- the description of innovation
- The elucidation of factors leading to innovation for instance the adoption of common language enabling the workforce to understand each other
- The advantages of innovation will be expounded together with their effects on the society for instance the growth and introduction of new industries
- The disadvantages of innovation to the society
- The conclusion will follow restating the hypothesis of the paper as had been given earlier on
Innovation refers to first occurrence of an idea for a new product or process. It describes the first commercialization of the idea. There are various classifications of innovation that help in the evaluation approaches as products and services. These classifications include type where innovation is categorized into new products, new methods of production, new sources of supply, and exploitation of new markets and new ways of to organize businesses. These types of innovation help in the description of the concept of organization innovations in terms of constructivist theories of knowledge. They offer knowledge about how to create or improve products and how to produce them (Simon and Schuster, 2010). This occurs through analysis of terminologies such as product innovation and process innovation. These terms are used in the characterization of the occurrence of new or improved goods and services as well as improvements in the way to produce them.
Innovation is associated with the outstanding fact in the economic history of capitalist society which is largely responsible for what is attributed to other factors such as industrial processes. In this case, innovation leads to unintended consequences such as disruptions in the economy. This may lead to the growth of new industries and companies or even the demise of old ones. Therefore, there are some direct and indirect consequences that will lead to cycles that are part of the capitalist economic system (Jones and Munro, 2005). These consequences will be analyzed with regards to the unintended effects in the process of innovation. This will occur through interpretation of terminologies such as interpretative flexibility, closure, interessement, inscription just to mention but a few. Interessement refers to the attempt of heterogeneous engineers to interest, translate and enroll actors. Interpretative flexibility on the other hand, emphasizes the observation that scientific findings are open to more than one interpretation thus shifting the focus to scientific explanation from the world of science to the social world. When it is applied to the technology, interpretative flexibility highlights both cultural construction and interpretation of technical artifacts and the resulting flexibility of technical design (Simon and Schuster, 2010).
These aspects are applied in the determination of the role of unintended consequences in the process of innovation. This determination mainly focuses on the diffusion of innovation stream that relies on the concept of diffusion (Simon and Schuster, 2010). Diffusion in this case refers to the process through which innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of the social system. It defines innovation in terms of the adopter’s perspective where the innovator’s representatives, financers and change agents are regarded as driving forces with the intention to spread or increase the usage of the innovation among adopters (Simon and Schuster, 2010). Interpretative flexibility and interessement help in the analysis of effects of marketing methods and the introduction of new processes in organizations.
According to Jones and Munro (2005) unintended consequences are those that occur through the interplay between the action and the objective situation or rather those that are casually related. Interpretative flexibility portrays the distinction between of five factors that limit the possibility of an actor in anticipating the indirect consequences. These factors include: the general lack of knowledge which defines the fact of life that humans often have to act without full knowledge about consequences that may follow. Secondly, the assessment of errors in their assumptions and their selection of a course of action and execution of acts describes the role of unintended consequences in the process of innovation. Habit may also be attributed to these factors as it gives a source of error with the common fallacy to believe that actions, which have in the past led to the desired outcome, will continue to do so (Jones and Munro, 2005).
Similarly, the third factor is the impervious immediacy of interest which refers to actors desiring the beneficial consequences of an action to an extent that they are adamant and blind to any other temporal and spatial consequences. This is coupled with the fourth source of unintended consequences that is described in terms of no consideration of further consequences because of the felt necessity of certain action enjoined by certain fundamental values (Mowery et al, 2011). Additionally, the feedback loop that occurs when predictions of future social developments are made public and become a new element in the concrete situation, offers the fifth source of unintended consequences (Mowery et al, 2011). They hence lead to changes in the in the course of history. This follows the aspect of self-fulfilling prophecy as opposed to self-defeating prophecy. For instance, since organizational change initiatives have failed in the past, changes in initiatives are met with cynicism by employees thus increasing the risk of failure (Mowery et al, 2011).
