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Networked Organizational Innovation: Working in the Open


Keywords: Organizational Learning and Innovation, Organizational Collaboration, Organizational Networks,  Innovation Networks,  Open Source Culture,  Research-Practice Partnerships,  Collaborative Knowledge Building.


This line of research focused on understanding and supporting educator-led innovation through development of cross-organizational networks. Centered on work conducted within a research-practice partnership between Hive Research Lab and the Hive NYC Learning Network, the focal practice of “Working in the Open” emerged through a collaborative knowledge building that involved dozens of youth serving organizations dedicated to collaboration and experimentation around digital learning. 


Working Open practices focus on values of transparency, collaboration and sharing within communities of experimentation, and include:


(1) public storytelling and context setting

(2) enabling community contribution

(3) rapid prototyping “in the wild”

(4) public reflection and documentation

(5) creating remixable work products


With roots in the Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) culture, the research highlighted how they traveled to and intersected with the work culture of of educational organizations, both affording new opportunities but also bringing new tensions. 


More broadly, this research aimed to understand the ways that designed innovation networks operate, including understanding partnership dynamics within networks and ways that networks shape and are shaped by processes of problem-identification of organizations that constitute them.



  • Dixie Ching, New York University

  • Kylie Peppler, UC-Irvine

  • Chris Hoadley, New York University


  • Leah Gilliam, Mozilla Foundation

  • Julia Valera, Mozilla Foundation

  • Chris Lawrence, Mozilla Foundation 


  • Hive Digital Media Fund at the New York Community Trust

  • The MacArthur Foundation


  • Santo, R. (in press). Seeking Synergy: Strategic Partnership Development as Organizational Practice in Informal Education Organizations. In M. Semmel (Ed.) The Partnership Imperative: Successful Models and Strategies for Museums. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

  • Santo, R. (2018). Open Source Culture as Inspiration for Design of Educator Learning Networks. In Yoon, S.A., & Baker-Doyle, K. (Eds.), Networked by design: Interventions for teachers to develop social capital. New York, NY: Routledge.

  • Santo, R. (2017). Working Open in the Hive: How Informal Education Organizations Learn, Collaborate, and Innovate in Networks (Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University).

  • Santo, R., Ching, D., Hoadley, C. M., & Peppler, K. A. (2016). Working in the Open: Lessons from Open Source on Building Innovation Networks in Education. On the Horizon, 24 (3). pp.280-295. 

  • Santo, R., Peppler, K., Ching, D., Hoadley, C. (2015). “Maybe a Maker Space? Organizational Learning about Maker Education within a Regional Out-of-School Network.” Proceedings of FabLearn: Conference on Creativity and Fabrication in Education, Stanford, CA. 

  • Santo, R., Ching, D., Peppler, K., Hoadley, C. (2014). What does it mean to “Work Open” in Hive NYC? A Vision for Collective Organizational Learning. New York, NY: Hive Research Lab.

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