Unpacking the Stuff of Business Innovation
This chapter addresses the puzzling fact that although business innovation is often decoupled from the market to which it purport to refer, this decoupling has only partially undermined the perception of its value in and outside the business world. The reason lies in innovators’ efforts to signal to clients by means of different performative practices that “innovation is now taking place.” The chapter argues that innovators use specific material artifacts and communicative practices to mediate the notion that their expertise is based in the ideals of flexibility, speed, minimalism, free information flow, and organizational creativity. However, these acts of mediation also have unintended consequences. They clutter the work of innovation and create centers of gravity, opacity, and rigidness. In other words, they both mediate and undermine the ideals with which innovators would like to be associated. The chapter explores this contradiction as it finds expression in innovators’ efforts to mediate their workspace, expertise, thought processes, and selves as organizationally creative.
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