The Civilization Starter Kit
If only people weren’t beholden to a planned obsolescence mind-set.
Only if diverse resources collaborate to be collectively smarter, wiser, and richer.
In the shortest 2011 TEDxKC talk of the evening, TED fellow and Polish-born fusion physicist Marcin Jakubowski shared an overview of his work just an hour north of Kansas City directing Open Source Ecology in developing the Global Village Construction Set. Its objective is a set of 50 open-sourced blueprints for the most important machines that allow life to exist. These construction and farming tools can be created from scratch and form what has been called a “civilization starter kit.” Essentially all the knowledge to build the machines can be captured on one DVD.
Jakubowski and the others onsite at his farm are in the midst of rapidly building prototypes for the low-cost machines (the tractor was built in 6 days). The prototype building may have been the reason for the brevity of Jakubowskis’s innovative story since he planned to head back to continue working on the “midnight shift.”
As with Patrick Meier’s presentation, it’s important to hear from Jakubowski personally to understand the passion behind the radical collaboration of ideas, technical expertise, labor, and financial support that are all part of Open Sources Ecology.
Marcin Jakubowki’s approach to this effort is an excellent example of looking at objects and processes and decomposing them into analogous pieces (i.e., the interchangeability of children’s building blocks is at the heart of using interchangeable parts across the machines).
The idea of being self-sustaining in a largely agrarian setting flies in the face of the industrial revolution. Perhaps it’s a vital strategy though to benefit those parts of the world struggling to function economically, providing a way to improve lifestyles. It seems the Open Source Ecology strategy is not so much about “back to the future” as “forward to our roots.”
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Mike Brown is an award-winning innovator in strategy, communications, and experience marketing. He authors the BrainzoomingTM blog, and serves as the company’s chief Catalyst. He wrote the ebook “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” and is a frequent keynote presenter.