New for Whom? Initial Images from the Social Dimension of Innovation
ESC Rennes School of Business
International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp.231–252, 2009
The paper presents a system-theoretical concept of innovation differentiating between an object-related, a temporal and a social dimension of newness. Due to a so far strong bias to the two former dimensions an exclusive focus on its social dimension is imperative now. Innovations thus are introduced as new, exclusive forms of relations to oneself, to others and to the relationships of others. The difference these relations make is the distinction between social entities, i.e. the differentiation of social systems. Social differentiation can take three forms: segmented, stratified and functional differentiation. We thus can relate three types of relations with three forms of social entities and receive nine dimensions of sustainable innovation management. Using the example of a Swiss crowdsourcing service provider, the paper finally shows how rewarding the balancing of these dimensions can be, and that too strong a focus on an innovation’s economic outcome may result in lower profit.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: robust innovation, NTI, social innovation, social systems theory, dimensions of meaning, functional differentiation, sociology of advantage
JEL Classification: Q31Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 30, 2011 ; Last revised: May 7, 2012
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