The ‘open approach’ is rooted in the open-source and free-software movements. Its application has spread to more fields than computer engineering. Product design is impacted as well: we observe new stakeholders and practices challenging current structured design processes and leading to industrial successes. Open-design appears to be promising yet disruptive. Moreover, its distinctive features remain unclear.
This paper aims to popularize this new concept, as well as to give both researchers and practitioners an overview of current research on open-design, and its consequences on design. For this, we conducted a systematic quantitative bibliometric analysis of 624 entries corresponding to the keyword ‘open-design’ in the Scopus database. This supports a qualitative synthesis of scientific literature, enabling us to summarize practices falling under the umbrella term ‘open-design’. As such, this paper traces the evolution of product design and the open approach. It also analyzes the impact of open-design on the design process as presented in the scientific literature. Finally, this paper develops a typology of open-design of tangible artifacts that distinguishes among three currently reported varieties of practice: do-it-yourself, meta-design, and industrial ecosystems. As the major contribution of this paper, this typology is developed as a final discussion.
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