A notable study is being launched out of Spain’s National Research Council. Titled, “The Cultural Economy of Innovation”, the three-year research project aims to study from a critical and interdisciplinary perspective the current emergence of openness as a figure of, and configurative framework for, the socio-economic structure of our contemporary. It will study the cultural economy of openness as a new sociological paradigm: What contexts and processes legitimate and enable the circulation of openness as a cultural category across organisations, institutions and communities?
The study kicked-off with last week with a seminar including speakers from around the world out of both private business and academia. According to seminar’s website, The language and practices of open innovation have taken hold of the imagination of urban life in the early 21st century. From the rise of ‘free software’ in the mid 1990s to the current adoption and promotion of ‘free culture’ in places and contexts as varied as public administration, national systems of innovation, urban planning or user-centered and local community initiatives, the imaginary of ‘openness’ is pervading social life. In this light, open innovation has transubstantiated from an original techno-economic concept to a wholesale sociological paradigm: ‘openness’ as a self-explanatory and emerging figure of the social.
This is an interesting study to see how what started as primarily a business practice has created a societal shift. Individuals who have experienced openness from businesses such as technology providers and consumer goods, now expect the same from other entities such as government, education and health care providers. It’s also interesting to think that this cultural shift is taking place on a global scale, while traditionally the characteristic of openness has been linked to national cultural factors such as individualism and uncertainty avoidance.
What do you think – do agree that openness has created a societal paradigm shift? What are some specific examples of how you seen it take place?