Collaboratory Innovation

Nicolas Nova recently dropped a nugget on what he calls Art + Science in Collaboratory.

Last week, there was a very pertinent article in the NYT: Researchers Look to Create a Synthesis of Art and Science for the 21st Century by John Malkoff. The article’s take is the fact that artists will be central to the future of computing technology. It exemplifies this thesis through different examples liek Calit2 or MIT.

Why do I blog this? The topic is one near and dear to my own research interests, both in terms of how transdisciplinary collaboration might work to spur innovation in the practices I enjoy (technology mediated social formations, mobile and pervasive design, etc., etc.). I’m also engaged in trying to figure out how to create a collaboratory. Sigh. It’s hard!

It’s an ongoing topic out in the world. Douglas Rushkoff’s new book Get Back in the Box : Innovation from the Inside Out (December 2005, Amazon tells me) is on-point. I was lucky enough to read it before December — heartily recommended! Rushkoff is blogging sneak-peeks, as we speak.

One approach to addressing these topics is a research proposal I submitted to the US [w:NSF] Science & Society directorate titled A Study Of Inter- and Transdisciplinary Collaborations Amongst Scientists, Engineers and Artists. My proposal took the conservative approach of studying a specific collaboration practice — Bell Labs scientist Billy Kluver’s Experiments in Art and Technology group in the 1960s. If given the opportunity to conduct this research, I would use it as a wedge into the larger topics of how collaboration can become productive, and to figuring out the business case for such an innovation framework.

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