The Nature of Innovation Webs

Any successful innovation is the result of emergence. An innovation is an idea which is *new* to a specific context and has matured sufficiently to clearly understand its unique contribution. Success is hereby understood that the idea has passed through the innovation and early adopters’ stage to arrive in the adoption stage of the early majority. Emergence is the phenomenon of a living system developing attributes as the results of complex to chaotic interactions of its elements which are fundamentally unpredictable using Aristotelian paradigms. Taking more holistic and living systems perspectives however significantly increases the probability of making emergence predictable. The perspective of relevance taken in this review is that of innovation webs. The image chosen for this blog post is that of DNA “seen from the top” to illustrate the beauty, harmony and complexity of living systems.

Innovation webs are a unique network of relationships between specific behavioural roles exchanging specific tangible and intangible deliverables which evolve through a series of distinct phases from ideation through community building and market validation to commercialization. Innovation webs are open living systems that emerge under specific conditions which can be repeatedly created through a sequence of actions focused on the system as a whole. Important to note is that such actions can only serve to create the conditions for emergence, they cannot trigger that emergence itself. Due to this the metrics of relevance differ significantly from those used in contemporary process or network analysis, namely: intellectual capital generation, perceived value, transactional speed, resilience, reciprocity, density, structural integrity and robustness.

Innovation webs differ from innovation processes because they are non-linear and dynamic. Innovation webs differ from innovation networks because they consider both tangible and intangible exchanges.

Innovation webs have always existed. They are only just being discovered due to recent advances in living systems and intellectual capital formation research.

ENTOV-HVM is an innovation web in its own right and as it matures will trigger the creation of child innovation webs around a growing number of high value manufacturing innovations.

Tomorrow´s post will begin a series of posts addressing the COST 2019 Open Call Proposal Reference: OC-2019-1-23678 "Open European Network for Enterprise Innovation in High Value Manufacturing (ENTOV-HVM)" which we are working on for submission later this year.


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