Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are shaping our society. They have accelerated the pace of change and evolution to levels that we could have never imagined. And the change is accelerating as new technologies become available and widespread.

We are quickly evolving from industrial capitalism to a knowledge society in which information and knowledge are much more valuable than material goods. In the digital world, information can be easily replicated and transmitted across the globe. As a result, the digital economy is an economy of abundance.

The new situation calls for new organizational models. The way we learned, worked and related to each other in the 20th century might not be the most effective today. We need more effective approaches to take full advantage of ICT technologies that change from one day to the next.

A necessary exercise is to try to identify which are the initiatives that are thriving in the information society. Hacklabs seem to be one of the innovation powerhouses of the information society. The hacker community is driven by moral values known as hacker ethic:

  • Sharing
  • Openness
  • Decentralization
  • Free access to computers
  • World improvement

Other keywords include:

  • Hands-on, learn-by-doing
  • Peer-to-peer production and learning
  • Meritocracy
  • Bottom-up

The relaxed, interdisciplinary and intellectually challenging atmosphere of the hacklabs have proven to be tremendously effective for learning. Universities - which are institutions devoted to the creation, management and transfer of knowledge - can learn from hacklabs to make education and innovation more effective and enjoyable. But adapting to new times is not always easy for everyone. Opening a hacklab at a university is clearly a challenge.

A possible way to start could be to invite related initiatives to offer workshops in the new hacklab at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). Some ideas that come to my mind are: