Mapping The Digital Economy

mapping DEIt is hard to find any human activity these days that does not draw upon aspects of digital technology in some way. The digital economy is made up of the production of this digital technology and its consumption or use. However, what does this production and use actually look like? How does the digital economy actually get brought about through specific human practices in specific situations? What makes these practices tick? And, if we understood these practices properly, what might that tell us for the further development of digital technology? After all, experience tells us that technology design is always more effective when it is grounded in an appreciation of what people actually do in real situations of use.

However, despite there being widespread recognition of this need to situate technology design against actual practice, efforts to investigate people’s use of and production of digital technology have so far been piecemeal and subject to the constraints of specific topics in specific projects. In the Mapping the Digital Economy project, highly experienced researchers who are used to studying human practices in a design context will, for the first time, be setting about systematically mapping these practices across numerous different domains in an effort to chart how people bring about the digital economy as a whole. The research will involve numerous focused observational studies of human action in a wide variety of different settings, wherever and whenever digital technology is being conceived of and brought to bear. The findings of this research will then be used to underpin further innovation within both Horizon and its partners, meshing together rigorous understandings of the human elements of the digital economy and the production of future digital technology.

For further information please contact Dr Peter Tolmie