Field guide.

By David Guston

Responsible Innovation

A common species of constructivist-inspired governance, first identified by the science and technology studies community in the early 2000s, but widely known in the educational innovation (computers and other ICT) community for a dozen or more years prior. Like the mallard duck, it has a globe-spanning range, but it is most common in northern and western Europe, and especially in fertile research councils with evergreen funding. Plumage varies among adult individuals geographically. Especially in Britain, RI’s behavior is greatly influenced by AREA (anticipate/reflect/engage/act, although true anticipation is often lacking, as is connection to action; see also: Anticipatory Governance). Song of the male (in Europe) is a clipped, two-note call, re-NAY, re-Nay, re-Nay, which can be sung in as many as five different keys.

Public Interest Technology

There is much less documentation of this uncommon but increasing species. It is scattered across North America and recently has been introduced in a few new European locations. Under such dispersed conditions, additional speciation might be expected to occur, but even geographically remote populations seem to network together. While overall similarities to RI exist in size and plumage, close genetic analysis makes clear that these similarities are a case of convergent evolution. Indeed, PIT seems actually to have been artificially engineered from the pre-existing Public Interest Law, which was first identified in the late 1960s on an expedition led by the Ford Foundation. Its genome seems to include bits from e-governance and tech-for-good that arose during the 2000s in Washington, DC, Cambridge, MA, and California’s Bay Area. PIT is more regularly attracted to the digital realm than RI (nesting most often in engineering and information units), but within any given subset of its range it may show greater diversity of phenotypes. The PIT call is issued just once a year from a small population in Washington, DC, and is responded to by its distributed population, leading some to consider PIT actually a colonial species.

Anticipatory Governance

First spotted in a Canadian master’s thesis in 1978 (but implied before then), anticipatory governance is believed to have descended from anticipatory democracy, identified by Toffler around 1971. Specimens were occasionally discussed but none actively examined until Barben and colleagues made a close study in 2008 in Arizona, where they identified four characteristic behavioral features: anticipation, integration, engagement, and ensemble-ization (see also RI and the AREA behavior, which emerged later and may an example of either cross-breeding or mimicry). While AG is found associated with many habitats (emerging tech, defense, urban planning, sustainability) and across many regions, it remains uncommon and, in part, unrecognized where extant. There is some dispute about whether AG may be parasitic, mutualistic, or free-living. Many observers are now focusing on the anticipation behavior, however, and attention to anticipation in a cross-species frame is now subject to a biennial international conference. The integration behavior, or more formally, “socio-technical innovation,” is similarly subject to cross-species attention. As AG does not vocalize, these behaviors displayed in an ensemble are the key to identification.