Gambling Versus Designing: Organizing for the Design of the Probability Space in the Energy Sector

20 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2016

See all articles by Sophie Hooge

Sophie Hooge

Mines-Paristech

Olga Kokshagina

École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris

Pascal Le Masson

École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris - Centre de Gestion Scientifique (CGS)

Kevin Levillain

École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris

Benoit Weil

École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris - Centre de Gestion Scientifique (CGS)

Vincent Fabreguettes

The French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

Nathalie Popiolek

The French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to elucidate an organizational process for the design of generic technologies (GTs). While recognizing the success of GTs, the literature on innovation management generally describes their design according to evolutionary strategies featuring multiple and uncertain trials, resulting in the discovery of common features among multiple applications. This random walk depends on multiple market and technological uncertainties that are considered exogenous: as smart as he can be, the ‘gambler’ must play in a given probability space. However, what happens when the innovator is not a gambler but a designer, i.e., when the actor is able to establish new links between previously independent emerging markets and technologies? Formally speaking, the actor designs a new probability space. Building on a case study of two technological development programmes at the French Center for Atomic Energy, we present cases of GTs that correspond to this logic of designing the probability space, i.e. the logic of intentionally designing common features that bridge the gap between a priori heterogeneous applications and technologies. This study provides another example showing that the usual trial‐and‐learning strategy is not the only strategy to design GTs and that these technologies can be designed by intentionally building new interdependences between markets and technologies. Our main result is that building these interdependences requires organizational patterns that correspond to a ‘design of exploration’ phase in which multiple technology suppliers and application providers are involved in designing both the probability space itself and the instruments to explore and benefit from this new space.

Suggested Citation

Hooge, Sophie and Kokshagina, Olga and Le Masson, Pascal and Levillain, Kevin and Weil, Benoit and Fabreguettes, Vincent and Popiolek, Nathalie, Gambling Versus Designing: Organizing for the Design of the Probability Space in the Energy Sector (December 2016). Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 25, Issue 4, pp. 464-483, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2866082 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/caim.12178

Sophie Hooge (Contact Author)

Mines-Paristech ( email )

60 Boulevard Saint-Michel
Paris, 75272
France

Olga Kokshagina

École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris ( email )

60, boulevard Saint Michel
75272 Paris cedex 06, 75006
France

Pascal Le Masson

École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris - Centre de Gestion Scientifique (CGS) ( email )

60, boulevard Saint-Michel
Paris Cedex 06, 75272
France
+01 40 51 92 21 (Phone)

Kevin Levillain

École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris ( email )

60, boulevard Saint Michel
75272 Paris cedex 06, 75006
France

Benoit Weil

École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris - Centre de Gestion Scientifique (CGS) ( email )

60, boulevard Saint-Michel
Paris Cedex 06, 75272
France
+01 40 51 91 06 (Phone)
+01 40 46 03 01 (Fax)

Vincent Fabreguettes

The French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) ( email )

75752 Paris Cedex 15
France

Nathalie Popiolek

The French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) ( email )

75752 Paris Cedex 15
France

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