Immersion Program Retention

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HintLightbulb.png Hint: Dislaimer: this is a working document and does not necessarily reflect the OSE Immersion Program offering


The immersion program is design to enlist full-time contributors to OSE, by virtue of revenue streams that allow the work to be sustainable. We have proven the Extreme Manufacturing revenue model, and the OSE Fellows program is intended to verify on-demand scalability of OSE's Extreme Manufacturing revenue model. Workshops and associated product/service sales are the basis of the revenue model.

See notes on OSE Fellowship Performance Development

Risk Analysis

There are several risks:

  • Attendance - getting sufficient numbers of people to sign up
  • Defection - long term commitment is desirable, but the open source nature of the work allows anyone to defect. What structure encourages people to remain rather than defect?
  • Copying - we encourage anyone to copy our work. Our competitive advantage may be the time required to learn our trade. Someone would need to learn the technologies involved in our work - which requires a decent level of intelligence. We offer rapid learning, so people are encouraged to come to us for this service. We are also not concerned about this, as all of our work involves mundane, deep markets, and focuses on primary sectors that balance natural resource use with economics. We push the limits of that to the max, where we enter into productive meaning and abundance, so that does not appear to be a concern. Our model of change is to innovate continuously for import substitution, which means that we are replacing enterprise with knowledge. The more people that are producing - effecively - the more people can turn to creative pursuits as a result - as inefficiencies are eliminated when a civilization transitions from 0 to 1 on the Kardashev Scale. Copying is not seen as a major risk - all enterprises are at a risk of getting copied. We make it easy for others to copy us, but since we are introducing purpose with our products, we don't mind that. It is good if others carry on our work, if it is open source. If it's not open source + distributive, we have a competitive advantage. If it is open/distributive - we're glad that others are doing our work. We'd be very excited if others are continuing open source development, as that means wealth for everyone.

Collaborate vs Defect

This is a definite risk. Why does someone stay with OSE if they could go off on their own with our knowledge? Nothing prevents them from doing so, and since we believe in freedom, we don't want to keep anyone against their will. The question remains if we can make this business model work out. Let's look at specific cases - which still rely on free will and contractual agreements. OSE Fellows are not employees, as that is not consistent with OSE's mission of training entrepreneuers. The assumption here is that Fellows are indepedent contractors or volunteers, and very little of any type of coercion is designed into OSE.

  • New Fellow- definitely the incentive is there for them to collaborate as they have support and a learning environment. Interacting with the OSE team provides rapid learning - and participating on the OSE Dev Team means priority access to inside knowhow. People can certainly learn our materials otherwise - but our program offers rapid learning specifically - via immersion training. As such, people can take months or years learning our work, or they can get the immersion in 5 weeks. OSE provides marketing, organizational, and logistics support, such that the Fellow prepares the materials and shows up to lead the event. There are simply enough moving pieces to make that a challenge.
  • Seasoned Fellow - for those who have now mastered an enterprise, it is possible to go independent. While a defector may not have the power or reputation of OSE, they can easily provide a great product - as they have been verified to do so. To address this:
  • OSE has a promotion track where individuals graduate to higher levels of responsibility and avoid defection. There is no simple formula here. OSE likes to reduce its overhead and increase efficiency. Managing promotion could be a serious admin overhead if not designed correctly. See OSE Career Advancement.
  • Raises - as Fellows become more productive, any stipend adjustments can be made. This would happen at the annual review.

Retention Strategies

Defection risk will always be there because of the open source nature of our work. OSE must thus offer significant value outside of providing R&D collaboration and event support. To this end, OSE may offer several perks to its Fellows, depending on contract details:

  • Continuing Education: free access to OSE Workshops, Webinars, and Professional Development opportunities. Free tuition for the next year's Immersion Training Program.
  • Annual party retreat
  • Free housing at its facilities (for approved Fellows)
  • Providing Seed Eco-Home or Aquaponic Greenhouse build services.
  • Access to the OSE Microfactory and production facilities
  • Free equipment rentals (relevant especially to Fellows near a Campus)
  • Direct Primary Care service
  • Private school K-8, 9-12
  • Retirement - retirement services where Fellow retires while doing minor teaching duties.y

The work itself must be interesting:

  • Opportunity to win HeroX challenges
  • Community Design Jams in physical locations

Design for Defection

Of course we would like to have people stay in the program and continue product development - but if we inculcate open source values and people actually end up developing truly open products - then it's a win-win.

Thus, we use design-for-defection where defection is a win-win situation. Do not set up antagonism - by design. Then the status of OSE Fellow is reserved only for those who make it past the OSE Fellow-in-Training to Active OSE Fellows. We treat everyone with respect and select for open source culture, and open source culture becomes self-reinforcing when we can produce an advanced product and anyone can make money from it. We come to it with the notion of a manufacturing sideline. We emphasize that you are required to share any improvements or new designs.

  • Training time pays for itself
  • We have a large pool of people to select from, and once they rise with experience, we can pay them more.

Cost Structure

  • Local funding support. We frame the enterprise as a business that will be started in a local community, for producing common items. (list of consumer goods/machines)
  • Cost structure depends on trial vs long-term commitment. One year vs 2 year. Requires good standing (continuing with a minimum of 1 workshop per month.
  • Payment per workshop is $150/attendee.
  • Base cost of machines built + tuition
  • $10k, $5k, $2k options.
  • 2 printers, 1 circuit mill, 1 laser cutter, grinder, filament maker. $3k in materials.

Candidate Considerations

  • 22-25 yo recent college graduate without debt, generalist likes to do many things, farmer scientist, trust fund, gender balance, mindset open to learning new things;
  • 6 month college internships - internship programs from the best universities - includes Admin
  • Summers of extreme design-build - includes a Guide

Ideal Candidate Criteria:

  • 22-25 year old college graduates without debt, or better yet, with work experience and resourcces
  • Humility.
  • Openness to learning
  • Generalists who enjoy doing a wide array of tasks
  • Interest aligned with enjoyment of learning, teaching, research, development, and entrepreneurship
  • Connected to nature
  • 50/50 gender balance

Candidate Motivation

One question I might ask your applicants is: if you could have the perfect work day, what would it look like (hour by hour)? This will make them think about what they enjoy doing and what their ambitions are. For example, someone whose perfect day includes 7 hours of design and 1 hour talking to people (clients, suppliers, etc.), will probably be more comfortable with development than teaching. Someone who wants to spend most of the day interacting with people would likely make a good teacher, but may not get as excited about development (which can be lonely outside of meetings and requires someone capable of self-motivation). Well, you get the gist.