Fostering Community-Based Technology Innovation

Fostering Community-Based Technology Innovation

Next-generation broadband infrastructure has the potential to spur significant economic and social improvements throughout the U.S. While there have been some successes, most notably with respect to understanding and designing foundational technologies, efforts to promote development of next generation, high-capacity data infrastructure have encountered a challenge of persistent underinvestment arising from a cold-start problem (Schein et al., 2002). Underinvestment in broadly available advanced broadband infrastructure occurs because there are insufficient advanced applications and services to justify it. Underinvestment in creating gigabit applications that use advanced network infrastructure occurs because such infrastructure is relatively uncommon and fragmented. While not unique to network infrastructure, this deadlock presents a fundamental challenge for any effort to realize the economic and societal benefits of next-generation networking technologies. Both well established research literatures and recent efforts to promote development of gigabit applications suggest that individuals, organizations, and groups within local communities are a potentially important source of innovative activity that may be harnessed to address this challenge. This insight has led to increasing investments in activities such as community hackathons, research-community partnerships, and innovation consortia designed to promote community-based technology innovation. However, because of fragmentation in the research and practitioner communities our collective understanding of how to best understand, manage, and evaluate these activities remains underdeveloped. The proposed workshop focuses on understanding, managing, learning from, and evaluating efforts to foster local communities as sources of technology innovation. The purpose of this workshop is to: (1) assess the state of current knowledge, (2) articulate a research agenda for critical future work; and (3) begin the process of forming cross-disciplinary, collaboration networks in this multi-disciplinary area. Prior to the workshop the steering committee and advisory group will solicit position papers focused on either critical concepts and/or compelling examples. The two day workshop and subsequent work report will focus on activities designed to increase participant awareness of the range of relevant scholarship, foster the formation of future cross-disciplinary collaborations, and articulate a multidisciplinary research agenda that if pursued would lead to a better understanding, management, and evaluation of efforts to foster local communities as sources of technology innovation.

Duration: 
September 2015 - August 2018
Funder: 
National Science Foundation
Total Award Amount: 
78277

Principal Investigator: