Towards an ontology of innovation : On the New, the Political-Economic Dimension and the Intrinsic Risks involved in Innovation Processes

In Routledge Handbook of philosophy of Engineering. routledge (2020)
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Because the techno-economic paradigm of contemporary conceptualizations of innovation is often taken for granted in the literature, this chapter opens up this self-evident notion. First, the chapter consults the work of Joseph Schumpeter, who can be seen as the founding father of the current conceptualization of innovation as technological and commercial. Second, we open up the concept by reflecting on two aspects of Schumpeter’s conceptualization of innovation, namely its destructive and its constructive aspect, based on findings in the history of innovation. Finally, we synthesize our findings and propose an ontic-ontological conceptualization of innovation as ontogenetic process and outcome with six dimensions—newness, political dimension, economic dimension, temporal dimension, human dimension and risk—that moves beyond its technological and commercial orientation.

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Vincent Blok
Wageningen University and Research

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