Open Source Circular Economy Days: Input and collaboration needed!

I’m part of a team organising a distributed international event to promote, explore and develop an Open Source Circular Economy. It will be held in multiple locations around the world between June 11th-15th 2015.

The core team is based in Berlin, Paris and London, we’re working out plans for Barcelona, Christchurch, Santiago and more. We’ve already got @Lauren on board organising something in Athens, and I’d love for more members of the Edgeryders community to join us wherever you are in the world.

We like the idea of a circular economy – one which works without waste, where all products should be designed for multiple cycles of use, so that the output of each production process feeds the input of another.

However, we don’t think this is in any way feasible unless we adopt an open source approach.

We need transparency and open data, modular open hardware, open standards, free software tools, and interdisciplinary, international collaboration. For a more thorough explanation of what we mean by an Open Source Circular Economy, and why we think it’s necessary, please read our Mission Statement.

OSCEdays is a very decentralized event, linked only by a name (OSCEdays) a date (11-15 June 2015), a hashtag (#OSCEdays) and a few key materials on a website (

Otherwise it’s all in the hands of local organisers – what kind of events or projects to take on, what local challenges to address, what kind of people to invite, how to get relevant resources.

For now, teams can use whatever tools they feel comfortable with to work together – Facebook, Trello, Edgeryders, Google Drive, our website… but we do plan to hold daily video hangouts during the event, have a central repository for important information, provide clear guidelines for documentation of projects and to centralize and/or link documentation during and after the event.

We feel this is an increasingly important issue and we know that many others are working in a similar vein to us, but rather than chip away at the same issues in isolation, we want to ensure that any efforts put into this idea get the maximum possible traction – this can only happen by working together, simultaneously.

This has an internal effect – the participants feel motivated, they feel part of something, they directly benefit from the face-to-face and online networking, and individual open source circular economy projects from around the world get visibility amongst relevant groups around the world.

This also has an external effect – the combined activity of multiple events in multiple fields in multiple locations is big enough and exciting enough to get media attention and bring the idea of an open source approach to the circular economy to a much wider audience, and provide evidence to businesses and policymakers showing there is great potential and support for the idea.

We know that we’re not going to build a circular economy in 5 days. OSCEdays 2015 is just the first step of what we want to develop into an ongoing, long-term project/platform/social enterprise focused on building an Open Source Circular economy.

Reasons I think this is relevant to Edgeryders as a community and as individuals:

  • Our working methods are very much aligned – distributed collaboration, open processes, no bullshit please, who does the work calls the shots.
  • Focused on tackling local issues with the aid of global connections and shared ideas, along the lines of unMonastery, Spot The Future and various other Edgeryders projects.

What we need:

  • Partnerships with projects and organisations. We're working with Future of Waste, POC21, Open Source Hardware Association and others, finding ways for our collaboration to be mutually beneficial. If you are part of (or you know of) any organisations doing similar work to us, or ideas of how we could best work together, let us know.
  • Participants & Organizers interested in taking part, planning or running events, anywhere in the world*, whether a single 2-hour get-together or a 5-day harmonious hackathon. (Call for Cities)
  • Ideas for and contacts with potential sponsors, whether local or multinational.
  • Ideas for challenges and projects to work on.
  • Core team members – there are many more types of skills and experience which would be extremely valuable to this project – our core team is currently made up of open source specialists, waste researchers, circular economy and sustainability experts, and our skill sets include many aspects of event planning and management, but there are plenty of areas we could use help (eg. web development, social media, accounting, community management, sponsorship... etc, etc, etc)

OSCEdays 2015 starts in 4 months. So please, feel free to suggest ideas, ask questions, create new posts, get in touch, plan events, ping people on ER, and get the word out!

*low earth orbit is also fine, in case you want to do something on the ISS :slight_smile:



So it’s ON. Great to see you have a date and all.

Me, I’m mostly interested in joining or helping out with an existing event, since there is so much to learn still. I was attending a  workshop in Cluj the other week on the basics of dealing with waste in one’s household e.g. making your own bath products and cosmetics and storing them in plastic recipients rather than throwing those away. Discussions never got past the mountains of plastic in which we live buried though…

So for communities of beginners, starting from a workshop run around what people are already doing to avoid waste (simple stuff, repurposing objects here and there), how would you go about connecting it to the open source approach? Would it mean building documentation and making it freely available, or do you have other examples?

Ping @TOOLosophy: maybe have Casa de Cultura Permanenta in mind (?) it was them who held that discussion and have a very practical knowledge of this. Maybe less of the open source movement.

