April 25, 2009

At the starting point

Hi, everyone.

I just start on a new blog to explore "social creativity."

I am Takashi Iba, who is interested in creativity of society as well as human creativity. My occupation is an academic researcher, so this exploration will be carried out as a academic study. It, however, does not mean our exploration depends on a specific discipline, but will be interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary study. We may walk across the border among research disciplines, and moreover the border between art and science. 

Since this is a first post into this blog, I would like to write briefly about my viewpoint of the theme. I use the term "collaboration" to indicate an activity when more than one person cooperates to aim for a goal that cannot be reached alone. In effective collaboration, nexus of communication gains "momentum," and it amplifies in the process.  This is why collaboration can lead us to go beyond the result by summing up individuals. 

In my view, collaboration can be classified into two types. One is "closed collaboration", and  another is "open collaboration". The former is a conventional type of collaboration which is conducted by team or organization. In closed collaboration, by definition, participants of the collaboration are almost assigned, therefore the border can be drawn at the same place as the border of team or organization.

The latter is a new type of collaboration which is conducted by an indefinite number of people.  Anybody can dive into the collaboration and leave at any moment. You might imagine this type of collaboration from the case of open-source development of Linux OS or open-editing of Wikipedia. I prefer the term "open collaboration" rather than "mass collaboration", because my focus is put on the distinction between openness and closeness.

I think that we need to study collaboration, especially about open-collaboration, with using the theory of sociology, although it is usually analyzed in the light of management theory or politics so far. There are some reasons. First, the creative process through collaboration is a matter of emergence, since it cannot be reduced into the level of individuals. Second, the theories to understand the formation process of social order by an anonymous indefinite number of people are provided in sociology, not in management theory or politics.

Thus, I focus on "social system theory", which was proposed by Niklas Luhmann, a German sociologist, as a framework to understand collaboration. My key concept, "nexus of communication", is derived from the theory. In this blog, I will mention the theory again and again in order to explore the principle of collaboration.

To analyze the nexus of communication quantitatively, I apply the method of social network analysis. So I will write about the theories, methods, and tools for analyzing network. They have been developed as "social network analysis" in sociology and "the science of complex networks" in physics. I also touch on the topics related to computer simulation, which is great way to understand how a certain order is emerged from the bottom up.

Furthermore, I will treat a pattern language as a method to support social creativity. The method of pattern languages was originally proposed in architectural design and became famous in software design for describing "knack" of experienced designers. In my view, the method can be applied into other domains related to a kind of "design", for example, learning design, research design,  policy design, community design, and social design.

I have pleasure in starting this blog and talk about the topics of social creativity. Please give me a feedback when you feel and think something by reading this blog. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

And I am also very grateful if you correct my English. :-)
I really need to improve my literacy in English.

No comments:

Post a Comment