Complexity Perspectives in Innovation and Social Change

Methodos Series

Book 7
Springer Science & Business Media
Free sample

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.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Feb 13, 2009
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Pages
492
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ISBN
9781402096631
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Urban & Regional
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
Science / Earth Sciences / Geography
Social Science / Archaeology
Social Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Beginning and well-seasoned researchers alike face significant challenges in understanding the complexities of research designs arising from both within and across methodological paradigms, and in applying them in ways that maximise impact on knowledge, practice, and policy. This volume engages educational and social researchers in a scholarly debate offering some crucial re-interpretations of established research methodologies in light of contemporary conditions and critical introduction to some contemporary research approaches yet to gain general recognition. This book is a contemporary vademecum for researchers, practitioners and graduate students on research methodologies and designs for educational and social change in today’s world. The chapters chart and analyse the conceptual and practical complexities of a variety research designs for contemporary educational and social work research. This anthology, taken overall, provides readers with the knowledge and understanding needed not only to design technically sound and coherent research studies, but also to develop methodologically innovative research projects that cross the boundaries between different methodological traditions to the benefit of scholarship, policy, and practice. The chapters cover nine research approaches: - Design-based research - Action research - Ethnomethodological research - Negotiated ethnography - Arts-informed research - Historical analysis and postcolonial scholarship - Policy analysis - Comparative research - Quantitative modelling of correlational and multi-level data The book provides a critical discussion of epistemological questions and methodological frontiers: - Knowledge and epistemology in scholarship, practice and policy - Digital knowledge and digital research - Emerging methodological challenges for educational research - Challenges and futures for social work and social policy research methods - Methodology and the knowledge industry
This leading-edge study focuses on the latest techniques in analysing and representing the complex, multi-layered data now available to geographers studying urban zones and their populations. The volume tracks the successful results of the SPANGEO Project, which was set up in 2005 to standardize, and share, the syncretic, multinational mapping techniques already developed by geographers and computer scientists. SPANGEO sought new and responsive ways of visualising urban geographical and social data that reflected the fine-grained detail of the inputs. It allowed for visual representation of the large and complex networks and flows which are such an integral feature of the dynamism of urban geography. SPANGEO developed through the ‘visual analytics loop’ in which geographers collaborated with computer scientists by feeding data into the design of visualisations that in turn spawned the urge to incorporate more varied data into the visualisation. This volume covers all the relevant aspects, from conceptual principles to the tools of network analysis and the actual results flowing from their deployment. Detailed case studies set out in this volume include spatial multi-level analyses of flows in airports and sea ports, as well as the fascinating scientific networks in European cities. The volume shows how the primary concern of geography—the interaction of society with physical space—has been revivified by the complexities of new cartographical and statistical methodologies, which allow for highly detailed mapping and far more powerful computer analysis of spatial relationships.
"This is science writing as wonder and as inspiration." —The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal

From one of the most influential scientists of our time, a dazzling exploration of the hidden laws that govern the life cycle of everything from plants and animals to the cities we live in.

Visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks. The term “complexity” can be misleading, however, because what makes West’s discoveries so beautiful is that he has found an underlying simplicity that unites the seemingly complex and diverse phenomena of living systems, including our bodies, our cities and our businesses.

Fascinated by aging and mortality, West applied the rigor of a physicist to the biological question of why we live as long as we do and no longer. The result was astonishing, and changed science: West found that despite the riotous diversity in mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. If you know the size of a mammal, you can use scaling laws to learn everything from how much food it eats per day, what its heart-rate is, how long it will take to mature, its lifespan, and so on. Furthermore, the efficiency of the mammal’s circulatory systems scales up precisely based on weight: if you compare a mouse, a human and an elephant on a logarithmic graph, you find with every doubling of average weight, a species gets 25% more efficient—and lives 25% longer. Fundamentally, he has proven, the issue has to do with the fractal geometry of the networks that supply energy and remove waste from the organism’s body.

West’s work has been game-changing for biologists, but then he made the even bolder move of exploring his work’s applicability. Cities, too, are constellations of networks and laws of scalability relate with eerie precision to them. Recently, West has applied his revolutionary work to the business world. This investigation has led to powerful insights into why some companies thrive while others fail. The implications of these discoveries are far-reaching, and are just beginning to be explored. Scale is a thrilling scientific adventure story about the elemental natural laws that bind us together in simple but profound ways. Through the brilliant mind of Geoffrey West, we can envision how cities, companies and biological life alike are dancing to the same simple, powerful tune.
PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST

An epic, riveting history of New York City on the edge of disaster—and an anatomy of the austerity politics that continue to shape the world today

When the news broke in 1975 that New York City was on the brink of fiscal collapse, few believed it was possible. How could the country’s largest metropolis fail? How could the capital of the financial world go bankrupt? Yet the city was indeed billions of dollars in the red, with no way to pay back its debts. Bankers and politicians alike seized upon the situation as evidence that social liberalism, which New York famously exemplified, was unworkable. The city had to slash services, freeze wages, and fire thousands of workers, they insisted, or financial apocalypse would ensue.

In this vivid account, historian Kim Phillips-Fein tells the remarkable story of the crisis that engulfed the city. With unions and ordinary citizens refusing to accept retrenchment, the budget crunch became a struggle over the soul of New York, pitting fundamentally opposing visions of the city against each other. Drawing on never-before-used archival sources and interviews with key players in the crisis, Fear City shows how the brush with bankruptcy permanently transformed New York—and reshaped ideas about government across America.

At once a sweeping history of some of the most tumultuous times in New York's past, a gripping narrative of last-minute machinations and backroom deals, and an origin story of the politics of austerity, Fear City is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the resurgent fiscal conservatism of today.

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