A Joint Statement from the Editors, Christopher Roberts and Jonathan Hankins

After a long and fruitful informal collaboration, the Bassetti Foundation and Technology Bloggers have decided to formalize their relationship with a funding agreement.

From 1 November 2020 the Bassetti Foundation will cover the blog’s domain name and hosting costs. This is a fantastic agreement for all parties involved, as it guarantees funding for the continuation of the site while still leaving options open for other partnerships in-line with our values.

As regular readers will know, co-editor Jonny has been working with the Bassetti Foundation for many years, supporting their aim to promote responsibility in innovation. The blog and the Foundation released a joint pamphlet in 2012 based upon a series on the blog called Can We Improve The Health Of The Planet?, an early sign of what was to become an enduring relationship. As editors, we understand and share the goals and aims as well as the values that the Foundation stands for, and the mutual respect and trust offered in return is appreciated and valued.

As editors and authors, we try to highlight underappreciated positive projects/organizations in the world, and promote what we see as technological developments that aim to improve the lives of everybody across the planet.

Jonny started writing for the blog in July of 2011, 3 months after Christopher founded it, and while there has never been a policy on topic areas, the site has developed a view on technology and science and the environment thanks to our shared interests and similarity in positions.

Jonny was new to blogging and Christopher offered him the necessary experience, technological skills and platform to engage with a new audience on matters of ethics and some of the broader implications of technological development.  In return Jonny offered expertise in the rapidly developing field of Responsible Innovation.

Education and critical thinking are fundamental goals for both of us, we share a passion for communication, for enthusing people with the possibilities that the future holds while highlighting the social and ethical aspects of what this might all mean.

We have both learned a lot working together and editing the website over the last (almost) ten years. We benefit from the fact that we both have different expertise, both technical and philosophical. We have influenced each other’s thinking and paths, opened new opportunities and developmental possibilities.

The blog was originally conceived the as a community technology blog, and in its early years a range of posts from other writers were published, but recently the posts have all come from the editors ourselves. This reflects our coming to a shared position on technology and science, the blog follows a shared line and has its own identity, which seems to pay off. Readers seem to share our passions, and having had consistently healthy traffic figures since the blog started, we are sure we are having the desired impact.

We try to put all of this into practice, as we both believe that “we must be the change we wish to see in the world”.

We would like to thank the Bassetti Foundation, all of our readers and contributors and look forward to continuing our fruitful (and enjoyable) relationships with you all.

Editors Christopher Roberts and Jonathan Hankins.

Part 5, Responsible Innovation in Italy: The Bassetti Foundation

The Bassetti Foundation

The Bassetti Foundation has long been a leader in the field of Responsible Innovation. Founded in 1993, the foundations has dedicated its website, experts and funding capacities to promote the idea of Responsible Innovation. To put that into context, they were probably the first to use this type of terminology, and for many years a search for the term on the Internet led only to their website.

I have been collaborating with the foundation since 2003, so the book tells an insider story. Chapter 4 of my book Responsible Innovation, a Narrative Approach is dedicated entirely to the work and development of the foundation as it stands today.

The chapter contains an interview with President Piero Bassetti, in which he discusses a broad swathe of questions about responsibility in innovation. How can we define responsibility? How can we decide what is right and what is wrong? What is the role of politics (and politicians) in innovation? Who are innovators responsible to? How can we deal with unknown (and unknowable) risk? Just to name a few!

This chapter also introduces Bassetti’s concept of Poiesis-intensive Innovation. This concept addresses forms of innovation that are not science or investment heavy, but are born through knowledge of how to do things (skills) and are driven by goals that differ from those commonly thought of or analyzed in mainstream innovation or business studies (aiming for beauty, or being directed by certain beliefs or philosophies for example).

This concept is not easy to understand, but if we imagine an innovation process that is driven by craft approaches rather than rational investment approaches we are getting close to the idea.

These forms of innovation occur in workshops or sheds, and is not based within mass production or necessarily have that as a goal, allowing creativity to take the lead. This is a core argument for this book, because the main question asked is how similar (or different) are innovation practices in a workshop to those in a laboratory? We will come this in later chapters as I describe experience in both types of workplace.

The Bassetti chapter closes with an analysis of the minutes taken from one of the first foundation meetings. The details that emerge show how forward thinking those present were, as many of the potential problems and issues that innovation brings today were forseen 20 years ago, with questions raised about how they might be addressed.

But I don’t want to spoil the experience and give too much away, it’s all in the book.

WAVE

wave_copertina

Wave in Milan

This month Milan is hosting WAVE, an event that promotes the idea of frugal innovation in all of its different facets. I must say before beginning that the Bassetti Foundation (who employ me) are co-sponsors of the event, so I am a little partisan. It is however from any point of view an interesting project and concept.

The event includes an exhibition open to visitors and free of charge from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Piazza San Fedele, Milan until 3 July, alongside a series of lectures and other events. The full program is here. There is a huge variety of stuff to see and hear, including debate about sustainability, smart city technology, citizen science and editing the human genome.

The WAVE Project

I take the following form the WAVE website. It gives a nice idea of what the project is all about:

At a time when the entire planet is facing tremendous economic, social and environmental challenges, a multitude of initiatives from around the world prove that solutions exist for doing more with less. The common ingredient in all this creative ferment? Collective ingenuity.
Being flexible, keeping it simple, seizing opportunities, thinking differently: in an unstable world, the ingenious innovator develops a state of mind that’s agile enough to turn obstacles into opportunities.
We live on a small planet where everything is interdependent. This is not a time for divisions, but for concerted action: citizens, associations, NGOs, local authorities, and companies both large and small are implementing new ideas for a better world. Driven by the digital revolution, most of these initiatives rely on social media. Some of them fall within the commercial sphere, others do not. But all of them demonstrate new ways of innovating together, differently.
A wave of collective ingenuity is sweeping across the world. Drawing on a wide range of concrete examples, the WAVE exhibition explores the major currents on every continent: co-creation, the sharing economy, the maker movement, the inclusive economy, and the circular economy. These examples feature people from all walks of life who share a positive vision of the world of tomorrow.

So as we see, WAVE as a concept is traveling the world. It started in France, now Milan before moving on to Senegal, USA and then India. It looks like an interesting series of events to me, and next week I am off to Milan to check it out in person.