Prometheus: Vol 34, No 2 (2016)

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By Stuart Macdonald page: 83 - 84 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 34, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281317952
By William Kingston Brexit is intended to return autonomy for law-making to the UK Parliament, and this opportunity could be used to improve intellectual property laws. These were originally drafted to support innovation, but like other laws of property they were captured by interests. The result is that their original function has been far surpassed in economic importance by their use for moving corporate profits to and through tax havens for tax evasion and avoidance. Although an opportunity to improve information protection laws may indeed result, Britain has never been a leader in drafting these, compared with Germany and the United States. Also, to the extent that better laws could refocus investment on technological innovation, and away from financial innovation, it could be expected that they would be opposed by interests with a major stronghold in the City of London. Reference is made to specific proposals for change already advanced in Prometheus, to which is added a new suggestion about how more generous overhead payments from public funding of innovation could help to stimulate more firms to bid for this. Also, a proposal is made for a means of rectifying a series of legal decisions which have had the effect of denying firms the ability to benefit from new ideas offered by outsiders. page: 85 - 94 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 34, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281292733
By Stuart J. Barnes In recent years, there has been a groundswell of initiatives aimed at providing platforms to share resources among people. Collaborative consumption provides a model for a ‘sharing economy’ where the dominant logic of consumers is resource access rather than ownership. This study examines the nature and development of a variety of collaborative consumption businesses; in particular, we explore how start-up entrepreneurs see the problems of creating a tribal community among customers and users. Interviews were carried out with founders and co-founders of collaborative consumption ventures during 2014–15. The results suggest that these organisations face many common issues. We develop and apply a framework to understand some of these. We find that collaborative consumption entrepreneurs strive to build a tribal community by matching, in an innovative way, supply and demand. This is typically done by co-creating shared commonality, developing scalable electronic platforms, and building trust into platforms using social media to develop proxy social capital. Consequently, by using existing ecosystems of social media, tribal communities can be formed and scaled much more quickly than via traditional marketing approaches. page: 95 - 113 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 34, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281279875
By Craig S. Webster The increasing complexity and power of our technologies compels us to find new ways in which to conceptualise, understand and maintain their safety in the long term. Some complex technological industries have performed better than others in terms of applying sustained and systematic approaches to the maintenance of safety. The United States nuclear power industry can be seen as an ideal test-bed for the development of safety initiatives, being responsible for the control of potentially unpredictable technology that involves extraordinary forces and costs. This paper describes and formalises a framework for better understanding the safety of complex socio-technological systems, based on key events in the development of safety in the United States nuclear power industry. The framework comprises two components: (1) a state-space approach for better conceptualising system failures, the benefits of incident reporting and remedial safety initiatives; and (2) a set of milestones that can be used to assess the development of safety in socio-technological industries. Healthcare and the United States nuclear power industry both represent complex socio-technological systems with similar technical characteristics. However, safety strategies in healthcare have not kept pace with the increasing complexity of clinical practice, and there have been international calls for improvements in patient safety. The framework is applied to the analysis of safety in healthcare, demonstrating its utility as an alternative safety analogy in healthcare. Use of the framework indicates substantial scope for improvements in healthcare safety through major evidence-based system redesign. By lowering the threshold for the reporting of incident data to include accident precursors, it is possible to identify problem areas before patient harm occurs. page: 115 - 132 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 34, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281279873
By Aline Coutinho One of the most hotly debated ideas in science studies is the claim that contemporary science is in the midst of a transformation. While ‘transformationalist’ arguments and concepts vary, their core principle is that the norms, values and practices that have enforced the separation of science from society are being challenged by new expectations that scientists pursue closer connections with industry, government and/or civil society, and address research questions of immediate value to non-academic partners. While many major funding agencies have embraced this idea and now pressure scientists to enhance the ‘societal relevance’ of their work, the impact of these changes on scientific practices is still unclear. This paper reports findings from a comparative meso-level analysis of 14 large Canadian research networks funded by an agency with an explicit transformationalist mandate – the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) programme. Documents and web communications from these 14 NCEs, as well as from the central programme administration office, are analysed and compared to key transformationalist concepts, such as Mode 2 science, post-normal science, the triple helix model, academic capitalism and strategic science. We find that transformationalist ideas have a strong rhetorical presence across the 14 NCE projects and the central office, but that a great deal of inconsistency and confusion exists at the level of implementation and assessment of outcomes. Easily quantifiable outputs, such as the commercialization of research findings, are favoured over softer qualitative outcomes, such as public engagement and knowledge sharing. We conclude by arguing that the NCE programme is having an observable impact on the rhetoric of science, but any resulting transformations in practice are incremental rather than radical. page: 133 - 152 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 34, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281280936
By Deycy Janeth Sánchez Preciado This paper integrates the contributions from different branches of the technology transfer literature to identify enablers driving the transfer of intermediate or appropriate technologies to recipients in rural areas of developing economies. An in-depth analysis of the literature shows that many enablers identified in the literature focus on high technology transfers and are of limited relevance in the context of rural enterprises. Other important enablers in this specific setting are ignored or insufficiently considered. This paper proposes a framework comprising a specific set of enablers that facilitates technology transfer in rural enterprises in developing regional economies. page: 153 - 170 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 34, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281316931