A special issue of International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development
Discourses on innovation are characterised by contradictory concepts: the label innovation qualifies products or processes as well as their market entry; and both intra-organisational change and new forms of inter-organisational co-operation are said to be (open) innovation. At the same time, the immense scale of concepts cover just a narrow scope of research interests: mostly, innovation is about technology. Thus, we do not so far know much about non-technical innovations (NTI), or non-technical sources of technical innovations.
Additionally, we find that this bias is flanked by an economy bias, which is even more surprising against the background of the multi-dimensional reality of innovation:
- The regionalisation of national innovation regimes is accompanied by the installation of more negotiation-based innovation systems. In the course of this transformation, both the number and the diversity of involved actors and their practices have been increasing. Meanwhile, studies on contemporary knowledge societies, on the MODE 2 of science, and on the triple-helix of innovation all indicate that the design of robust innovation is, to a great extent, about the finding a well-tempered balance between political, scientific, and economic forms of interests.
- For decades, private companies have been understood as part of the economy. Due to increasing insights in the relevance of intangible resources, organisational learning, and multi-stakeholder approaches, current organizations are said to be in need of a more polyphonic self-concept. Meanwhile, even banks and insurance companies seem to follow the idea that they produce much more than just economic values.
- If we are in need of commodities, machines, and financial resources, then we go to the market. If we are in need of human resources, intercultural competence, and social capital, then we also go. In both cases, the term market means the economic market, which raises issues as it is hard to imagine that we can buy cultural or social capital on economic markets. Thus, currently, we are experiencing an increasing popularity of theories and concepts of the social embeddedness of markets, or even of the existence of non-economic markets.
The contradiction between the most polyphonic realities and the rather one-dimensional concepts of innovation provokes the central questions of this special issue.
Papers should address research questions in the field, including but not limited to the following questions and topics:
- Why do we know so little about NTI and non-economic innovations (NEI), so far? What impact does this lack have on public understanding of innovation in general and economic performance in particular?
- Which forms and dimensions of NTI and NEI can be found both in literature and empirically? What impact do these findings have either on current theorising about innovation, on regulatory practices in this field or on the concrete performance of innovating systems?
- Are there innovations without an NTI or NEI dimension, that is, is there something like pure TI or EI innovation? How good are current indicators of innovation? What could adequate indicators for NTI or NEI look like? How could they complement current indicators for TI and EI?
- Are there further biases in innovation? How do these (often hidden or self-evident) biases influence public understanding of innovation? How can they be identified and studied?
- Which paradoxes and conflicts are emerging in the context of management and the efforts to balance economic and non-economic dimensions of innovation?
- How do polyphonic organisations identify, balance, and anticipate relevant resources, competences, and market structures? What relationships between reflexivity of organisations and their organisational pattern can be identified?
- How can we measure the innovativeness or changeability of organisations?
- What does an adequate concept of the diffusion of innovation in(to) non-economic markets look like? What kind of innovation barriers are we to be expecting in the context of non-economic innovations?
- Is open innovation a case of (trans-)economic innovation?
Manuscript due: 31 December, 2008
Acceptance notification: 28 February, 2008
Final manuscript due: 30 April, 2009