InnoViz: Visualizing Stories of App Innovation

by Olga Skp

Collaborative business models, innovation environments and smart services are perceived to be the way out of the economical recession. For that reason, both individual economies and the EC have engaged many resources to identify successful models for applying innovation to a variety of industries and especially the ICT. 

Past attempts looked upon the industry key players and asked them to lead innovative projects and create innovation environments. Some argue though, that innovation cannot be found in the big corporate walled-gardens and that these efforts are ruling out the real innovators: the grassroots initiatives and communities, the bottom-up forces that strive to reinvent their working, social and tech environment, to make it a place where they want to live and work. 

Studying Innovative Practices

The App Industry is a fast growing and profitable industry in a time of global recession. Key notions of the open innovation rhetoric, such as, collaboration, knowledge sharing, co-working and co-creation are widely used practices in the App Community.

Technology makers are perceived as innovators and are a rapidly expanding and varied community that includes software engineers, designers, investors, hobbyists or indie developers. To that event, the role of software developers and App Makers, as the ones who bring innovation and posses the know how of ICT and devices, is proving to be crucial. 

Our goal is to understand the role of technology, the role of technology makers in the ecosystem and determine key dimensions of innovation. To gain that understanding we are going to collect and index data that will visualize the creativity, diversity and internationality of the mobile application cluster and will map the driving forces of the App Making Industry. 

With our findings we want to tackle the lack of empirical data on how technology and grassroots initiatives can steer innovation.

We expect that in December 2012, we will have created an inventory of data to showcase the dynamics of the Industry and examples of best practices. That kind of knowledge will be beneficial for the City, the stakeholders and the communities. 

Amsterdam is a city that aspires to grow organically and keep up with technology’s pace. So how is Amsterdam going to foster innovation and growth? We will try to answer that question by providing data and knowledge about the ways the city can support existing structures and communities and better connect with them. 

With our study we want to give the opportunity to all stakeholders, such as, policy makers, developers, marketeers, and companies to see their role and impact in the ecosystem. We also aspire to bring communities forward. By showing that innovation is coming from the bottom-up, we want to exemplify ways to support better these efforts and how to stimulate innovative environments and practices.

Work plan

We have set out 2 work packages. 

The first, will focus on data-modeling, indexing and the collection of subsets of data about the App Ecosystem. In the second phase, we will proceed to the data-analysis and visual analysis on the available data in the database. 

The first step is to create a scalable database that will be gradually completed. Statistical data about the market and App Industry will be overlaid with hard data derived from different communities of app makers and especially from the Appsterdam community. 

The next goal is to reveal stories within data. Tap into community content and what app makers are communicating. To reveal stories of app making, stories of innovation from hobbyists, engineers, developers, entrepreneurs that work individually or in small teams. 

We will gather community data from social networks and custom made surveys, market data from companies and AIM, product data from the app stores. We will also collect data about the city and city initiatives and compare those findings with other European cities and frameworks.

How are we going to present the data, How are we going to visualize innovation? We are going to use the power of data visualization tools and techniques. Our final goal it to create an open source data visualization application that will enable the user to interact with and filter the information. 

InnoViz Team

Olga Paraskevopoulou (GR): Research and concept developer 

Klaas Speller (NL): Project engineer

Craig Latta (US): Back-end developer

Vincent Warmerdam (NL): Data mining