Managers and the Innovation Process

Managers and the Innovation Process

Natalya Sergeeva (University of Reading, UK)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch506
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Meaning Of Innovations

Innovation has been defined variously in the mainstream literature. However, whilst the wording may differ, the definitions share some common characteristics. One significant commonality is that innovation can be understood as a process of idea generation, idea expression and idea implementation. Kanter (1983), for instance, defined innovation as idea generation, acceptance and implementation into the product, process or service, where the last two processes are central in this definition. Similarly, Rogers (1983) defined the concept of innovation as an idea perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption involved in the processes of problem identification, invention of solution, its development and commercialization into the market. These definitions emphasize an invention at the beginning of the innovation process that leads to idea creation, recognition and implementation into the innovative product, process or service. In the same vein, Van de Ven (1986) considered innovation as a network-building effort that is based on generation, adoption and implementation of ideas among individuals who become committed to these ideas and transform them into “good currency.” This definition highlights the important role of individuals in the innovation process within the broader institutional and economic context. It can be, therefore, argued that innovation is affected by individual and group initial commitment to innovative ideas who then potentially contribute them to organizational actors responsible for giving legitimacy and starting the implementation process.

In general, three important aspects of innovation are recognized in the literature (e.g. Tushman & O’Relly, 1996; Van de Ven, Polley, Garud, & Venkataraman, 1999):

  • 1.

    The generation of new, useful and appropriate ideas;

  • 2.

    The institutionalization of these ideas into valuable solutions;

  • 3.

    The sustenance of these processes over time.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Manager: A person in a formal position involving responsibility for the work of other people.

Manager Engagement in the Innovation Process: Manager direct involvement in the innovative practices in their work.

Innovation: Generation, acceptance and implementation of innovative ideas into new products, processes or services among individuals who become committed to these ideas.

Creativity: Social process constituted by a specific individual mental state and social influence that leads to the generation of novel, useful and appropriate ideas or solutions to problems.

Legitimacy of Innovation: Acceptance of innovative ideas by responsible organizational actors.

Contextual Determinants: Organizational characteristics (e.g. organizational culture, support, rewards, structure and strategy) which influence the innovation process.

Personal Determinants: Personal characteristics, cognitive abilities and behaviors which influence the innovation process.

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