Framework, Methods and Applications of Social Network Analysis in Research and Development
4 Social Networks and the Generation of Innovations 103
4 Social Networks and the Generation of Innovations – Theoretical and Empirical Relevance 4.1 The Generation of Innovations in the Knowledge Society A great scientist, when he was once asked how he managed to hit upon so much that was new, replied: “By keeping on thinking about it”. (MUSIL 1965: 128) 4.1.1 The Generation of Innovation and R&D In the literature, a variety of definitions of the term “innovation” can be found. Van der Kooy (1988), for example, identified 76 definitions of innovation (as cited by Biemans 1992: 6-7). Following Zaltman et al. (1973: 7-9), innovation refers to three different concepts: (1) the process of developing a new item, (2) the process of adopting the new item, and (3) the new item itself. While the first two concepts describe innovation as a process, the third perspective defines innovation as the result of a process. In the latter case, innovation is mostly viewed from the per- spective of the adopter; for instance, Zaltman et al. (1973: 10) define an innovation as “any idea, practice or material artifact perceived to be new by the relevant unit of adoption”, or following Rogers (1983: 11), an innovation is “an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption” (see also Rogers and Shoemaker 1971: 19; Rogers and Agarwala-Rogers 1976: 150). Furthermore, different classifications of innovations can be found in the literature. Knight (1967: 482), for example, distinguishes between (1) product or service innovations, (2) process innovations,...
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