Innovation as a Dynamic Process: An actor-network theory study of product development in the forest industry

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: The importance of innovation and new product development in the globalized contemporary world is substantial. Previous research within the discourse have tended to focus on the differences between organizations and their ability to innovate based on size, sector and taxonomies as innovation drivers. Recently the focus has partly changed to open innovation and sharing innovation, with network being an important aspect. However, little research has been devoted to understanding innovation as a more complete and dynamic process. This article is based on an innovation case in the Swedish forest industry and takes an actor network theory approach to understand innovation as a dynamic process, moving beyond organizational boundaries. It traces back how the actor network has emerged over a ten-year period of time and points to key chapters in the actor-network narrative. The study identifies five obligatory points of passage that are important for an innovation process and points to the importance of interessement devices and enrollment. It takes a critical approach to the previous research based on innovation not being a static state of being but a moving and dynamic process where actants, regardless of their organizational origin, make up the innovation process.

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