Generative Interoperability: Building Online Public and Civic Spaces


Commons Network and Open Future published a new research report about interoperability, in which we demonstrate why we need generative interoperability to build public and civic digital spaces.

– – Download the executive summary of the report here – –

Generative Interoperability: Building Public and Civic Spaces Online is a collaborative effort between Commons Network and Open Future, developed with the generous support of Nesta and the Next Generation Internet programme of the EU. The report builds on the earlier work on a Shared Digital Europe, a new frame for digital policymaking in the EU towards a more equitable and democratic digital environment, beyond market logic.

For Generative Interoperability, we investigated what the role of interoperability can be in a transformation of the digital environment towards more public-civic spaces. Our research led us to find a new conceptualization of the term interoperability: generative interoperability as a positive norm that is the foundation for an open online ecosystem. This norm is part of a larger approach to building more democratic digital spaces.

Interoperability is one of the original design principles underpinning the internet, allowing the internet to grow to its current size. But what kind of interoperability would serve as a solution to the problems of today’s internet? Discussions around interoperability often focus on what we call ‘competitive interoperability’. It’s necessary that we shift our perspective, from a single platform to an ecosystem view. Public policies should actively co-create other ecosystems and the new economy.

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The need to build public and civic digital spaces through generative interoperability.