Edited by Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen and David Jacobson
Chapter 2: How to Grasp Innovativeness of Organizations: Outline of a Conceptual Tool
1 Gerd Bender INTRODUCTION Sometimes persistent errors can be fruitful in a way. Take the linear model of innovation as an example. It is something of a conceptual zombie. Though reputed to be dead for at least two decades it still inspires some innovation research and the bulk of innovation policies. At the core of this model is the understanding that there is a sequence from scientiﬁc research via experimental development of new technology to innovative, marketable products. If this was true, technological innovations in nonresearch-intensive industries – low-tech industries according to the conventional classiﬁcation (Hatzichronoglou, 1997) – would by deﬁnition be derivational phenomena. Innovators in these sectors would only use what others produce, that is to say, live on the pool of knowledge fed from – in the last instance – basic research. This is of course not true. Innovations are not necessarily based on scientiﬁc research or even on scientiﬁc knowledge; apparently most of them are non-science-based innovations. But there is nevertheless something fruitful in this false conception: it calls our attention to processes of interchange and transformations. Innovation is usually a distributed process. Some actors take up knowledge and other building blocks produced by other actors and transform both according to their own needs, aims and imaginations. The problem with the linear model is that it paints a far too simple picture of this complex entanglement of diverse players in space and time. Technological progress and innovation – taking up a picture used by Gibbons et al....
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