Why space matters for collaborative innovation (net)work(s

Markus F. Peschl, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, Franz-Markus.Peschl@univie.ac.at | http://www.univie.ac.at/knowledge/peschl/

Thomas Fundneider, tf consulting, theLivingCore, Vienna, Austria, tf@tfc.at | http://www.tfc.at | http://www.theLivingCore.com

Introduction, research question & assumptions This paper is about designing spaces enabling processes of collaborative knowledge creation and innovation. It is a theoretical paper on the role of artifacts as enablers for creating new knowledge. We refer to these artifacts as Enabling Spaces comprising an architectural, technological (ICT), social, cognitive, as well as emotional dimension. The leading research question: Which concepts, design qualities, as well as concrete realizations do we need for spaces designed for enabling and facilitating processes of knowledge creation and innovation? This paper is based on three assumptions: (i) Innovation is—besides other aspects—primarily a process of collaboratively creating knowledge and meaning (cf. constructivist notion of learning, e.g., Glasersfeld 1989, 1995; Krippendorff 2006, 2001); (ii) Radically new knowledge cannot be brought forth in a purely mechanistic or algorithmic manner; (iii) Knowledge creation, learning and innovation does not take place in an abstract, empty, or purely “cognitive” space.

Enabling (Radical) Innovation understood as bringing forth (radically) new knowledge cannot be achieved in a mechanistic manner. It is necessary to look at processes of knowledge creation (and creativity in general) as highly dynamical "designerly" and emergent processes that can only be brought about by structures enabling these processes rather than by strict mechanistic or algorithmic rules. I.e., one has to provide a complex pattern of enabling constraints. They have to be well orchestrated in such a way that they facilitate and support processes of knowledge creation. As is shown in this paper, the challenge is (a) to achieve a more profound understanding of the notion of enabling and (b) to find and design such a network of enabling artifacts/constraints.

Space and knowledge creation In the classical perspective of cognition and innovation these processes are seen rather decoupled from space. However, the situated and embodied approach to cognition in cognitive science (e.g., Clark 2008) suggests that processes of (collaborative) knowledge creation are always embedded as well as embodied in a concrete space. In most cases this notion of space refers to the physical space; however, for the purpose of the concept of 1

Enabling Spaces we will also introduce the social, technological epistemological, cognitive, as well as emotional aspects as essential dimensions for our understanding of space. It will be shown that innovation is not only a cognitive activity taking place inside the brain, but it is intrinsically coupled with the environment (including also the collaboration with other cognitive systems). Innovation is heavily dependent on the interaction with and immersion in the environment—it can be though of as a kind of “thinking-with-the-object”-process. This leads to an integrated understanding of space in general and—more specifically—of a space enabling processes of collaborative learning and exploration finally leading to creating radically new knowledge and/or profound innovations.

Enabling Spaces In most cases—if at all—only one or two of the above-mentioned dimensions are considered in the design of such (innovation) spaces. The concept of "Enabling Spaces" (Peschl & Fundneider 2007, 2011) tackles this challenge of integrating the dimensions in a radically interdisciplinary manner. The framework of Enabling Spaces acts as a container holding innovation processes and activities. The Enabling Space is designed as a multi-dimensional space, in which architectural/physical, social, cognitive, echnological, epistemological, cultural, intellectual, emotional and other factors are considered and integrated, aiming to support innovation activities. Hence, an Enabling Space is a space supporting, enabling, and facilitating processes of innovation and knowledge creation. According to the insights from the extended/situated cognition approach the concept of Enabling Spaces takes the following issue very seriously: their structures reflect the need for specific environments/contexts for different types of cognitive processes and knowledge work taking place in the course of innovation processes. This is reached by a consistent Integration of these enabling structures and (knowledge) processes.

Methods & Goals of this paper The theoretical foundations as well as examples from concrete successful projects will be presented as an illustration of Enabling Spaces. The goal of this paper is to foster a process of collaboratively exploring these issues in order to achieve a more profound understanding of the following points: • The concept and role of enabling (structures) in the context innovation/knowledge creation processes • The dimensions which are involved in enabling spaces and how these dimensions do interact with each other. • How can an interdisciplinary integration of structure and (knowledge) processes be achieved in a design process? • What are design principles for Enabling Spaces? • Concrete examples of realizations will be given (see images below).



References Clark, A. (2008). Supersizing the mind. Embodiment, action, and cognitive extension. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. Glasersfeld, E. (1989). Cognition, construction of knowledge, and teaching. Synthese, 80(1), 121–141. Glasersfeld, E. (1995). Radical constructivism: a way of knowing and learning. London: Falmer Press. Krippendorff, K. (2006). The semantic turn. A new foundation for design. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis CRC Press. Krippendorff, K. (2011). Principles of design and a trajectory of artificiality. Journal of Product Innovation Management 28, 411–418. Peschl, M. (2007). Enabling Spaces – epistemologische Grundlagen der Ermöglichung von Innovation und knowledge creation. In N. Gronau (Ed.), Professionelles Wissensmanagement. Erfahrungen und Visionen (pp. 362–372). Berlin: GITO. Peschl, M.F. & Fundneider, T. (2011, forthcoming). Spaces enabling game-changing and sustaining innovations. Journal of Organisational Transformation & Social Change (OTSC).