XM Efficiency Principles

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It is commonly said that in the production of any given product - one can achieve any 2 of these 3: good, fast, cheap:


  1. You can obtain a great product at low cost, but it will take a lot of time
  2. You can obtain a great product fast - but it won't be cheap
  3. You can obtain a cheap product really fast - but it won't be good.

But what if you could obtain a great product quickly at low cost? That is exactly the nature of OSE's Extreme Manufacturing paradigm.

OSE has cracked through the Not Possible Myth with its practice of Extreme Manufacturing. In reality - we are not breaking this 'golden rule' - we are simply redefining the process of how things are built in order to make the myth irrelevant.

Good comes from collabratively-designed products. Linux has already demonstrated this for software - and the same thing is happening with hardware. For example - the top 3D printing companies of today are all derived from the open source RepRap project.

Fast comes from a Swarm Build facilitated by modular design. This is how speed can be achieved - and that speed comes from a productive, fun, social experience.

Cheap comes from 3 things: (1) the fact that design cost is eliminated via open source design, ; (2), the increased access to digital fabrication tools, and (3) the swarm build. Tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC mills make production of complex products possible on a small scale at low cost. The swarm build allows for the gathering of people for the purposes or learning and productivity - a replicable phenonon. In fact - we have discovered that we can flip the cost equation: by offering a fun and productive social experience - we found that people are actually willing to pay for the experience rather than requesting to be paid.

All these features combined allow for industrial productivity to be achieved on a small scale. OSE has demonstrated this in practice - first in its One Day build of the CEB Press in 2012.

Learnigns. We were delighted to find out that Extreme Manufacturing has the potential to be a scalable social business model. We found that the key to that is efficiency. We know that people are willing to have fun in large groups (sports events, rock concerts) - but to date - it is not common for people to have fun and produce real economic value (not just humanitarian aid). By inserting efficiency - as enabled by our open source swarm build techniques - we learned that it is possible to reinvent production.

Efficiency. For something to be economically significant - it must be efficient. In other words - if it takes too long to build something - the effort involved is not justified for the outcome produced. OSE is interested in transforming the economy to a collaborative, open source economy. This means that we must be able to compete with the mainstream system on efficiency - otherwise average people will buy standard, unsustainably-produced products. For OSE, the challenge adding sustainability and regenerative qualities to economic production. We are doing this by innovating on production: using open source design and collaborative production.

How efficient must OSE products be? In order to compete on a level playing field (if such a thing existed) - we must be able to meet or exceed industry standards of productivity. We must optimize designs - and by adding collaborative production - we can convert human effort from an expense to a source of value. Moreover, with open source automation on a small scale - and augmented reality training - unprecedented levels of productivity can be achieved on a small scale. This has the potential to distribute economic power - a key unsolved issue in the modern economy.

This document is intended to explore the blocks to maintaining efficiency of an Extreme Build.

Example of Roles: Extreme Build of a House


  • 2 Instructors
  • 6 Group Leads selected from the participant pool 2 months prior to the build for training. Commitment required is participation in 4 build training webinars. All documentation is produced 2 months prior to the event.
  • Documenter
  • Video person - runs 4 time lapse cameras and a main camera.
  • Hospitality - cooking, accommodations
  • Social media person - posts to Facebook, Minds, and reshares participants' posts.


  • Focus is on immersion training of participants so they pick up skills while doing meaningful work
  • Any change propagates downstream. A change typically has downstream consequences that participants and even instructors can miss. On-the-spot changes require changes in all downstream documentation. Any change that is not in the plan - especially "better ideas" - should be avoided at all costs.
  • Do not feel bad about missing "better ideas." The build is already excellent and it works well enough - no changes are needed to make it "excellent." The quest for "excellent" continues for the lifetime of the project, and improvements are implemented in successive builds after adequate cost-benefit analysis.
  • There is a space for "better ideas". Documenters are allocated specifically to this task. They are responsible for documenting better ideas - on video with an explanation, no matter how small.
  • Follow the printed instructions. If you have any questions, ask - do not make on-the-fly changes.
  • Any changes to materials purchases or procedures must be approved by the instructors. The instructors make sure that these are documented.
  • Build follows a "Window of Opportunity" approach. The workshop is designed for continuity such that all critical parts are completed for a complete build. Critical parts will be finished, but some may be left for finishing after the workshop. The instructions delineate which steps must be finished for any given build window.
  • Build is most successful with up to 100 active builders. Above that, current procedures and learning experience for a 1500 sf home are not accelerated by having more people. Optimal build crew is 50 people. It gets easier with more than 50, and above 100, many people will be socializing much more than building.