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Edited by Laura Anna Costanzo and Robert Bradley MacKay
Chapter 18: Visions and Innovation Strategy
18 Visions and innovation strategy Jonathan Sapsed Introduction The concept of vision has appeared with increasing frequency in management theory and practice. Vision is regularly referred to in everyday popular usage, by business people, journalists, politicians, as well as scholars. Despite this familiarity it is still not clear what vision is, and how its meaning is diﬀerent from more established terms such as strategy, forecasting or planning. Moreover, the claims about the function and power of visions are not always substantiated through empirical observation. The visions attributed to organizations are not always clearly linked to competences, or to observed strategic decisions and actions. This chapter attempts to consolidate and clarify the idea of vision as it is presented in the management and innovation literatures. It also shows actual instances of visions in use in a variety of diﬀerent organizational settings. The chapter tries to show what visions are, what they are not, and how they are used. The chapter is organized as follows: the management literature on visions is reviewed in the second section; it shows how vision is distinguished from terms such as strategy, plan and forecast. The third section reviews the technology and innovation studies literature, which links visions to knowledge bases and strategic actions of organizations. The fourth section describes the method for the case studies. The case studies in sections ﬁve to eight illustrate four tactical and strategic uses of vision by ﬁrms entering the uncertain area of digital media in the 1990s. The...
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