Elgar original reference
Edited by Tyrone S. Pitsis, Ace Simpson and Erlend Dehlin
Introduction: an entrée to organizational and managerial innovation
The Oxford definitions of innovate and innovation present innovation as altering the nature or state of something that already exists. Hidden in the definition but often missed in innovation work are the political, power-relational complexities inherent in what is seemingly a benign word in the innovation process: specifically the word ‘to make’. Making innovation is never free of its social context, its resistors, enablers, recalcitrants, champions and the like. Indeed, innovation can be thought of as the very stuff of social relations, as in the case of Hannah Arendt’s (1958) idea of innovation being integral to democracy and vice versa. Wherever there is an absence of democracy, Arendt argued, there is also the decline of innovation. Without wishing to sound too clichéd, innovation is the cornerstone of human progress and of a free and democratic world. Unlike what is presented in a large body of the mainstream economic literature on innovation (see Swann, 2009), innovation is as much about process and practice innovation, as it is about the innovation of technology or product. While the term innovation is often touted as an underlying value within society and as a core aim in the rhetoric of many organizations, the reality is that innovation is a slippery concept.