Collaboration vs centralisation
Collaboration is vital for the success of a circular economy - at any scale.
That mindset opens exciting opportunities for software engineers.
But it also opens (yet another) potential pitfall: our desire to control too much.
Lets take one (fictional) example: there is a huge range and depth of new knowledge available to help physical product designers become more circular. Plus that knowledge is growing and changing fast. So, the technical mind will be tempted to imagine one central database for all this knowledge globally. It seems like the perfect solution, right? All we need to do is pull together this information and product designers will have everything at their fingertips.
Of course, the reality is a lot more complex. It seems especially tempting when we are at an early stage of new knowledge.
There is a joke which makes this point much more elequently that I can:
- Situation: there are 14 competing standards
- "14! Ridiculous! We need to develop one universal standard"
- Soon: there are 15 competing standards
The solution, for circular collaboration, is not centralisation, but networks.