Assessing Peer Innovation: Three Case Studies of How Peer Communities Contribute to Socio-Technical Change
25 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2023
Online communities have given rise to a new mode of technology development, which we call peer innovation. Three peer innovation communities are assessed as to how they contribute to socio-technical change.The case studies are based on close examination of the online interactions in community forums and interviews with community members. We use the functions of technological innovation systems (TIS) approach as an analytical perspective. Based on our analysis we argue that the contributions encompass a wide range of activities and the three peer communities show great variation in their activity profiles: from strongly technology-focused, rather anonymous networks to very broad-based communities that also influence political discourse, public acceptance and the social embedding of technologies. We conclude that innovation policy makers should acknowledge the transformative potential of this mode of innovation and harness its potential to open up and explore alternative and more sustainable technological pathways.
Keywords: User innovation, Sustainable Development, socio-technical change, technological innovation systems, transitions
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