Continously Failing Creativity in Context: Project Trajectories in Antibiotics Development

Birke Otto, Harry Sminia, Jörg Sydow

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


This work-in-progress investigates 19 discontinued projects of antibiotic innovation to explain how a disconnect between different ‘disappointed expectations’ perpetuates the continuous failure of the innovation ecosystem of antibiotics. Based on a processual analysis of each project which also considers the structural conditions of the industry, we develop three archetypes of failure: ‘regular failure’, ‘bounce back and temporary failure’ and ‘complete failure’ with different consequences for the company, scientific interests, and the social purpose of antibiotic development more generally. Theoretically, we aim to contribute to existing literature on failure by developing a processual account that considers the more structural and multifaceted circumstances of the fields’ constraints.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2022
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event23rd International Continous Innovation Network Conference. CINet 2023 - University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Duration: 11 Sept 202213 Sept 2022
Conference number: 23


Conference23rd International Continous Innovation Network Conference. CINet 2023
LocationUniversity of Pisa
Internet address


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Innovation failure
  • Drug development
  • Process studies

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