asses open strategies and the network phenomenon. Despite the strong interest inthe digital cluster andtechnology communities, policy has little or no data available to measure the value that the industry and thenetwork synergies generate.The lack of data was the main driver for the InnoViz research and project, and the Appsterdam network wasa valuable data source to gain an overview of the network dynamics: the density, diversity and distribution of people, and companies. Existing reports and market statistics fail to capture this level of distributed, micro-economic activity. The individual shops, the startup ventures, and new coalitions and cooperations that aretaking place underneath the numbers that the reports are capturing
. The InnoViz study, was based onquantitative data derived from the Appsterdam network of App Makers, and demonstrates the benefit of exploring community data. Data that allowed us to zoom into the micro level of economic activities in the Amsterdam region and beyond.
The Appsterdam network
Appsterdam has been conceived, initiated and sustained by App Makers; independent professionals workingwith technology and learning from one another, while creating new products, services and companies. It is ahorizontal organization which depends on the contribution, skills and creativity of its members. It exists for aslong as its members acknowledge its socio-economic relevance and value. The organization retains acatalyst role transferring ownership and responsibility to the circle. It facilitates the initiatives of other playersin the tech ecosystem and supports new ventures. This approach is incentivizing openness andcollaboration, knowledge sharing, and connects the different components of the ecosystem.The core members are engineers, developers and entrepreneurs; a handful of people that have built Appsterdam on the premise of “by App Makers for App Makers”. The organization attracts, however,independent professionals from many different disciplines, companies and organizations, irrespective theplatform or technology of use, who want to join with their skills, support each other and feed the network. Theoutcome has been an open and influential network of App Makers.Such practices have become important for the economic development of one region as they pave new waysof doing business and innovating under recession. Networked problem-solving, creates a motor that movesideas and dialogue from centralized strategies and plans to resources on the edges of the network and turnsthem to actions.
The InnoViz project
The above reasons made Appsterdam, as a non-profit organization, a social network and technologycommunity, a distinguishing study case. For a period of 4 months I collected data and collaborated withindividual contractors and the design agency Clever Franke, to index and analyze the findings. Although themembers of the community and the different components of the network are aware of the social and supportinfrastructure that the organization has built, one of my challenges was to communicate that knowledge tothose outside the community. To expose to a wider audience how the network processes increase the valuecreated in the industry and create a tool that would visualize some of the network aspects and let theaudience interact with the derived data.
See the CBS website, last accessed in February (2013)http://www.cbs.nl/nl-NL/menu/informatie/beleid/publicaties/papers/archief/2012/monitor-topsectoren.htm& the Amsterdam InnovationMotor (AIM) report on the cluster of digital media companies (2012)