Embodying futures – prototyping in urban sites of collaborative innovation In the contemporary discourse of the knowledge economy, few expressions appear more frequently than the tropes of “collaboration” and “innovation;” lately also readily in communion, as in “collaborative innovation.” While asking about the value and status of social relations within innovation, established representations yet still tend to assume “collaboration” as a non-specific proxy for a joint endeavor of individual subjects and “innovation” as the result of generally apposite acts of individual genius. Public and academic discourses rarely attend to the particular locations, technologies, socialities and materialities of collaborative innovation. Project Manager: Dr. Björn Müller Björn Müller's post-doctorate research on “Embodying futures – prototyping in urban sites of collaborative innovation” is focusing on particular locations, technologies, socialities and materialities of collaborative innovation. The empirical Focus is on urban sites of collaborative innovation (USCI) – especially so-called “hacker and makerspaces”,”living labs” and “entrepreneurial coworking” – which are starting to emerge and play an important role within a decidedly urban knowledge economy. Contemporary conceptualizations both in the social sciences and the humanities suggest new directions for research. More specifically, the project proposed here contributes to critical innovation studies (CIS) as an emerging research field within organization and management studies. CIS approaches future-making as an assemblage of performative material practices enacted within distinctive sociocultural sites and populated by a collective of human and non-human actants that together form object-centered socialities. Taking inspiration with science and technology studies (STS), CIS is distinguishing the locality of collaborative innovation once as a specific socio-material place and once in regards to its sociohistorical and political situatedness. Understanding collaborative innovation as a site-specific practice, its analysis is in this project developed through working with and on the notion of prototyping. As performative exploratory technology, prototypes play a key role in understanding collaborative innovation as a socio-material, affective and site-specific practice. Set against the idea of a “practical ontology,” practices of prototyping are posited as acts and events of world- making. As things-in-motion, prototypes have a “social life” and at the same time are central artifacts in the object-centered sociality of collaborative innovation. Prototypes are heterotemporal socio-material devices for embodying and reifying possible futures in the present and durably aligning various interests. The project inquires into collaborative innovation by an analytical comparison of three different USCI that are explicitly based on prototyping: 1) a user-centered, and open-innovation based “hacker- and makerspace” in Berlin or Zürich; 2) a Berlin-based “living lab”, a creative social space for user-centered designing and experiencing one’s own future; and optionally, depending on further funding, 3) the entrepreneurial collaboration within the co-working space of Impact Hub Zürich. Through examining and comparing three differently located sites of social, technological and political future- making, the post-doctoral project seeks to explore a neglected performative interlinkage of collaboration and innovation; that is, the affective co-constitution of future-making and new socio-political orderings. Collaborative innovation is prototyping not only certain products and services, but is also prototyping the reality of a site-specific collaboration as such, including specific socialities and subject positions. The technologically, spatially and materially mediated sociality of prototyping is central part of the ecology of inventive collaboration; that is, it is both object of and resource for (en)action in these sites. The envisioned comparative study then seeks to explore these interlinkages across different site-specific practices to be able to articulate the politics of collaborative world-making within contemporary urban knowledge economies.