Disruptive Media is a term we have adapted from business where a disruptive media technology is one ‘that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network’.[i] An example is the mobile phone – which, with their built in cameras, disrupted both the compact analogue and digital camera (leading Kodak, which at one time had 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in the US, to recently file for bankruptcy).
Typically, disruptive technologies ‘enable new markets to emerge’. Without doubt, organisations ‘entering these markets early have strong first-mover advantages over later entrants’. The problem is, as these organisations ‘succeed and grow larger, it becomes progressively difficult for them to enter the even newer small markets destined to become the large ones in the future.[ii] So:
When Western Union infamously declined to purchase Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone patents for $100,000, their highest-profit market was long-distance telegraphy. Telephones were only useful for very local calls. Short-distance telegraphy barely existed as a market segment, which explains Western Union’s decision.[iii]
The Centre for Disruptive Media is looking to meet the challenge of such digital technologies:
1) by studying and researching disruptive digital technologies.
And these indeed do include those associated with telephones, mobiles and smart phones. See our Media Apps for example.
2) by experimenting with the development and use of disruptive digital media, including open source, open access, open data and open education resources, augmented reality, mobile and geolocative media.
Our Open Media strand, for example, includes The Living Books About Life project. This is a series of twenty one curated, open access books about life – with life understood both philosophically and biologically – which provides a bridge between the humanities and the sciences. However, they are not just available open access, but open editing and free/libre content, too. So these ‘living books about life’ are not just freely available for anyone to read: they are themselves ‘living’ in the sense they’re open on a read/write basis for users to help compose, edit, annotate, translate and remix.
3) But the Centre is also going beyond current definitions of disruptive technologies, in that we are interested, not just in helping to create new markets by doing things the market does not expect, we are also engaged in disrupting and displacing the existing market by creating and exploring new economic models and new economies too.
At one end of the spectrum this involves the Centre for Disruptive Media in experiments with micro-payments, freemium models, and the general shift in digital culture from monetizing content to monetizing experiences. At the other end of the spectrum it involves the Centre in a range of activities concerned with online attention economies, gift economies, creative media activism, radical or guerrilla open access and so-called internet piracy. Witness our Media Department’s experiments with Open Media classes such as PicBod and Creative Activism, which include apps, developed in collaboration with the Serious Games Institute, that integrates tweets, photographs and podcasts, and allows members of the public to participate in the Department’s courses in ‘real time’ or at their own convenience.
One of the main markets the Centre is going to be involved in disrupting and displacing with its experiments into new economies and new economic models, however, is our own ‘business’: namely, that of Higher Education and the idea of the university as it currently exists.
Open Media is the term we use to capture a series of interconnected principles that inform the work of the Media Department. It constitutes a distinctive, inclusive and strong academic direction for the Department of Media, together with a positive professional and ethical ethos.
Open Media refers to:
- Positive and innovative engagements with new digital media technologies, culture and relationships – these are ‘open’ in the sense they adopt a collaborative ethos and make use of ‘freemium’, ‘prosumption’ and others models of media and cultural practice associated with digital culture
- Sustainable Professional Practice – building independent (staff and student) professional profiles through newly emerging media practices and relationships; engaging from the outset with new communities of scholarship and practice
- Engagement – the active participation of staff and students in live and transformative projects and with diverse communities of interest, be they professional, academic, cultural, or social. These activities ‘open’ the university, by linking the delivery of content in traditional formats with projects that have a positive impact on the lives of those both inside and outside of its walls
- Globally Visible Media and Communication – using emerging media practices and networks to multiply and leverage the scope, scale and impact of our (staff and student) work; engaging in work that is simultaneously local and global in scope and ensuring that this good work is accessible and visible at the same level
- Open Pedagogies – teaching and learning that is collaborative, media-enabled and expanded . In other words, as an approach, Open Media begins by conceiving of the Department as our own community of learning; it makes use of innovative and collaborative learning styles, as well as contributions from, and dialogues with, leading scholars and professionals across the globe; evaluates and uses libre material and crowd-sourced knowledge; and encourages the strategic and reflective use of new technologies to develop extended communities of learning