Abstract

Information communication technologies (ICT) have emerged as an enabling solution that facilitates grassroots social innovations. Among them are collaborative services in which the final users collaborate to provide solutions to their unmet social needs. These alternative solutions aggregate to result in radical innovations towards a sustainable society (Meroni ed., 2006). Examples of collaborative services on the digital platform include Hitchhikers, a service created by hitchhikers to connect people with empty seats in their cars and people in need of a ride, thus allowing them to meet new people and reducing carbon footprint; Vicini Vicini, a service that aims to strengthen social fabric in Rome by helping people to organize parties with neighbors; Peladeiros, a service in Brazil that helps people to organize soccer matches; GROFUN, a service organized by people in Bristol to promote urban gardening, share the produce and dine together. We introduce the notion of collaborative service and showcase the examples of collaborative services supported by ICT, mainly web-based. The cases studies reveal that collaborative services have a common structural system and that they can be classified into seven categories based on their meta-function. Collaborative services produce two elements – a solution and a social network. Based on theories of social network analysis, we argue that the two elements influence the formation of each other, i.e., a solution generates a social network as a byproduct and the social network in turn become a medium to diffuse innovations and creates opportunities to start new collaborations and that this virtuous cycle is amplified by ICT.

Keywords:

Social Innovation, Sustainability, Service Design, Information Communication Technologies (Ict), Social Network

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Sustainable Collaborative Services on the Digital Platform: Definition and Application

Information communication technologies (ICT) have emerged as an enabling solution that facilitates grassroots social innovations. Among them are collaborative services in which the final users collaborate to provide solutions to their unmet social needs. These alternative solutions aggregate to result in radical innovations towards a sustainable society (Meroni ed., 2006). Examples of collaborative services on the digital platform include Hitchhikers, a service created by hitchhikers to connect people with empty seats in their cars and people in need of a ride, thus allowing them to meet new people and reducing carbon footprint; Vicini Vicini, a service that aims to strengthen social fabric in Rome by helping people to organize parties with neighbors; Peladeiros, a service in Brazil that helps people to organize soccer matches; GROFUN, a service organized by people in Bristol to promote urban gardening, share the produce and dine together. We introduce the notion of collaborative service and showcase the examples of collaborative services supported by ICT, mainly web-based. The cases studies reveal that collaborative services have a common structural system and that they can be classified into seven categories based on their meta-function. Collaborative services produce two elements – a solution and a social network. Based on theories of social network analysis, we argue that the two elements influence the formation of each other, i.e., a solution generates a social network as a byproduct and the social network in turn become a medium to diffuse innovations and creates opportunities to start new collaborations and that this virtuous cycle is amplified by ICT.

 

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