Meta-innovation: Surprise boxes!

What I really like about the Thingiverse physical object repository is that people are not just adding awesome, innovative [1, 2] and useful [1, 2] new content. They also innovate in how they publish content and how to use the content, exploring and sharing new and innovative ways of (applying) digitally assisted making. They explore and share what works and doesn’t work for them. They get other people excited to try their ideas and techniques and improve upon them. And… they find very original ways of packaging objects:

Surprise boxes!

There is an interesting phenomena on Thingiverse lately: Surprise Boxes! It looks like an ordinary box right? But the secret is that there will be something 3D printed inside the box! What will it be? You won’t know until you make it become a reality on your MakerBot or other 3D printer!

The way it works is that it is a box with something special inside, but to find out what it is, you have to make it… and even then only you will know what’s inside because the surprise gets sealed in! What a awesome idea!

This is so cool. What an innovative idea by Conrad2468 and it’s already been repeated by Owenscenic!

From: Makerbot Blog

The important message is that this digitally assisted making around RepRap and the many derivatives is a social phenomenon as much as it is a technological one. Both are critical enablers. Thingiverse every day proves itself to be a sustainable source of creative ideas and value produced by a community. At the same time it endorses and is a showcase example of open source development beyond software. This makes it different from the platform products that most for-profit 3D printer vendors or service bureaus would set up, who have a more closed and organization-centric mindset. Of such platforms, not just the level of participation is different, also the degree of commitment and the motivations that drive the individuals are different. The more traditional for-profit companies have little awareness of communities and the value created around community-centric “products”. Though there are some notable exceptions

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