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 9: Innovation in the practice perspective

Deborah Dougherty


While generating streams of new products and services is central to the ongoing viability of many organizations, organizations continue to struggle to become innovative. One reason for the lack of organizational innovativeness is that conventional managerial approaches do not properly incorporate the actual work of innovation processes. The practice perspective explains both how to include the actual work process in innovation and how to organize innovation across the firm. In the practice perspective, knowledge is an ongoing process that is embedded in what people do at work. When work is understood as practice, jobs embody the means and ends of work, practical wisdom, and rich, socially embedded know-how. This chapter first describes the work roles, learning processes, and basic nature of innovation work, and adds the challenges of complex innovation. Then it explains how conventional managing prohibits or diverts the actual work of innovation. How the practice perspective enables people to carry out the process of innovation is detailed next. The practice perspective further identifies fundamental organizing principles for differentiating, integrating, and controlling the work of innovation across all the departments and workers in the firm.

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