This important book presents for the first time a coherent analysis of the development of innovation theory from the nineteenth century to the present day. It examines the emergence of different theories of innovation in different periods, and how they compete for dominance today. Specifically, it looks at three paradigms within innovation theory – entrepreneurship, the rise of technology, and strategic behaviour.
The book begins by discussing what innovation is and how innovation processes are to be understood within the historical perspective of long wave theory. Jon Sundbo then investigates the contribution of each of the following three paradigms, their inter-relationships and implications at the micro level. He considers entrepreneurs as individuals who have implemented or gained independence through their ideas. Historically, these would be the founders of enterprises, while the modern counterparts may be in companies that already exist. Secondly he addresses technology as a determinant of innovation, emphasizing the relations technology has with organizational and social factors. Thirdly, the author looks at strategic behaviour and the ability to recognize market opportunities and management processes for business strategies. Finally, he discusses the possibility of the three paradigms merging, how they differentiate and how they may be used in future innovation research.
This important book will be essential reading for academics interested in innovation, technology and industrial organization.