Introduction: The Human Web
Martinotti, Guido, Dal Fiore, Filippo, & Foth, Marcus (2007) Introduction: The Human Web. American Behavioral Scientist, 50(7), pp. 851-856.
Editorial Introduction to the March 2007 issue of the American Behavioral Scientist. This issue deals with the contributions of "soft" factors to the origin of different processes that eventually contribute to innovation and social change. The issue comprises nine papers that address different complementary perspectives and the role of communication among the actors and stakeholders involved. It also explores the paramount role of communities and networks, as "the place" for communication at both the micro and macro level.
Among the highlights of this issue are
• A persuasive hypothesis that radical innovation is more likely to stem from networks and incremental innovation is more likely to be the result of communities. (Dal Fiore)
• A revisitation of the concepts of "community" and "network" through an urban sociological framework. (Piselli)
• How the opposite "innovation styles" that characterize communities and networks are strictly linked to the types of media upon which they are based. (Venturini)
• The role played by knowledge sharing among different economic stakeholders in order to make a local economy more competitive and resilient. (Capellin)
• The results of a qualitative study of an inner-city section of Brisbane, Australia that draws on the notion of "embeddedness" to examine organizational linkages in creative industries. (Adkins, Foth et al.)
• An investigation of the complex relationship between a given institutional and political context and the role played by designers and actors involved in urban development. (Odenhall)
• Designing Communities of Practice (CoP) by promoting internal alignment among participants and encouraging them to take over the process. (Kranendonk and Kersten.)
• An examination of the symbolic dimension of innovative processes that plays with the concepts of "discursive community" and "communicative genre" in order to understand under which conditions an invention becomes an innovation. (Cavalli)
• A discussion of the parallels between communities versus networks and the tension between specification and craft culture in architecture. (Francisco)
Based on the outcomes of a workshop entitled "Communities vs. Networks as the extremes of a continuum of social containers for innovation", held as part of the Second International Conference on Communities and Technologies, this issue should be in the library of everyone interested in innovation, social networking, the effects of technology on society, social change, social and urban studies, and sociology.
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