Emergent Innovation - Towards a Complexity Theory of Innovation Research and Management

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Booth 47
Oral Presentation
Erik LINDHULT , Department of Innovation Management, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna, Sweden
James HAZY , Adelphi University
During the last decades, there has been a broadening of the field of innovation management. Models of innovation have moved from simple linear models towards increasingly complex interactive models (Rothwell, 1992, Lundvall, 1994, Chesbrough, 2003). Innovation management is moving from an expert function organized in R&D units towards an integration of technological, market, organizational and institutional dimensions (Tidd, Bessant&Pavitt, 2001) implying a need for broad interaction of a multiple of actors (van der Ven, et.al., 1989, Sawyer, 2005). Innovation is recognized as complex self-adaptive systems with a need to involve not only all members of organizations but also external partners, customers and other agents in the ecology. Based on these developments the paper aims to clarify emergent innovation as a novel paradigm. It is a perspective that describes innovation as something that is continuous (Burnes, 2009, Weick&Quinn, 1999), can emerge everywhere, and wherein anyone can become an innovator. Novelty is understood as emerging through fine-grained human interaction in interaction with containing coarse-grained structures (Gell-Mann, 2002, Hazy&Ashley, 2011) in what Stacey, et.al.  (2000) call complex responsive processes. The ways in which human interaction dynamics generate emergent innovative structures can be clarified using complex systems models that include nonlinear interactions and processes. Skeptical and pragmatic epistemology can illuminate the way knowledge and cognition is situated in concrete physical, social and cultural environments and innovation is emerging in spaces from within this ecology (Peschl&Fundneider, 2008). Continuous self-organizing by multiple agents driving innovation need to be accompanied with complexity oriented leadership (Goldstein, Hazy & Lichtenstein, 2010) providing enabling structures  from an eco-organizational perspective. We propose a complex system model of organizing emergent innovation.