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Society>Tech

This initiative looks at how social science research can help tech innovators move beyond models that assume that if tech receives investment and market share, then it is automatically socially useful.

What is this about? 

It is about developing more effective and socially useful approaches to technology innovation. This initiative links three academics from the University of Sussex with tech entrepreneurs. It is designed to look at how social science research can help tech innovators move beyond models that assume that if tech receives investment and market share, then it is automatically socially useful. 

With a better understanding of social knowledge and people’s real, active experiences, could we create better, more useful and more positive technologies? 

The goal of the project is to help tech innovators (including our own FuseBox) and purpose-driven communities consider how they might integrate approaches derived from academic research into their practices. 

What has happened? 

This initial 3-month programme with the University of Sussex runs from Jan-March 2021 and looks to actively explore this perspective through the work, publications and engagement of three researchers: 

  • Professor of Science and Technology Policy at SPRU, Andy Stirling
  • Professor of Technology and Society at SPRU, Adrian Smith
  • Professor of Design and Creative Technology, Ann Light

We have paired each of these individuals with experienced and successful individuals from the digital/tech sector: 

The programme as a whole is supported by Jenni Lloyd, an expert in social, civic and governmental innovation who led the Upstream Collaborative and ShareLab programmes at Nesta.
 

What is planned? 

There will be talks, podcasts and roundtable discussions as follows: 

  • January 2021: Professor Andy Stirling: The Politics of Uncertainty: Challenges of Transformation 

The focus this month will be on implicit assumptions in dominant innovation models and what an alternative approach might look like.

  • February 2021: Professor Adrian Smith: Grassroots Innovation Movements

The focus this month will be on what lessons we can learn from self-organised communities who engage with and adapt tech to suit their aims.

  • March 2021: Professor Ann Light: Designs to Reshape for Humanity 

The focus this month will be on how design and design practices can be re-thought to centre on social and environmental justice.

Get involved

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the Society>Tech initiative, please get in touch.