Organizational Waste

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It is likely that 10-100x of human effort is wasted on organizational waste, when every company 'reinvents the wheel' in terms of setting up operations. First, a company designs its products, just as hundreds of other companies, so that all the companies compete to make a suboptimal product. Because they are not all collaborating to make a single construction set for the optimal design.

The factor of waste (10-100) is simply the number of companies that make a given product, while competing in the marketplace. By collaborating in the marketplace, a completely different result is obtained.

Design staff, marketing staff, operations staff, production, facilities, tooling, software tools - all suffer from waste.

For example, collaborative design with the other 100 companies largely eliminates design costs. Microcivilization-based captive market exists within any Abundance Microcivilization, thus marketing costs go to zero. Facilities are built with open sector construction enterprises running on solar power, thus at negligible cost because the wealth generation of construction entered the realm of a public good. Production machines being open source and largely automated, they are lifetime design thus provide at least 10x higher value. With solar energy and lifetime design, their operating cost goes to zero, with good produced near zero marginal cost. Operations are really the only valid cost - such as logistics and director/executive funcitons.

But for 100 companies to share much of a public-good infrastructure - extreme agility in collaborative literacy and operation must be present. That is, open standards must substantiate a Degenerate tool set and product design.

Key to the collaboration and collaborative literacy is a shared process of understanding how collaboration works for large distributed teams: what tools and techniques can be used to achieve it. The concepts are simple - such as modular breakdown, open repositories, avoiding file lock-down, wikis, live-editable docs, documentation, product development process - but this gets really tricky when the process requires thousands of people to participate. Each person needs to understand how the process works so that they could contribute effectively. This is a new culture, as no companies produce open products currently. Succeeding in this is a paradigm change with respect how human economics work - transitioning from scarcity-based economic models to abundance-based economic models.

In the collaboration process, the key questions that each contributor needs to be aware of are:

  1. Where to upload files
  2. Where to find the latest work
  3. How to coordinate with people working on the project
  4. How to engage in Continuous Integration for Hardware

And to do so without having to ask anyone. If this condition holds, then no waste is produced in the coordination effort. The process must be permissionless, transparent, and accessible.

This can work only with generalized tools - such as a wiki, where other software including official repositories such as Gitlab can play a part. If generalized tools are not used, then the process can bog down with centralization and dependence on a central platform. We are exploring how a nonspecialized platform can be used, and we are currently doing it with a wiki and live-editable documents on the Google platform. The ultimate design documentation is CAD-BOM-Build reified in tangible products.