It was fantastic to see Ayesha Khanna, my PhD student, successfully defend her PhD today. Her work focuses on the temporal nature of information infrastructures within a SmartCity initiative in Berlin identifying the importance of temporal rhythm.
The research will be of interest to practitioners involved in building smart cities, strategic niches for innovation, and for those involved in large digital infrastructure development work. She faced an excellent viva with Dr Edgar Whitley and Professor Margunn Aanestad examining.
PhD Thesis Abstract
This thesis investigates the importance of temporal rhythms in the study of information infrastructures (IIs), responding to the call to address an II’s “biography” by focusing on its evolution over time. It enriches understanding of how socially constructed rhythms, a temporal structure under-examined in the II literature, influence II cultivation. A strategic niche project to develop an e-mobility II in Berlin is used as the case study and reveals the influence of rhythm in disciplining (constraining) and modeling (motivating) II cultivation. It demonstrates how the intermediary mediates these influences through the interventions of harmonising, riffing and composing. Based on these interventions, the study develops the concept of facilitated II cultivation, which adds to the literature exploring the tension between planned and emergent infrastructure work. In doing so, the study presents a framework for combining short-term implementation concerns (strategic interventions by the intermediary) with long-term path dependency and evolutionary concerns (influences of past and future temporal rhythms) for IIs.
When her minor corrections are complete I will post a link to the final version of the thesis.
I’m pleased that my paper with Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden and Mark Thompson has been published in Government Information Quarterly today! The paper draws together our collective work on platforms and government IT to develop an assessment framework for GaaP (Government as a platform). We then evaluate recent UK government’s digital projects using the framework.
“Appraising the impact and role of platform models and Government as a Platform (GaaP) in UK Government public service reform: Towards a Platform Assessment Framework (PAF)”
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson, Will Venters
The concept of “Government as a Platform” (GaaP) (O’Reilly, 2009) is coined frequently, but interpreted inconsistently: views of GaaP as being solely about technology and the building of technical components ignore GaaP’s radical and disruptive embrace of a new economic and organisational model with the potential to improve the way Government operates – helping resolve the binary political debate about centralised versus localised models of public service delivery. We offer a structured approach to the application of the platforms that underpin GaaP, encompassing not only their technical architecture, but also the other essential aspects of market dynamics and organisational form. Based on a review of information systems platforms literature, we develop a Platform Appraisal Framework (PAF) incorporating the various dimensions that characterise business models based on digital platforms. We propose this PAF as a general contribution to the strategy and audit of platform initiatives and more specifically as an assessment framework to provide consistency of thinking in GaaP initiatives. We demonstrate the utility of our PAF by applying it to UK Government platform initiatives over two distinct periods, 1999–2010 and 2010 to the present day, drawing practical conclusions concerning implementation of platforms within the unique and complex environment of the public sector.