vendredi 2 mai 2014

Innovation Regime.

Professor Bourbaki, IMG_0510, 2013.

Markets as Techno-economic Networks of Interactive/Strategic (Economizing) Agents. The new innovation regime outlined earlier is attended by a change in the forms of organization of economic activity. This change consists of two contradictory trends: the creation of collectives in which distributed actions are deployed, and the strengthening of individual agencies considered to be sources of the action.

First, the new innovation regime accentuates the collective dimension of the innovation process. Demands for singularization, assemblage, socialization, reactivity and adaptation imply the participation of countless groups of diversified and heterogeneous actors. The most noteworthy are researchers who work in public or semi-public laboratories, consumers or users – actors as individuals or as organized groups – all the professionals of commercialization of products, subcontracting firms or allies, government authorities that regulate, and civil society.

The notion of an innovation network aptly describes this form of market organization. It is a question of saying, not that any market can be analysed as a network, as in the new economic sociology, but rather that markets are explicitly organized in the form of networks which allow the coordination of a large number of heterogeneous actors who define one another through the circulation of intermediaries. To denote this type of organization I have proposed the term techno-economic networks (Callon, 1992). I will therefore refer to it as “Markets as TEN” (or, interchangeably, markets as networks of innovation).

Markets as TEN have often been described: plunging into the academic world, linking up firms to one another, mobilizing a host of professions that commercialize innovations, relying on government administrations or public agencies and, finally, enrolling consumers or customers to whom these innovations are proposed and who readily become attached to them (DeBresson and Amesse, 1991; Powell et al., 1996). These networks are dynamic; they can be reconfigured, depending on what alliances are mobilized, what innovations are designed and which customers are to be captured. When consumers hesitate between two cars, two fruit juices or two package holidays proposed by tour operators, they see only the offer being made to them. But that offer is simply the extremity of a deep, extensive and diversified network that has been mobilized for that particular offer, which differs from others. If they turn the page of the catalogue or prefer Nissan to Toyota, they are trading off one network against another. The collective process of designing innovations, organizing production and soliciting customers increasingly involves competition between networks with evolving configurations.

The second characteristic of the innovation regime which eventually prevails and favours forms of collective (interactive) organizations, is the fact that this regime also, simultaneously and in a contradictory way, favours the appearance and dissemination of new forms of economic agency that accentuate the influence of individualism in economic life.

To describe this evolution of economic agencies, it is convenient to distinguish, in a very sketchy provisional way, between successive versions of economizing agents – or, if one prefers, of Homo economicus: the first version, or version 1.0, corresponds to the Taylorist world of production and consumption already mentioned; the second, version 2.0, to an interactive world in which the network and the project become dominant. The Taylorist version of economizing agents is well known. It denotes individual agents whose behavioural norms are set by others (heteronomy), in a world where strict discipline is imposed, and actions and interactions are planned. This model applies equally to the world of production and to that of consumption. With the interactive model, clearly described by Andrew Barry, Homo economicus opens up and becomes autonomous (Barry, 2001). Whether he is a producer or a consumer, he is prompted to develop projects, to take initiatives, to interact with his environment in order to reorient his actions, and to play strategic games. Finally, he is accountable for what he does. Both cases concern the same anthropological model focused on an individual who calculates his interests and optimizes his behaviours and choices. But from one model to the next the competencies have changed; some would say they have been enhanced. Homo economicus 2.0 is caught up in a logic of constant innovation; he is summoned to innovate. Boltanski and Chiapello (2006) have suggested that the notion of a project was at the heart of this new economic configuration: it links the collective dimension of innovation (the project group) to its individual dimension (Homo economicus 2.0). This growing importance of the interactive diagram applies as much to consumption (Von Hippel, 2004) as it does to production. Techno-economic networks are networks of interactive autonomous innovative agencies.

This new form of market organization is leading to more and more overflowings and to a stronger framing process. This tendency is accentuated by changes in the content of the technosciences, which we will examine for each of the sources of matters of concern. 

M. Callon, “An Essay on the Growing Contribution of Economic Markets to the Proliferation of the Social,” Theory Cult. Soc., vol. 24, no. 7–8, pp. 139–163, Dec. 2007.

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