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Misfires and Market Innovation: Toward a Collaborative Turn in Organising Markets

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MISFIRES (Misfires and Market Innovation: Toward a Collaborative Turn in Organising Markets)

Reporting period: 2020-02-01 to 2021-07-31

MISFIRES’ aim is to establish what makes markets ‘better’ from the perspective of those let down or marginalised by them, and what actions these actors can take to open up the markets in question to their concerns. MISFIRES asks how actors can engage with a market’s failures to challenge its organisation and make it more collaborative, more open to civic values and to social or political concerns. It takes healthcare markets as prototypical examples of ‘concerned markets’, characterised by diverse interests of multiple actors, significant social and political stakes, and a long tradition of collective action. To understand market-based activism in these markets we need new conceptual frameworks that explain how actors try to reconfigure or innovate them from the inside to make these markets ‘better’, and we need empirical insights that map how collaborative action in such markets translates into market change. Only then can we understand how researchers and policy makers may support these processes.
MISFIRES relies on science and technology studies, pragmatic sociology and critical market studies to shift thinking around market organisation and innovation from failure and design to collaboration and experimentation. Healthcare markets offer exemplary sites for this investigation for a number of reasons. The healthcare domain has witnessed strong and long-standing patient movements and activism. Notions of justice and public good in this area are of central societal importance. Severe criticism has been made of the effects of the global Intellectual Property (IP) regime in this area, raising the study of healthcare markets to an economic and political significance beyond any single case. Research has also pointed to the difficulties of market-based experiments

The project follows an ethnographic and participatory inquiry, including digital methods of collaboration and research, to explore how a market’s failures can lead us to markets that are more attentive to and accommodating of the concerns they create.
Empirical work is organized through a multiple case study approach, with three exemplary contested markets in healthcare (Antiretroviral drugs as HIV prophylaxis, Hepatitis C pricing, and the use of DNA data) and three emergent cases (Type 1 Diabetes hacking; health data activism; and Covid19 solidarity) to investigate the activities concerned actors undertake, and the instruments and devices they experiment with, to re-organise these markets.
All of the research work has been progressing well. Research projects have been carefully designed, given ethical approval and empirical research has commenced. Dissemination has started; thus far, five peer-reviewed articles, numerous accepted conference presentations and several poster presentations have been delivered. An edited book volume centering on the project's goals will be published by the highly prestigious Oxford University Press in Sept 2021.

There were minor changes to the research team in terms of posts that were filled and the timeframe for hiring, that do not adversely affect the overall project or the deliverables, and this was due to the employment market and the needs of the research project.

A clear governance structure and reporting processes were quickly implemented at the start of the project and are being maintained throughout this period. Shared repositories that align with the GDPR rules have been utilised for dissemination and clear communication structures are in place.

A brand for the project was created with a strong online presence through social media and a website. Reporting templates and marketing collateral have been designed and shared across the the project team.

Articles have been shared through OpenAIRE and will continue to be so. All deliverables due for this period have been met.
At its conceptual core, MISFIRES explores the notion of collective good in relation to an area of fundamental societal importance: healthcare. Drawing on interdisciplinary insights, MISFIRES interrogates how healthcare markets draw on, distribute, conjecture and diffract different values and conceptions of the collective good all while allowing for the accumulation of private gain through commoditized market exchanges. In particular, MISFIRES' focus on contestations that relate to these exchange practices and its tracing of their effects expand the state of the art in social movement literature, organization studies and critical market studies.

From an empirical perspecctive, one fundamental strand of this research will be the use of participatory methods of inquiry to include patient advocacy groups and other affected publics as key stakeholders in this project. This is research by and with affected publics rather than ‘on’ them, and it explore new terrain in how innovative research methods can be used in the development of ‘better’ healthcare markets. The aim of this participatory inquiry is to produce, in collaboration with a wide range of market activists and concerned publics, an analysis of the economic, social or moral problems posed by the current market organisation, and subsequently propose and test ways in which these markets could be opened up to alternative configurations. Questions asked include (how) could collaborative tools be used in advancing public reflections on markets? How can researchers help concerned publics move from reflecting to redevising the market, from deliberation to action? What is the role of the participant researcher, academic activist or policy maker in bringing these forums to life or in helping concerned publics get their concerns included in existing forums? This questioning will also include exploring digital tools both as research tools and as tools of participating in organising healthcare markets.
Overview of project
MISFIRES - project framework
Research Project Team - June 2019