Collaborative Literacy

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I first found out that the term collaborative literacy was a thing from The word Collaborative Literacy wants to convey that collaboration is a learned skill i.e. a literacy.


Collaborative Literacy is, fundamentally, a profound understanding and commitment to the principle that more benefit is attained from economic collaboration than from exclusion, proprietary products, secrecy, or other forms of competitive waste. This informs one's action - personally and politically.

In terms of execution, we can consider the technical process of collaborating as above - namely the process of open, collaborative, product development. For this, one can start with the prior art of Open Source Product Development - which has never been attained as of 2024 for any significant product. When we say 'significant product' - we actually mean the transformation of each industry to open collaboration. This is because the equitable distribution arises as a practical possibility. Distribution is an unsolved frontier of human economic systems, and hence the promise to be delivered has great significance. This significance is the fuel behind motivating an earnest effort of normalizing open, collaborative development as the next paradigm in civilization (as opposed to proprietary development, patents, trade secrets, and the resulting conflicts and violence that arises directly or indirectly from an adversarial paradigm).

Collaborative Literacy in the global sense refers to either the philosophical alignment, or knowledge of effective execution of open product development.



Collaborative Literacy is the ability to coordinate effort - whether design, build, production, or any other productive enterprise - seamlessly with unlimited numbers of participants, and the wisdom to discern when collaboration is inappropriate.


In general, Scarcity-Based Economics carry a presumption of collaborative illiteracy - and thus the bulk of the population must un-herd from such groupthink. Open source has shed some light on the topic, though even Open Source Hardware fails the test of open collaboration, as the Open Hardware Definition does not require collaboration in-process: just publishing final results suffices.

Framework for Collaboration

  1. Modularity - a shared design language
  2. Swarming - degenerate toolsets and modular design allow for swarming, independent of swarm size. Swarm size invariant process.
  3. Degeneracy - reducing technological non-standardization so that the same feedstock can work with all machines. This way, one machine is not competing with another for market share - but instead - is collaborating with others as designs, patterns, processes can be shared. And thus, these can be replicated more easily for technological leapfrogging.
  4. Appropriate computing - open and degenerate cores for computing - ie, designs of microprocessors.


Collaborative Literacy in the most general sense is a notion of and commitment to Solving Pressing World Issues rapidly by leveraging true collaboration to break through Competitive Waste and a Scarcity Mindset. It implies a commitment to Lifelong Learning, and thus the pursuit of Happiness in a world sufering from Anomie and loss of meaning in peoples' lives. As such, collaborative literacy is one way to operationalize Positive Psychology in the pursuit of Self-Determination and a world that takes care of everybody's needs.

In practice, this means actually believing that any problem can be solved - pending willingess of people to collaborate openly on the solution. This is an approach that breaks through the loss of hope, from which many people suffer. Tools such as crowd developmnet and Incentive Challenges can be used, and with the proper development - can break through Artificial Scarcity.

The solutions apply to making the world better today for everybody. This may be seen as idealistic, but it is real - pending peoples' willingness to see the Art of Possibility.

Tactically - today the tools exist to collaborate and develop things using information technology and digital fabrication - to produce a new world around us. Building a better world can be seen as a materialistic approach in the great and unsolved debate between materialism and idealism. But our experience at OSE is that it's easier to start with a materialistic approach (ending artificial scarcity, providing everyones' needs, without destroying natural life support systems) - as a means to not only meet needs but also to become inspired in new possibilities of prosperity and peace for everyone. Another appraoch to prosperity is psycho-social integration, mesearch, meditation, and other internal practices - which are not highly accessible without basic needs being met first, as in Maslow's Pyramid. We believe that working on the material aspects is a priority, though psycho-social development must be included in our materialistic approach.

This gets into the specific tools of unleashed collaboration.


HintLightbulb.png Hint: This one is the highest level overview of collaborative literacy, presented at the Open Building Institute Webinar Series. Watch this one.

  • Manufacturing Demonstration Facility - at Oak Ridge. From Emmanual


Collaborative Literacy session from quarantine during the New Zealand Open Source Microfactory STEAM Camp:



Discussion with Eugene Kim

Eugene is a seminal thinker in the field of Collaborative Literacy.

Last 17 minutes:

Open Source Microfactory Startup Camp on Collaborative Literacy

Principles and Procedures

OSE is a project that follows certain standard procedures to enhance collaboration and Economic Time Binding:

  1. Publish early and often.
  2. If it is worth doing at all, it is worth doing badly.
  3. Publish on the wiki. The wiki is publicly viewable and editable, therefore anyone can have access to what you publish. If you send that information to a single person, then you have reached only a small fraction of your potential audience. Because we value open access to information, and because we have open boundaries to participation - publishing on the wiki is preferable to sending emails.
  4. Our near and long term goal is virally replicable, open source enterprise following the principles of Economic Time Binding. The social contract on Campus focuses around this.
  5. We are building a Construction Set, not a single product. If you like to think of a 'single product', that product is the entire Set.
  6. Subject matter expert, open source contributors lead the way. The project focuses on identifying and recruiting such contributors towards a greater goal than they could achieve themselves.
  7. Our methodology is open source, agile development.
  8. Our governance is based on meritocracy.
  9. We favor division of labor performed by multi-skilled generalists.
  10. Our human goal is to promote Integrated Humans who are aware of Self-Determination Theory.
  11. We believe that the most effective road towards peacekeeping is effective production. Progressive military people also believe this.
  12. We like to create tools. A tool can be used for good or evil. We are interested in tools that lead to regenerative development.
  13. We believe in 8 Forms of Capital plus the ninth one, Open Source Capital - defined as the wealth that comes from pursuing Distributive Enterprise
  14. We do not invent anything new. We study industry standards and build upon them to innovate on integrated, open source variants.
  15. We believe in a low-risk approach of building upon known solutions, rather than chasing for exotic new ones, because known solutions are sufficient to produce regenerative development at a modern standard of living.
  16. The proof of concept of the Global Village Construction Set is to demonstrate that a community of a dozen open source individuals can attain a modern standard of living using appropriate open source technology, reaching metal smelting and semiconductor production from any parcel of land that has rocks, sunlight, plants, soil, and water.

OSE Development Best Practices

See OSE Collaboration Protocol.