Innovation as Strategic Reflexivity

Innovation as Strategic Reflexivity

Innovation as Strategic Reflexivity

Innovation as Strategic Reflexivity


How important is strategic reflexivity to business development? This book presents a new view of innovation, seeking to disclose how strategic reflexivity is embodied in specific innovation practices and management roles.


In the first part we briefly introduce the theoretical and analytical concepts to be used in this book and we present an overview of the chapters. in Parts II and iii the theoretical ideas are developed in greater depth.

The theoretical idea

The book presents a new perspective on innovation, a Schumpeter Mark iii approach (cf. the discussion of Schumpeter I and II in Phillips 1971). We call this approach 'strategic reflexivity'. It sees innovation as a strategic response to change-processes in the market and society (characterised by uncertainties).

External changes increasingly become crucial for the firm's possibilities for growth and survival. Market and social developments are particularly important. These include new patterns of behaviour and ethical norms, political regulations and new knowledge. As markets become more mature and complex, and consumers more demanding and critical, consumers do not just accept innovations. Innovations have to be negotiated. Firms cannot merely adapt to markets as stable environments, they need to be more reflexive and strategic. By reflexive we mean that firms must take into consideration the changing manifestations of their actions on the market and in society. By strategic we mean that firms must consciously negotiate their role in the division of labour and in relation to customers.

This approach, we argue, is relevant to an understanding of innovation in the contemporary economy, which is characterised by knowledge, services and flexibility. We think much more attention could be devoted to strategy as a force of innovation under conditions of reflexivity. We do not mean to say, however, that strategic reflexivity as a theoretical concept is relevant to all forms of innovation and industrial development, particularly not when innovation is characterised by clear technological opportunities for the firm.

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