New Patterns Driven by Digital Innovation

Held on October 24, 2019, 3 – 5 pm

• Beth Kewell and Roser Pujadas talked about Data-as-Money and strategizing within digital ecosystems.

Beth Kewell presented the work: Can I Pay with Me? The Rise of Data-as-Money Payment Options and their Implications for Sociology 

The importance of acquiring a good level of monetary literacy has been underlined consistently within the Sociology of Money and Sociology of Finance literatures, particularly in relation to the management of household incomes, wages, debt, and savings. The links between literacy and economic well-being have also been issues of past concern among analysts of the ‘digital divide.’ 

New patterns of exchange are emerging within the economy as a deliberate challenge to the institutions and ontological precepts of money. Such challenges seem arguably destined to unsettle established patterns of digital literacy. Cryptocurrencies are primarily viewed as the main source of provocation for these changes. A little-known facet of this disruption involves the use of personal data as a substitute for money. The likely implications of ‘me payments’ were extemporised in and by a 2017 art exhibition that provided visitors with the option to pay for souvenirs and artworks using their personal data. 

The paper explores the challenge this development raises for Sociologists, with a view to specifically identifying its implications for the ontology of money. The paper subsequently argues that if extended beyond the simulation stage, the ‘me-payment’ phenomena will open-up a fresh ‘digital literacy divide’ between consumers who acquire the skills to use their personal data as a form of payment and those who may be potentially disadvantaged by this change in the currency and mediation of transactions. 

Roser Pujadas presented the work: Strategizing within digital ecosystems: Achieving situational awareness through mapping

Digital innovation has resulted in a progressive dis-integration of monolithic IT systems and increased permeability of organisational boundaries, with system components spread across digital ecosystems. In this context, strategic decisions regarding selection, integration, and decommissioning of IT resources for value creation can become extremely complex. In this paper we present the little-explored construct of situational awareness, which we argue is of growing relevance for strategic decision-making in the context of distributed service ecosystems. We investigate the potential utility of this construct via a mapping artefact, the Wardley Map, which is said to enhance situational awareness within, and across, value chains, and we offer an empirical study of its use for strategizing. The map appears to enable practitioners to make sense of the open-ended digital ecosystem by developing an awareness of their own situated positioning vis-a-vis the positioning of other components, enabling better-informed decision-making. We then exemplify how mapping is done in practice, and make suggestions for further research into both the construct and the mapping device.

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