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Social Sciences | Complexity Perspectives in Innovation and Social Change

Complexity Perspectives in Innovation and Social Change

Series: Methodos Series, Vol. 7

Lane, D., Pumain, D., van der Leeuw, S.E., West, G. (Eds.)

2009, IX, 492 p.

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  • Focus on invention and innovation as socio-technical processes
  • Applied complex system perspective
  • Innovative social science theory

Innovation is nowadays a question of life and death for many of the economies of the western world. Yet, due to our generally reductionist scientific paradigm, invention and innovation are rarely studied scientifically. Most work prefers to study its context and its consequences. As a result, we are as a society, lacking the scientific tools to understand, improve or otherwise impact on the processes of invention and innovation. This book delves deeply into that topic, taking the position that the complex systems approach, with its emphasis on ‘emergence’, is better suited than our traditional approach to the phenomenon. In a collection of very coherent papers, which are the result of an EU-funded four year international research team’s effort, it addresses various aspect of the topic from different disciplinary angles. One of the main emphases is the need, in the social sciences, to move away from neo-darwinist ‘population thinking’ to ‘organization thinking’ if we want to understand social evolution. Another main emphasis is on developing a generative approach to invention and innovation, looking in detail at the contexts within which invention and innovation occur, and how these contexts impact on the chances for success or failure. Throughout, the book is infused with interesting new insights, but also presents several well-elaborated case studies that connect the ideas with a substantive body of ‘real world’ information.

The research presented in this volume, developed in the EC-funded Project ISCOM (Information Society as a Complex System), takes off from two fundamental premises: -- to guide innovation policies, taking account of the social, economic and geographic dimensions of innovation processes are at least as critical as the science and technology; and -- complex systems science is essential for understanding these dimensions.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Agent based modelling - Complex Systems - Europe - Innovation Studies - Nation - Social Evolution - Social Sciences - Urban Systems - networks - organization - organizations - prehistory - social systems - technology

Related subjects » Anthropology & Archaeology - Geography - Regional / Spatial Science - Social Sciences

Table of contents 

Introduction.- Section 1: From biology to society.- Ch 1: Lane, Maxfield, Read and van der Leeuw, From population to organization thinking.- Ch 2: Read, Lane and van der Leeuw, The innovation innovation.- Ch 3: van der Leeuw, Lane and Read, The long-term evolution of social organization.- Ch 4: Ginzburg, Biological metaphors in economics: Natural selection and competition.- Ch 5: White, Innovation in the context of networks, hierarchy and social cohesion.- Section 2: Innovation and urban systems.- Ch 6: Bretagnolle, Pumain, The organization of urban systems.- Ch 7: Bettancourt, Lobo and West, The self similarity of human social organization in cities.- Ch 8: Pumain, Paulus and Vacchiani-Marcuzzo, Innovation cycles and urban dynamics.- Section 3: Innovation and market systems.- Ch 9: Lane and Maxfield, Building a new market system.- Ch 10: Rossi, Bertossi, Gurisatti and Sovieni, Incorporating a new technology into agent-artifact space: The case of control system automation in Europe.- Ch 11: Russo and Rossi, Innovation policies: Levels and levers.- Section 4: Modeling innovation and social change.- Ch 12: Pumain, Sanders, Bretagnolle, Glisse, and Mathian, The future of urban systems: exploratory models.- Ch 13: Serra, Villani and Lane, Modeling innovation.- Ch 14: Ferrari, Read, van der Leeuw, An agent based model of information flows in social dynamics.- Ch 15: Villani, Bonacini, Ferrari and Serra, An agent based model of exaptive processes.- Ch 16: Helbing, Kuhnert, Lammer, Johannsen, Gelsen, Ammoser and West, Power laws in urban supply networks, social systems and dense pedestrian.- Ch 17: Knappett et al., Using statistical physics to understand relational space: A case study from Mediterranean.- Conclusion.- List of contributors

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