Coordinator 's Blog

What is a Research Platform?

Coordinator June 08, 2010

Anja Kanngieser, Brett Neilson, Ned Rossiter


For a brief moment in 2007 it seemed that everything was a platform. Seemingly a ubiquitous moniker in the world of tech marketing, the term platform became a substitute for the word product. The idea was to add an air of strategy and Web 2.0 savvy to the tireless rollout of software solutions and business objects that marked this particular moment in internet history. Indeed, at the first Web 2.0 conference in October 2004, Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle declared that one of the preliminary principles defining Web 2.0 was ‘The web as a platform’. Technically a platform is something you build upon. But it can also describe a declaration of principles (e.g. by a political candidate) or a piece of infrastructure dedicated to public discussion. In the computing world its most basic meaning is a piece of equipment or computer architecture that runs a particular operating system. But as a term of business jargon, its sense has run beyond this to describe what one technological consulting company calls the creation of ‘an environment of promiscuous integration as a way to accelerate operations, get closer to customers and partners, unlock innovation, and discover efficiencies’.

Read more

Shanghai platform statement

Coordinator June 03, 2010

Over the past several years, efforts to integrate invention, innovation and creativity into the core of economic production have been gaining momentum in China. These measures have been pushed by a combination of state and commercial capitalism, as well as growing social and cultural acceptance of entrepreneurial ventures. Shanghai in particular has taken up an ambitious program, with the intention to take a leading role in developing the creative and knowledge sectors within China as a means by which to ‘upgrade’ its economic structure. The evolution of creative, cultural and knowledge sectors accompanies, and has been accompanied by, accelerated urban development, new trends in higher education, increased rural to metropolitan migration, an influx of foreign ‘experts’ and new circuits of international trade. An emphasis on immaterial production has emerged within this configuration of China’s labour landscape. This is not to say that manufacturing has been superseded. Rather, new combinations of manufacturing and immaterial labour are forming and becoming part of cross-border constellations involving economic infrastructures built on the logistical organisation and management of human mobility, waste and service sectors, transport and urban regeneration.

Read more