Moving from research on embodied knowledge and learning in cognitive sciences and from the scholarly debate on science-driven and experience-based modes of learning and innovation, we advance an analytical and theoretical framework to think about the role of "making" things in innovation processes. We define tinkering in the context of innovation and we claim that it has three fundamental functions. First it is a form of epistemic action that generates abstract knowledge in and for itself, thus functioning as a mechanism that fuels scientific endeavors and the advancement of formal science. Second we claim that tinkering orients and directs search activities by a number of stakeholders, contributing to the momentum of emerging product concepts and categories. Finally we posit that that tinkering is a way of framing innovation, thus mobilizing resources, attention and legitimizing novelty in industries and markets. In order to ground our definition and conceptual framing of tinkering, we provide examples of the three functions in the development of the aircraft and of the personal computer. The paper closes with a systematization of thedifferent instantiations of tinkerers as they have been identified in a variety of streams of literature on innovation and with a set of research questions that could build on the definition we advance.

The hidden side of innovation: why tinkerers matter

BETTIOL, Marco;DI MARIA, Eleonora;FINOTTO, Vladi;MICELLI, Stefano
2013-01-01

Abstract

Moving from research on embodied knowledge and learning in cognitive sciences and from the scholarly debate on science-driven and experience-based modes of learning and innovation, we advance an analytical and theoretical framework to think about the role of "making" things in innovation processes. We define tinkering in the context of innovation and we claim that it has three fundamental functions. First it is a form of epistemic action that generates abstract knowledge in and for itself, thus functioning as a mechanism that fuels scientific endeavors and the advancement of formal science. Second we claim that tinkering orients and directs search activities by a number of stakeholders, contributing to the momentum of emerging product concepts and categories. Finally we posit that that tinkering is a way of framing innovation, thus mobilizing resources, attention and legitimizing novelty in industries and markets. In order to ground our definition and conceptual framing of tinkering, we provide examples of the three functions in the development of the aircraft and of the personal computer. The paper closes with a systematization of thedifferent instantiations of tinkerers as they have been identified in a variety of streams of literature on innovation and with a set of research questions that could build on the definition we advance.
Proceedings of the 35th DRUID Celebration Conference 2013
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/31756
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