According to Czarniawska and Hernes (2005), interessement occurs in the use of language where it brings understanding of translation as adopted in organizations. It defines the attempts of heterogeneous engineers to interest, translate and enroll actors. It helps in the area of management ideas that are translated into objects such as models, books, transparencies. These objects are then sent to other places different from where they emerged or even translated into new kinds of objects (Czarniawska and Hernes, 2005, P. 313). The process may also involve translation into other actions which if repeated may stabilize into institutions. These may be described and summarized through abstract ideas and many more. The translation concept works exactly due to the fact that it is polysemous or rather usually associated with language. It also means transformation or transference through the aspect of attracting attention to the fact that a thing moved from one place to another cannot emerge unchanged (Czarniawska and Hernes, 2005). This means that setting something in a new place or another point in time is to construct it a fresh. This is the whole ideology behind innovation. Therefore, translation is a concept that immediately evokes symbolic associations where only something can be moved from one place to another and from one point in time to another.
This hence means that innovation through ideas must materialize by a technology and symbols must be inscribed. Inscription in this case, brings about the role of unintended consequences in the process of innovation. This involves assumptions that have been influential both on the current representation of innovation and on policy (Bijker and Law, 2002). These assumptions include normativeness where studies on innovation representation are essentially normative and unreflective. This revolves around the key ideology of modernity namely economic issues and the positive contribution of innovation to economic growth. The consequences involved in this case include little questioning of what innovation means but a normative perspective is brought about (Bijker and Law, 2002).
The second assumption is performativity where innovation describes studies that are driven by policies. Here, innovation is considered as a phenomenon but it also works to persuade policy makers of the desirability and inevitability of innovation. This is accompanied by the aspect of technology and market centeredness where studies in innovation representations are based on technology and market orientation. Innovation in this case refers to the commercialization of technological inventions that have been commercialized. Imitation is another process that where existing technological innovations have been adopted (Bijker and Law, 2002).
The focus on product and process innovations should be accompanied by many other innovations related to the organization and governed capitalism. This brings about the notion that innovation should be categorized into two sectors where technological process innovations and organizational process innovations relate to new types of machinery. Organization process innovations on the other hand, help in development of new ways to organize work. Bijker and Law, used this approach to bring out another form of classification based on innovations according to how radical they are compared to the existing setup. This paved way for the continuous improvements of the organization process to be characterized as incremental and marginal innovations as opposed to radical innovations. Incremental innovations bring about a cumulative impact that would lead to a biased view on long run economic and social change. This is due to the fact that incremental and improvements form the basis of economic benefits.
Innovation describes the outcome of continuous struggle in historical time between individual entrepreneurs who aim at formulating solutions to particular problems and social inertia. However, innovation requires teamwork and takes place within organizations that entails cooperative entrepreneurship in big firms. Openness to new ideas is very essential for innovation projects as it brings about the fundamental characteristic of innovation. This follows the ideology that new innovation consists of new combinations of existing ideas, capabilities, skills, resources just to mention but a few. Therefore, the greater the variety of these factors within a given system, the greater the scope in which new combinations will be formed. The ideology behind this concept brought about the aspect of inscription that was applied in the development of other artifacts other than the one intended. The studies in socio-technical change brought about the innovation technology behind an aircraft (Bijiker and John, 2005)
Interpretative flexibility and interessement bring out the role unintended consequences in the process of innovation through compromising the idea that technology is pure. This occurs through the embodiment of politics, economics theories of strength of materials and notions about the aspects that are worthwhile. This also entails description of professional preferences, prejudices and skills as well design tools and available raw materials (Mowery et al, 2011). The unintended consequences of innovation depict the determinism of technology and trajectories that evolve under the impetus of some necessary inner technology or scientific logic. These aspects are not possessed of an inherent momentum but if they evolve or change, it is due to the fact that they have been pressed into that shape (Mowery et al, 2011).
Similarly, innovation that occurs through unintended consequences describes technology as a social aspect that embodies the needs to blur the boundaries of categories that are normally kept apart. This draws the line between the world of engineering and that of the social aspects. Interpretative flexibility allows innovation or rather technology to be defined in its own ways (Rogers, 2003) This occurs through the presence of internal technical logic that drives innovation and technological determination. Simple identification of a paradigm does not imply that there is identification of the driving force behind that paradigm or even the way it is articulated. The same applies to trajectories where innovation explains why they move in one direction.
