Towards Innovation with Care
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Lars Fuglsang
Chapter 15: Mindful Innovation
Poul Bitsch Olsen Mindful innovation is an approach to innovation that pays attention to people’s experiences in an organization rather than to formal organization or social role. Innovative organizations must deal with and try to beneﬁt from the experiences of their employees. How can they do this? The chapter addresses this question through a theoretical reﬂection on innovation and change at the micro-level. It draws on symbolist and interactionist approaches to organization and innovation. Innovation and change are understood as moments of action in an interactive process that involves action, reﬂective responses to action and experience. The chapter will illustrate some of the points through a case study of a handball coach and his team during ﬁve matches. The case illustrates some of the practical diﬃculties associated with small changes as well as sensemaking during change. INNOVATION AND INTERSUBJECTIVITY Innovation could be seen as an activity that involves tensions between existing worldviews, and a preparedness to reconsider experiences on the basis of new understandings of a situation. Innovation therefore requires a mindful, imaginative or careful approach that can deal with these experiences, rather than merely rationalized strategizing. The latter approach fails to catch the fact that an innovation’s success is a piece of ongoing, experience-based work, rather than a lucky punch. This chapter deals with an interpretation of innovation, which may be called “innovation as organizing.” Innovation is understood as being based on careful intersubjectivity and symbolic interaction among people. To observe the basic elements of...
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