Promising Technology:

Social Breakthroughs

Our Art-Driven Innovation database includes projects from the following sub-fields of this theme:

New forms of associations for passing on knowledge and innovating, usually under the form of a hub of skilled people gathering around them others from a community or a community of interest. Called makerspaces, hackerspaces or innovation labs, these settings act as communal workshops, where people can share ideas and tools. Collaborative innovation spaces can pop up anywhere, including schools, libraries, and community centres. Different locations offer different resources, ranging from 3D printers to synthetic biology kits.

Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts to improve user engagement, organizational productivity, flow, learning, crowdsourcing, employee recruitment and evaluation, ease of use, usefulness of systems, physical exercise, traffic violations, voter apathy, and more.

New forms of organising access to goods and services, new value generation patterns, that are increasingly emerging, spurred by developments as; mobile access, digitalization of more and more goods, shift towards experience rather than ownership and encouragement to share the use of scarce resources.

In the “read/write culture” information or product is provided by different “social media” sources and (re)produced by different actors. People become “active audiences” with the ability to not only share, but also generate, manipulate and transform digital content (vloggers, movie fan editing, and personal live streaming). Giving new dynamics to fact checking, objective information, trustworthiness of information and ownership of content.

Body 2.0 and Quantified Self both mean the permanent monitoring of the human body and the almost medical monitoring of one’s bodily functions, via wearables, Smartphone Apps or separate sensors. The Quantified Self movement encourages users to better understand themselves by collecting data on every aspect of their daily life. The new technical possibilities are combined with an increased concern over the body as “the temple” where the mind resides.

Car-free cities greatly reduce petroleum dependency, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, automobile crashes, noise pollution, and traffic congestion. The innovation is to transform highly car-dependent cities or construct new car-free cities from scratch. A car-free city relies primarily on public transport, walking, or cycling for transport within the urban area.

As formulated by the Food Circles Network “A Food Circle is a new way of conceiving of and organizing our agricultural and food systems. It links the many people involved in food production together in interdependent, holistic ways. … Practically, a Food Circle is concerned with promoting the consumption of safe, regionally grown food that will encourage sustainable agriculture and help to maintain farmers, who will sustain rural areas. While the concept sounds simple, it means that we must radically change the way we participate in the act of growing and consuming food.” In countries around the world a number of social innovations are emerging around this vision of localised chains of food production and consumption.

Personal health data are becoming more and more valuable. There are movements to create spaces, in which the persons who are the subjects of the data know that their data are safe and can be used, e.g. for research, and in which individuals benefit directly from providing their data. This is a counter-initiative against companies exploiting personal health data generated in different situations, intentionally and unintentionally.

Alternative currencies can be digital (often called “crypto-currencies”) or non-digital. Some even use time as a currency. In economics, a time-based currency is an alternative currency or exchange system where the unit of account/value is the person-hour or some other time unit.

Guaranteed minimum income (GMI) or “basic income” is a system of social welfare provision that guarantees all citizens or families to have an income sufficient to live on. There are different possibilities: unconditional basic income (UBI, when citizenship is the only requirement for receiving it) or conditional income, which is provided if people meet certain conditions or fulfil certain duties. Basic income means the provision of identical payments from a government to all of its citizens. While most modern countries have some form of GMI provided under certain conditions, a general, unconditional basic income paid to all citizens is rare. With such a basic income, people can dedicate their (already paid) time to work in areas like science, healthcare, education, etc.

Life Caching means collecting, storing and displaying one’s entire life for private use, or for friends, family, even the entire world to peruse. Millions of people are digitally indexing their thoughts, rants, pictures, video clips; most of them with new means online, disclosing the virtual caches of their daily lives, exciting or boring. The purpose of life caching is mainly keeping the memory. There is a link to lifelogging (self-tracking), in which individuals record and even quantify all their activities with activity trackers, cameras, etc.

Explanation texts per field are taken from and inspired on:
European Commission, 100 Radical Innovation Breakthroughs for the future (2019) ISBN 978-92-79-99139-4