Innovation is more social, and thus it gives logic to technological determinism, heterogeneity and social determinism. These aspects are all related in the aspect of social and technical notions. However, the unintended consequences bring about the end result where innovation is considered to relate social aspects to bring out heterogeneity (Rogers, 2003)
This brings about the notion applied by social classes, occupational groups, organizations, professions just to mention but a few where they are all held in place by intimately linked social and technical means (Rogers, 2003)
The situation brought forth by Bijiker in the case of the early history of the bicycle portrays an instance when there were no single dominant groups. The outcome of this was that there were no effective set of vested interests. In this case, if the unintended consequences were made available to a range of actors, there would have been many different innovations made. Therefore, it is important to note that the role of unintended consequences in the process of innovation is to bring about the formation of a group of other products apart from the intended one. This however, relies on the formation of a group of products and services that incorporate the initiated technological frame in order to succeed (Rogers, 2003)
The systematic theoretical and empirical work on innovation projects in organizations as well as the management of such projects requires slow evolvement as it might bring about uncertainty. Therefore, in the early stages of an innovation project it is important to avoid being stuck to the specific path through various self-reinforcing paths (Latour, 2005, P. 153). This would also eliminate other firms from equipping themselves with better opportunities that may occur from the unintended consequences adopted in the process of innovation. This step should occur before sufficient knowledge of the alternatives is generated which would facilitate other strategies that would be best in remaining open to different ideas and solutions (Latour, 2005, P. 153). The management should incorporate pluralistic leadership that would allow a variety of competing perspectives against the homogeneous leadership style. The unintended consequences would also be analyzed since the merging of the leaders would allow a social and heterogeneous aspect that would combine their notions to come up with better innovations (Latour, 2005, P. 153).
Additionally, openness to new ideas and solutions offers innovation projects better chances in the early stages (Watson, 2009, P. 37). This involves the characteristic that each new innovation comprises of a new combination of existing ideas, capabilities, skills and resources. The more the variety of these factors in an organization, the wider the scope for new combinations of the factors and hence the more complex the innovations will be. This also brings about the aspect of closely monitoring the step carried out by one another. It helps in expanding the search for new ideas, inputs and sources of inspiration. This process of innovation brings about advanced ideas for both the individual firms and the economic systems to which they belong (Watson, 2009, P. 37).
Inscription and interpretative flexibility have allowed room for organizations to incorporate groups of people within the organization sufficient freedom in experimenting with new solutions. They also help in establishing new patterns of interaction within the firm that allows the firm to mobilize its entire knowledge base when confronting new challenges. Strong ties within organizations offer networks through which convergence to a common perception of reality maybe achieved. Unintended consequences thus help the firms in re-focusing on their initial plans in terms of which project would have succeeded more (Jones and Munro, 2005, P. 117). However, regardless of the unintended outcomes process such as inscription help in mobilizing the public at large to make them understand of the translation device. They also emphasize on the observation that, scientific findings are open to more than one interpretation. Therefore, firms should focus more on the scientific explanations that are based on the social world.
The process of innovation requires the application of the perspective of a system where these systems describe a set of activities or actors that are interlinked to bring out the working of the linkages involved in the system. This structure facilitates certain patterns of interaction and outcomes through a parallel role of inertia in the firms (Jones and Munro, 2005, P. 117). Feedbacks reinforce or at times weaken the existing structure or functioning of the system leading to a lock in. They also bring about change in the orientation or even dissolve the system. This offers the advantage of gearing the systems and other actors into a direction that is considered beneficial (Jones and Munro, 2005, P. 117).
However, the process of innovation leads to situations that do not have a historical background. They offer some form of uncertainty that makes its impact immeasurable. If the products obtained in the process of innovation were unequivocally original, then there would be no empirical evidence to support estimates of its performance or its effects in the market place. If the products were wee innovative but seemed similar to pre-existing ones or rather could be considered variant of one another, then it would be tempting to use available empirical data to frame some estimates of the likely performance of the new one. Thus using inscriptions and interpretative flexibility answer the questions about the unpredictability of customer’s responses to the innovation and the unintended consequences (Jones and Munro, 2005, P. 118).
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