Innovation Types: Configurations of Attributes as a Basis for Innovation Classification

Advanced Institute of Management Research Paper No. 046

69 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2008

See all articles by Richard Adams

Richard Adams

Cranfield School of Management

David R. Tranfield

Cranfield University - School of Management

David Denyer

Cranfield University - Advanced Management Research Centre (AMRC)

Date Written: August 1, 2006

Abstract

In spite of the continued importance of an innovation's attributes to research methodologies, and the increasing tendency toward multidimensional conceptualizations, the lack of a theoretically derived and empirically developed classification of innovations, conceived in terms of these perceived characteristics, continues to deter substantive research in the area. Innovations are frequently under-dimensionalized, with little consistency in the labeling or definition of their dimensions. The absence of a stable descriptive framework has constrained researchers' facility to develop cross-case and cumulative research. In this paper, in which innovations are conceptualized as complex and multi-dimensional, we report on a mixed-method, exploratory study addressing the question of innovation classification. Data from a rigorous thematic investigation of the literature, and four case studies, are synthesized into a descriptive framework incorporating 13 variables (innovation attributes). Following operationalization of the framework as a 56-item survey instrument, we conduct a cluster analysis of the returns from a post-adoption survey of 310 innovations. Three distinct innovation types are identified: readily-adopted, challenging and under-cover. The attributes' disruption, observability, profile and risk were found to be particularly important in distinguishing clusters that offer opportunities for new theoretical development. The UK National Health Service (NHS) forms the context for the study. Implications for theory and practice are examined.

Suggested Citation

Adams, Richard and Tranfield, David Ronald and Denyer, David, Innovation Types: Configurations of Attributes as a Basis for Innovation Classification (August 1, 2006). Advanced Institute of Management Research Paper No. 046. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1309554 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1309554

Richard Adams (Contact Author)

Cranfield School of Management ( email )

Bedfordshire, MK43 0AL
United Kingdom
+44(0)1234 751122 (Phone)

David Ronald Tranfield

Cranfield University - School of Management ( email )

Bedfordshire, MK43 0AL
United Kingdom

David Denyer

Cranfield University - Advanced Management Research Centre (AMRC) ( email )

Cranfield MK43 OA1
United Kingdom

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