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Making nothing or something: corporate Fab Labs seen through their objects as they cross organizational boundaries

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  • Matthew Fuller

    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Albert David

    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

As large firms pursue their quest to support NPD and fuzzy front-end activities within their organizations, some have recently opted to create "corporate Fab Labs". These spaces, which regroup an innovation-oriented community and provide any employee with a physical setting and open access to digital fabrication tools are also the birthplace of objects. A lingering and recurring question among practitioners and decision makers is: what do these objects represent? In terms of innovation, are they something, or nothing?This paper is an initial response to these reactions and develops a theoretical and empirical study of objects made in corporate Fab Labs. Building upon empirical data collected from a series of photos, we contribute a rudimentary tool for identifying the maturity of corporate Fab Labs as their objects cross three organizational knowledge boundaries: syntax, semantic, and pragmatic.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Fuller & Albert David, 2017. "Making nothing or something: corporate Fab Labs seen through their objects as they cross organizational boundaries," Post-Print hal-01629696, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01629696
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01629696
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Organisational boundaries; corporate Fab Labs; open innovation;
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