The Elgar Companion to Innovation and Knowledge Creation
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The Elgar Companion to Innovation and Knowledge Creation

Edited by Harald Bathelt, Patrick Cohendet, Sebastian Henn and Laurent Simon

This unique Companion provides a comprehensive overview and critical evaluation of existing conceptualizations and new developments in innovation research. It draws on multiple perspectives of innovation, knowledge and creativity from economics, geography, history, management, political science and sociology. The Companion brings together leading scholars to reflect upon innovation as a concept (Part I), innovation and institutions (Part II), innovation and creativity (Part III), innovation, networking and communities (Part IV), innovation in permanent spatial settings (Part V), innovation in temporary, virtual and open settings (Part VI), innovation, entrepreneurship and market making (Part VII), and the governance and management of innovation (Part VIII).
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Chapter 10: Domesticating innovation—designing revolutions

Yellowlees Douglas and Andrew Hargadon

Abstract

Contrary to common views of innovations as being profoundly disruptive, the innovations that succeed are those that are evolutionary, not revolutionary. This chapter examines the way in which design domesticates innovation by nudging users incrementally into adopting new practices. In fact, most successful innovations introduce only moderate amounts of novelty, even drawing off features of older, now-obsolete technologies to frame our understandings of new products in terms of the products we are about to abandon. Even as the 1984 Apple Macintosh desktop made inroads toward rendering our paper files and desktops obsolete, its innovative operating system invoked files, file folders, a desktop, and a trash can. Good design domesticates novelty. However, once an innovation has gained acceptance, the purpose of design shifts toward differentiating between competing versions of the same underlying offerings. The best designs are robust enough to withstand the continuing cycle of domestication and differentiation, changing as technologies advance and users’ sophistication follows.

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