Social innovation, democracy and makerspaces

Smith, Adrian (2017) Social innovation, democracy and makerspaces. Working Paper. Science Policy Research Unit, Brighton.

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Social innovation requires a transformation in innovation practices. These transformations should be democratic. At least that is the argument in this paper. Makerspaces are studied as potential sites for democratising innovation activity. Makerspaces are community-based workshops where people access the tools, skills and collaborators to design and make almost anything they wish. The tools available include technologies for digital design and fabrication, and which permit collaboration between participants in different workshops via online platforms and social networks. Makerspaces are also networked spaces for reflection and debate over design and making in society. But they are many other things too, including a place for personal recreation, entrepreneurship, and education - features of increasing interest to institutions. Makerspaces are pulled and pushed in different directions. An open innovation agenda seeks to insert makerspace creativity into global manufacturing circuits under business as usual. Others see in makerspaces an inchoate infrastructure for a commons-based, sustainable and redistributed manufacturing economy. Activists anticipate more democratic relations in material culture and political economy. Makerspaces are thus socially innovative and not socially innovative at the same time: a site of struggle over issues of profound social significance, and hence an example of innovation democracy in action.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit > SPRU Working Paper Series
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Adrian Smith
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2017 14:35
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2017 14:35

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