Innovation and the Creative Process

Innovation and the Creative Process

Towards Innovation with Care

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Edited by Lars Fuglsang

This book explores new frameworks and methods of understanding and analysing innovation. These are set against a backdrop of ‘innovation with care’, which is seen as a phenomenon that takes place among many actors with different perspectives, ideas and cultures that must be carefully woven together in order to achieve the benefits of innovation.

Chapter 5: The Public Library Between Social Engineering and Innovation with Care

Lars Fuglsang

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, organisational innovation, innovation and technology, knowledge management, organisational innovation


Lars Fuglsang INTRODUCTION How can innovation be organized and planned in the public sector? This chapter discusses four frameworks (or modes) of innovation each of which has consequences for the organization of innovation. The four frameworks are: entrepreneurial innovation, institutional innovation, open innovation and strategic reflexive innovation. After introducing these, the chapter goes on to investigate the framework for innovation in a particular domain of innovation, namely the Danish public library system. In this case it is argued that the framework for innovation is changing from the institutional mode to open innovation. The chapter argues that open innovation requires a careful and imaginative balancing of two forces of innovation: variation and selection (see Nelson and Winter, 1977). This implies that variation and selection become the important mechanisms of organizational change rather than, for example, homogenization (as implied by DiMaggio and Powell, 1983). First, open innovation creates a need to take care of and incorporate many different ideas that work in a specific domain such as the library. Second, open innovation requires a strategic field where some opinions and ideas are selected and scaled up as being, in some senses, more relevant, effective or important than others. “Care” means the attempt to maneuver carefully and imaginatively between these two sides of innovation that otherwise can pull in different directions. The chapter argues that one relevant way in which selection can be carefully combined with variation in the case of today’s public library is in the shape...

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