Abstract for Social Innovation and Social Media (SISoM2011)

I'll be doing the keynote talk in July at the First International Workshop on Social Innovation and Social Media (SISoM 2011). Here's my abstract - comments welcome (help make my talk better - the workshop participants will thank you!)

Social Innovation Assemblages

This talk interrogates the link between social innovation and social media through the idea of assemblages, as developed by Deleuze & Guattari and later by de Landa. Starting with the rapid prototyping and radical interdisciplinarity of Social Innovation Camps I will examine the hybridity of social media in social innovation, and it's expression in the crisis camp response to Haiti's earthquake. I will theorise this digitally-enabled social innovation as the dynamic destruction and reassembling of practices heralded by an ontology of assemblages, in particular the 'relationships of exteriority' that mean it's impossible to predict in advance the capacities of a particular combination of entities. I will draw out the practical implications for policy, in particular the replacement of modelling with concrete experimentation as well as the need for agile policy making. As I will be freshly returning from Social Innovation Camps in Kyrgyzstan and Sarajevo I will make a preliminary ethnographical report of those experiments and the contention that 'social innovation' also implies an innovation of the social based on a renewed sense of agency. In conclusion I will draw on this work to propose approaches to speed and scale for social innovation.