? How does open development lead to a more efficient economy: one in which nobody is left behind?

First, there was social enterprise. Now, we are introducing Distributive Enterprise. This means that we commit to sharing not only our machine designs - but also our enterprise plans. We believe that in an increasingly efficient economy - collaboration means survival. We design our products in a different way. Our designs are simple and modular, and they are crafted for a lifetime of service. Our goal is for people to gain full control over their technology, like playing with Lego blocks for life-size machines.

Currently, we are in a phase of organizational development. Our goal for 2013 is to stabilize Open Source Ecology by developing a solid executive team and attaining a full organizational framework as a humanitarian organization. We also aim to streamline our radically collaborative development and production techniques, so that we can go into high gear. We aim to continue machine development, as we deploy pilot projects worldwide to test feasibility under the most diverse and demanding conditions.

In 2014–2015, we intend to enter a high-velocity development phase for the remaining machines of the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS). We intend to finish all 50 machines of the GVCS - including full documentation - by the end of 2015. This is our Apollo Project for a regenerative economy.

From 2016 to 2021, we intend to enter the replication phase, where we build 144 facilities worldwide. These facilities are the OSE Incubators - model enterprise hubs and incubators disseminating best practices of open enterprise - to play our part in creating an efficient economy. Our focus is to generate a collaborative, open source product development pipeline where collaboration becomes the option chosen instead of competitive waste. Our goal is to help unleash innovation worldwide: to regenerate the modern economy.

What began a couple of decades ago as the open source movement is now extending into open source hardware, open product development, and open enterprise. What lessons can we learn from these collaborative trends as we enter the next step in the evolution of today's economy? Do we have the courage to take the opportunity - to disrupt manufacturing, stabilize economies, restore ecology, unleash productivity everywhere, leapfrog through old problems, and leave nobody behind?

If we do, then we may be entering the next phase of human evolution...


Marcin Jakubowski, Ph.D.

Executive Director