Innovation Management in Modern Organizations: An Evolutionary Approach

Innovation Management in Modern Organizations: An Evolutionary Approach

João P. C. Marques (Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Portugal & University of Aveiro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8637-3.ch008
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The present context of the knowledge-based economy and society has brought relevant changes with respect to how innovation has been conceptualized and explained. This chapter discusses the characteristics of learning and uncertainty as intrinsic components of innovation over the course of time. A number of views that explain the innovation process are discussed in terms of evolutionary momentum, from the science-push strategy to the market-pull model, culminating in the holistic, integrating view of innovation. The case study illustrates the path of technological development of a Portuguese footwear company, based on the licensing of technology, the capacity for continuing learning and absorption, and a culture of innovation as key elements for success.
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1. Conceptualizing Innovation

Innovation advances through the innovative effort that is developed within society and the economy, with the intervention of all kinds of agents. They may be public or private and include firms, the state, universities and not-for-profit institutions (Etzkowitz, 2008; Lundvall, 1992). It is therefore useful to define some core concepts in order to facilitate the understanding of innovation models. First, we distinguish the notions of technology and innovation, which are so often used synonymously. By technology we mean:

(...) the body of scientific or empirical knowledge directly applicable to the production, improvement or use of property or services. (Caraça, 1993, p. 68)

It envisages a restricted view of the concept, insofar as it excludes the idea of ​​the technology only embracing equipment, machinery, and other physical devices. But Caraça emphasizes the practical and applied nature of technology, seeing it as information and scientific or empirical knowledge directly applicable on the market, “associated with” equipment and hardware in general, as opposed to the neoclassical view of technology that would regard it as “knowledge embodied in” machinery and/or equipment (Dosi, 1982; OECD, 1992).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Models of Innovation: Correspond to the conceptual view of how innovation is explained and interpreted, bringing together their actors, stages, inputs and outputs and the connections among them.

Innovation Management: The capacity to gather, organize and optimize, in an efficient and effective manner, the technological resources available in view of the implementation and enforcement of the strategy set by the firm’s management.

Learning: The process of acquiring knowledge and know-how, which is accomplished through mechanisms of learning by doing, learning by using, learning by interacting and learning by learning.

Portugal: A European nation, of Latin origin, with 900 years of history.

Foot-Wear Case Study: The story of a specific organizational situation in the shoe industry which due to its importance deserves to be studied and discussed.

Process Innovation: The sequence of activities or stages leading to the introduction of an invention in the market, to an improvement in a product, process and organization model.

Modern Organizations: All organizations developing their purposes in the contemporary society and adopting a proactive attitude to adapt to change through continuous learning and innovation as organizational culture.

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