Case Studies

We acknowledge the value of all contributors as equal to the value of contributors who are engineers.

― The Post-Meritocracy Manifesto

Methodology

We aim to build blockchain-based tools, but focusing in Collaborative Economy communities. Besides, we actively aim to embed commons and co-operative perspectives through our work, promoting more collaborative communities. In addition, we combine computer science with both social research and UX methodologies, which gives our prototypes depth and minimizes risk to develop software which won’t respond to community needs, and therefore not used.

We have created a highly interdisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in a broad diversity of areas, including Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology, Gender Theory, Data Science, Computer Science and Design, with advisors adding Economics, Media and Law to the mix.

This extraordinary mix of disciplines also results in a wide mix of research methods, not only using purely academic methods (e.g. quantitative, qualitative), but also using approaches of startups such as Lean Design. Lean Design involves continuous iterations to improve and identify errors as soon as possible. This is combined with Design Thinking, to co-create with communities and imagine solutions that can be implemented and have a real and significant adoption. This interdisciplinary approach maximizes the team diversity and implies multiple challenges in interpersonal communication, while also enriching the collective working methodology, reducing the distance between social and computer scientists.

For the research, we followed an inductive approach. That is, starting with examples, case studies, software prototypes and pilots, and generalizing from the practical experience to more general theories and tools.

The platform belongs to those who work it: The Amara case study

Amara is a project that sustains an open and collaborative subtitling platform. Our focus is on the use of the Amara subtitling platform as an on-demand and paid service: Amara On Demand (AOD). AOD is inspired by cooperative and commoning practices, presenting a remarkable contrast when compared with the market-based logic of other crowdsourcing platforms. In this context, we are experimenting with alternative models of value distribution.

Methods employed: semi-structured Interviews, focus groups, participant observation, documentary analysis and quantitative data analysis.

Related methodologies: lean design, design thinking, co-creation workshops, prototype & iteration, user test.

Blockchain for empowering the artistic culture: the case of Smart

Smart Coop is the largest cooperative in Europe, with more than 120.000 members in 8 different countries. It is a non-profit European organization that aims at ensuring administrative and legal coverage to freelance artist workers during periods of both activity and unemployment. Since the cultural and artistic sector suffers serious precarity and uncertainty, the cooperative aims at providing cultural workers with a network of support and financial aid. In this context, we are experimenting with a service that would allow Smart to organize and speed up their internal information management by using the open, transparent ledger.

Methods: semi-structured Interviews, focus group, participant observation, documentary analysis

Related methodologies: lean design, design thinking, co-creation workshops, prototype & iteration, user test