Youth-Driven Indie Innovation

A couple of weeks ago we launched the multimedia website for Doing Innovation, a collaborative project I have been working with, that intends to understand and document how young people are creating pathways to opportunity and navigating a rapid changing economy. Through several ethnographic case studies from the city of Austin we explore how young creative workers are leveraging social, cultural, physical, and technological assets and building alternative innovation ecosystems that thrive on the edge of a high tech economy. We followed different creative workers from sectors such as urban farming, social design, music, and video games; observed and participated in the spaces they make; and interviewed them. In the website we are presenting what we learned from our fieldwork and analysis, using texts, photographs, and short documentary style videos.

The two case studies I have been working on for Doing Innovation are the Austin Mic Exchange (AMX) hip hop community, and the Juegos Rancheros indie game collective. Although I have shared some of my preliminary findings and analysis in a couple of entries here and there in this blog, I would like to point out some of the new content that has emerged from this work.

A video of AMX open mic as a learning lab, where we can see the different practices developed at the space of the weekly open mic and hear some of the participants talk about what they do:

A video of Adam Saltsman, one of the members of Juegos Rancheros, based on an interview I helped to conduct last year, in where he narrates his process of becoming an indie game designer:

Finally, I would like to share a link to a short essay about the pop-up video arcades that Juegos Rancheros has been making. In this piece I discuss the indie video arcade’s connections with a longer tradition of arcades as public spaces for play and showcasing media technologies, as well as its innovation in terms of gender diversification and gift exchange practices.

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