The Institute for Experiments with Business is a long-scale research project, situated within the FoAM network. Its exploratory purpose is to collect, produce and report on experiments with business. This work emerges out of conversations between Kate Rich and FoAM Earth, and draws upon the wider FoAM network as a community of knowledge, practice, infrastructure, deals, encounter, experimentation and exchange.
The Institute's remit is to conduct experiments with an array of business practices and materials, including (but not limited to) contracts, budgets, regulation, organisational forms and the business plan.
A primary research focus for the Institute is a study of grey areas. This investigation will include observing, provoking and analysing methodological experiments for and in grey areas, within the FoAM network and along various vectors (legal, financial, spatial, constitutional, jurisdictional). Part of this work will be to distinguish between grey areas that are engaged with inadvertently or defensively, and those ventured into consciously, with curiosity, as a process of research. This approach identifies certain kinds of grey areas as more than sites of disabling risk or havens of disproportionate privilege: they can potentially be fertile spaces where different things can be tested and grow, and where new claims for cultural legitimacy might be made.
The Institute is designed as a feral research strand opportunistically entwined with Kate's PhD research at the University of the West of England (UWE), where she is developing a context, rationale and curriculum for a radically different type of business school, the Feral MBA.