Different approaches for different events

@Noemi, thanks for your input! Depending on the interests and approach of each team/city, we will have a range of different participants taking part. A few quick scenarios to give you an idea:

Some events/workshops will be more technical hardware or software hackathons, i.e. working to improve an open source project for the circular economy, like Life Cycle Assessment software, node-based material flow software, or developing open hardware to recycle and re-form filament for 3D printers.

Some will be very challenge-focused, which require a range of different skills and backgrounds, eg developing a prototype for open packaging standards requires theoretical knowledge, creativity, practical and technical backgrounds, as well as real-life experience from user perspectives so there is space for ‘experts’ and ‘amateurs’ to be involved.

Some will be more about awareness and community, and I think this is what you’re talking about here – getting people without backgrounds in CE or OS to explore the ideas we’re presenting. These workshops could be, for example, repairing broken devices using modular parts designed on the Open Structures grid system – either using existing parts or creating new ones, then sharing the part files and documenting the repair for others to make use of.

Basically we want people in the workshops to be able to build upon existing projects and information in commons, add their own ideas, hard work and experience, and release the results openly in a way that others can build upon further.


Let’s do a twitter storm for it! It already connects with OuiShare POC21 plus Tim and Romain stay closely connected with MakeSense plus Social Media Squad :smiley:

@henri37, @Auli do you still stay connected with Let’s do it Wrold? Also Open Knowledge could find it relevant since Open Source CE …

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Looks good. A question and a proposal

In a wierd coincidence I had a chat about something related with Guillaume from Virtual Assembly.

What do you/we think needs to be in place in order for something like this to really have lasting impact beyond the 5 days… and the people who happen to tune in this time?

I keep coming back to what Fabrizio Barca said about the need to find ways of building and stewarding knowledge over time. Which is really a challenge for decentralised networks…we need to get rigorous about this to up our game.

One piece of the puzzle I think is to have a set of learning goals and one designated place to collect all the documentation produced. Ideally a wiki like this one. The other part is a sound methodology for surfacing, collecting and synthesising it into new, shared insights. We developed Open Ethnographer to facilitate this.

Since we don’t have large resources this means taking a step back to reflect on what we have learned about documentation and follow up. And making a few smart design and communication choices as soon as possible.

Maybe let’s make the first call about this?

Yes, absolutely

Specific learning goals and a clear documentation framework are certainly key to the success of the project.

One other particular documentation output we are trying to develop for after the event is a travelling physical Open Source Circular Economy exhibition, highlighting the projects developed/developing, the ideas being worked on, the theory behind it, and of course the most captivating stories for grabbing attention and sticking in people’s heads. The exhibition content, 3d files, building instructions, etc, travels digitally and is downloaded and recreated physically in each space around the world, adapted to local conditions, materials, interests and culture.

I would love to use Open Ethnographer to properly analyse the collaboration and draw useful insights from the project and its development, but I fear that implementing this tool or something like it will not be feasible on a deep level for OSCEdays 2015 due to technical and practical hurdles. I will talk to the rest of the team and try to work out a way we can address this issue. Advice and insight on documentation, design and communication would be very valuable though. Right now arranging calls/hangouts etc is a little tricky as I’m on semi-holiday in New Zealand so my work and life schedule is completely out of whack, but I’m not back in Europe til mid-march though so I just have to work with it!

ok. where are you coordinating?

Im in. I think this is a cool project so I would like to support it as part of the core team.


Are you free Wednesday 10.30am CET to join a group call? That very question is being discussed :slight_smile: I’ll email details.

yes, send me a oogle cal invite?

that way i have autoreminders :slight_smile:

How to be useful?

I guess an obvious way that ER could help is by looking for opportunities to fit OSCEdays within our current activities. For example, if this was 2014 it would make total sense to mobilize the assets we had in Matera in June 2014 to do something there! We are still far from clear about what range of activities we will be engaged in in June, but this will become clearer in about 40-50 days I guess.

Did you have anything particular in mind, @SamMuirhead?

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Yes, that’s our goal for each local team, and each partner we work with. Ideally we should find areas where our goals are aligned, so that you don’t take a huge amount of time and energy away from doing what you want to be/should be/are doing, just for this event. I thought the same thing – that this suits the unMonastery, but I don’t have specific ideas for integrating with other ER activities. What are the current active ER projects?


Currently active projects are Open Ethnographer and CATALYST collaboration. However, I expect both to be finished by June. We are negotiating several more things, but nothing is signed yet. So, it is a bit difficult to make this matching now!

Hi Sammuirhead!

I have just recently joined Edgeryders and am interested in the Circular economy working in the field of eco and bio design. I have been using open source materials recipes as well as developing my own new recipes. You can find out more (@ecotribolife) • Instagram photos and videos

This post is obviously from a few years back so I am wondering if anything is still moving forward with this group and how I may be able to help if so?
get in touch and let me know.

Best wishes

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