PRIMER (en)‎ > ‎What is PRIMER?‎ > ‎    Versión española 1. Enfoque teórico‐metodológico (IDS)

Theoretic and Methodological Approach (ISI)

Theoretical Dimension (ISI approach)

The crossroad of the hereby convened theoretic & methodological approaches -of integrative purport- offers a structuring framework that makes possible the systematic integration of knowledge and subjects. These integrative approaches can be grouped into three axis: 
  1. Systems Science (SS), understood in a broad sense which includes, among others, complexity science, cybernetics and design science. It faces reality in its relational, functional and evolutionary aspects. 
  2. Social Innovation (SI) which focuses its methodology on an open and creative incorporation of knowledge and agents to the solution of problems and social needs; 
  3. Information Studies (IS), understood in a strong interdisciplinary sense, as the study of information in all its manifestations, be it of physical, biological, cognitive, social or technical nature, and focus in the analysis, manipulation and management of informational phenomena. We consider within this axis: general an specific information theories, network theory, organisation and management of information and knowledge, information systems design, and data science.
The adjacent figure illustrates the functional link between the 3 pillars of the ISI approach. It shows the functional relations between the 3 axis, whose binary combinations can be expressed in terms of three thinking modes: open systems (SS+SI), network thinking (IS+SI) and applied systems thinking (SI+SS). From the interplay between the axis stem three methodological components: 
  1. Formal System as a means to express the problems dealt within SI into  systemic approaches, 
  2. Model and Simulation as a means to articulate the cooperation between the systemic and information approaches, 
  3. Digital and cooperative methods and skills as means to articulate the cooperation of distributed agents involved in social innovation into an effective cooperation.
Practical dimension

Another fundamental aspect of the PRIMER methodological approach is the link to both, research and innovation, understanding that challenging open problems requires a participatory and direct contact with research. This turns the learning subjects in knowledge actors facing the process of both, acquisition and creation of knowledge in a holistic, participatory, critical, and responsible way (to the extent that the addressed research projects highlight the social relevance as well as the engagement with the community).

The specific deployment of this practical side is structured through research and innovation LABS devoted to specific issues of social relevance and complex nature. The labs are conceived as hubs were a number of focused interdisciplinary projects are being developed using the ISI approach. As an example, the biciLAB, supported by several partners, carries out integrative projects oriented to the development of sustainable mobility and urban life quality using the information collected from bike sharing systems.

In order to promote creativity, there is a commitment to use art, usually through collective creations which are shown in public in connection to open debates. This element is indeed motivated from the three angles of the ISI approach: for the systems science, in terms of the systematic aspects of art in the relationship between the parts and the whole as well as in terms of creation of the 'artificial' (historically also through the relevance of aesthetic reflection in the systemic philosophy and the contemporaneous linkage to some artistic movements such as conceptual art). For the open social innovation, through its fostering of creativity and experimentation in expressive techniques. For Science of Information the aesthetic moment is understood as the process of generating and reproducing beautiful forms.

Technical dimension

A third fundamental aspect is the use of information technology (IT) in its capacity to structure new processes of learning, innovation, design and analysis-of-reality. This relevance is present not only in science of information, but also in the other axis of the ISI approach: from the systemic point of view, information is an essential component of system dynamics and its adaptation to the environment, thus IT represents a fundamental modification of social systems dynamics. For open innovation, IT offers innovative possibilities to bring about the meeting of social needs and techno-social capabilities, which in turn provide solutions to the faced problems.

In this terrain, the use of interdisciplinary glossaries is remarkable. They are intended to ease the disciplinary understanding as well as the conceptual building stemmed from the intersection of different disciplines. Interdisciplinary glossaries are built up collectively and are articulated in a system of electronic publications embracing from contributions carried out in learning processes to the elaboration of scientific or technical publications of impact. They offer in addition the possibility to use it as a proxy of the knowledge integration achieved for its assessment in terms of 2 dimensions: (i) the diversity of the integrated disciplines, in terms of a normalised Shannon Diversity Index; (ii) the effective integration of the knowledge in terms of the connectedness of the semantic and agent networks.

To facilitate the effective convergence of tools that makes the development of hybrid ecologies of learning and interdisciplinary research easier, PRIMER pays special attention to the development of an e‐infrastructure that integrates components of e‐education, e‐science and e‐participation with extra attention to multilingualism and inclusion. This is intended to jump over the spatial and temporal limitations of education and practise characteristic of face-to-face environments, thus enabling fertile knowledge alliances.