An underestimated but pervasive aspect of innovation is its semantic creativity. Innovation is tangled with the generation of new meanings and new representations of familiar objects or processes. This paper explores semantic innovation arguing as a combination of pre-existing conceptual structures. First we shed light on the level at which innovative semantic combinations unfold, that is the conceptual level. Second the paper provides an in depth analysis of the dynamics of conceptual combinations, examining the processes underlying it: similarity detection, selective mapping and search for coherence. Our analysis of a rich set of cases opens up the complex architecture of conceptual combination and shows that, given its conceptual nature, semantic innovations shift among different level of abstraction (products, processes and business model)s and thus can be transferred to entirely different sets of activity. The paper provides a theoretical framework to understand the dynamics of semantic innovation and a contribution to the debate on innovation as knowledge combination in managerial and economic literature.

Conceptual combination: a semantic framework for innovation

COMACCHIO, Anna;WARGLIEN, Massimo
2010

Abstract

An underestimated but pervasive aspect of innovation is its semantic creativity. Innovation is tangled with the generation of new meanings and new representations of familiar objects or processes. This paper explores semantic innovation arguing as a combination of pre-existing conceptual structures. First we shed light on the level at which innovative semantic combinations unfold, that is the conceptual level. Second the paper provides an in depth analysis of the dynamics of conceptual combinations, examining the processes underlying it: similarity detection, selective mapping and search for coherence. Our analysis of a rich set of cases opens up the complex architecture of conceptual combination and shows that, given its conceptual nature, semantic innovations shift among different level of abstraction (products, processes and business model)s and thus can be transferred to entirely different sets of activity. The paper provides a theoretical framework to understand the dynamics of semantic innovation and a contribution to the debate on innovation as knowledge combination in managerial and economic literature.
EGOS 2010, Waves of globalization, Conference Proceedings
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/31182
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