Innovation and the Challenge of Novelty: The Novelty-Confirmation-Transformation Cycle in Software and Science

42 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2011

See all articles by Paul R. Carlile

Paul R. Carlile

Boston University - Department of Management Information Systems

Karim R. Lakhani

Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group; Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science; Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: March 15, 2011

Abstract

Innovation requires sources of novelty, but the challenge is that not all sources lead to innovation, so its value needs to be determined. However, since ways of determining value stem from existing knowledge this often creates barriers to innovation. To understand how people address the challenge of novelty we develop a conceptual and an empirical framework to explain how this challenge is addressed in a software and scientific context. What is shown is that the process of innovation is a cycle where actors develop novel course of action and based on the consequences identified confirm what knowledge to transform to develop the next course of action. The performance of the process of innovation is constrained by the capacities of the artifacts and the ability of the actors to create and use artifacts to drive this cycle. By focusing on the challenge of novelty, a problem that cuts across all contexts of innovation, our goal is to develop a more generalized account of what drives the process of innovation

Keywords: innovation, novelty, artifacts, infrastructure, software and science

Suggested Citation

Carlile, Paul R. and Lakhani, Karim R., Innovation and the Challenge of Novelty: The Novelty-Confirmation-Transformation Cycle in Software and Science (March 15, 2011). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 11-096. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1788283 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1788283

Paul R. Carlile

Boston University - Department of Management Information Systems ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-4287 (Phone)

Karim R. Lakhani (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6741 (Phone)

Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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