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Innovation

A Study in the Rehabilitation of a Concept

Benoît Godin

For centuries, innovation was a political and contested concept and linguistic weapon used against one's enemy. To support their case, opponents of innovation made use of arguments from ethos and pathos to give power and sustenance to their criticisms and to challenge the innovators. However, since the nineteenth century the arguments have changed completely. Innovation gradually got rehabilitated. This article looks at one type of rehabilitation: the semantic rehabilitation. People started to reread history and to redescribe what innovation is. What was bad innovation became good innovation because of long-lasting and beneficial effects, so it was believed.

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Benoît Godin

To scholars, the concept of innovation is intimately linked to science and industry. But this is a very recent story. Before the twentieth century, the concept was mainly used in religious and political affairs. The concept had a pejorative meaning

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Shobita Parthasarathy

how the pandemic casts innovation policies – designed to encourage scientific research and technological development for the public good – in a new, problematic light. Some might assume that such policies might be immune from bias because they are

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Peter R. A. Oeij, Steven Dhondt, and Ton Korver

Social innovation is becoming a core value of the EU flagship initiative Innovation Union, but it is not clearly demarcated as it covers a wide field of topics. To understand social innovation within European policymaking a brief outline is given of EC policy developments on innovation and on workplace innovation. Definitions of social innovation formulated at the societal level and the organizational or workplace level are discussed. Empirical research findings of workplace innovation in the Netherlands are presented as examples showing that workplace innovation activities boost organizational performance. The article explores the relation between workplace innovation and social innovation, and concludes that policy developments in the EU can be studied with the theory of social quality, provided that the latter in its empirical approach focuses on how individuals together constitute innovations.

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Social Innovation, Local Governance and Social Quality

The Case of Intersectoral Collaboration in Hangzhou City

Yong Li, Ying Sun, and Ka Lin

In contemporary European policy discussion, “innovation“ is a term popularly used for finding responses to the pressure of global competition. In various forms of innovation, the accent is mainly given to technical and business innovation but less to social innovation. This article studies the issue of social innovation with reference to the local practice in Hangzhou city, which aims to strengthen the life quality of citizens in this city. These practices develop various forms of inter-sectoral collaboration, resulting in numerous "common denominator subject" (CDS) groups that are promoted by the local government. These practices follow the principles of cooperation and partnership, and thus develop a corporatist mechanism for urban development. Through discussion of these practices this article explores the nature and the features of these CDS groups, and evaluates its meaning for social innovation, local administration, life quality and social quality.

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Indoktrination oder Innovation?

Der Unterrichtsfilm als neues Lehrmedium im Nationalsozialismus

Verena Niethammer

Jahre ist zwischen Innovation und Indoktrination angesiedelt. Diese These bildet den Schwerpunkt des vorliegenden Beitrags, dabei wird das breite Spektrum dieser heterogenen, filmischen Gattung anhand der am stärksten vertretenen Fächer des RWU

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Peter Scholten

Policy innovation is necessary for many environmental issues such as climate change and water management. Highly motivated individuals, who are both willing and able to take the lead and press home innovative proposals and as such transform existing policy, are vital in this process. This article focuses on such individuals. An exploration of the literature is confronted with the findings of an empirical study among local policy makers with a reputation for daring. The result is a conceptual map that can be used to further explore and understand the role of leadership and particularly daring decision making in environmental policy innovation.

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Rohan Bastin

This essay examines the importance of sorcery in the dynamics of religious innovation in contemporary Hindu and Buddhist Sri Lanka.1 My interest stems from two observations. First, in almost stark contrast to other Hindu ritual forms that emphasise unchanging text-based rites, the sorcery practices I describe display an almost modernist preoccupation with innovation. Second, much of this innovation originates, or is seen to originate, from outside the cosmic order both of the pantheon and of society. Consequently, sorcery practices manifest a dynamism that often results in the appearance of sorcery having sprung up from nowhere or of being on the sharp increase. However, such an appearance of growth is less of an increase by degree than a shift in visibility. Moreover, it is a characteristic Sri Lankan sorcery practices share with practices elsewhere. When social scientists whose gaze has been primed for spotting anomalies light upon these shifts in visibility, the reaction is usually one of alarm. Scholars whose basic orientation is to the problem of social order and stability tend to judge these apparent aberrations in terms of social breakdown and anomie. Instead of considering what sorcery reveals anthropologically, they instead analyse sorcery as a symptom of a social pathology. The restless dynamism of sorcery and its role in religious innovation remain unaddressed, and this contributes to a conservative view of both the phenomenon of sorcery and the study of religion in general.

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Investing in Workplace Innovation Pays Off for SMEs

A Regional Innovation Initiative from the Netherlands

Peter Oeij, Ernest de Vroome, Astrid Bolland, Rob Gründemann, and Lex van Teeffelen

From 2009 to 2013 the workplace innovation project “My Enterprise 2.0” was carried out in the region of Utrecht in the Netherlands in order to strengthen the workplace innovation capability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Participating enterprises completed a questionnaire regarding the “workplace innovativeness” of their company. A workplace innovation intervention was then implemented by some of the companies, while other companies chose not to take part. At the end of the project, a second questionnaire indicated that those companies that implemented interventions had a significantly higher score with regard to overall workplace innovativeness. The companies without such interventions reported a small decrease. While the companies in the region had higher workplace innovativeness scores relative to a national reference group both before and after the project, the increase in the “workplace innovativeness” of the regional SMEs that experienced interventions suggests that the project proved beneficial to their continued “workplace innovativeness.” Moreover, these companies also reported positive effects on company performance, achieving company goals and improving labor productivity.

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Mark Huberty

Mark Huberty, Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University The development of the high-technology startup sector in Germany is critical for the adjustment of the German economy to growing international competition in traditional industrial sectors. The article explores whether changes to the German venture capital financing sector in the period 1995-2005 indicate an improved development path for high-technology startup firms. Based on the volumes and structure of venture capital investments during this period, I conclude that the venture capital sector has undergone substantial change in favor of financing and supporting high-technology startup firms. However, small firm behavior suggests that even with a changed venture capital sector, the overall regulatory structure of the German economy will result in lower rates of firm success than otherwise would be expected from a resurgent venture capital market. The policy implication is that, without additional regulatory reform favoring small, high-technology enterprises, the transformation of German industry will continue to be constrained.