Innovation Valleys: Reconceptualizing the Innovation Valley of Death (a Survival Lens)

Abayomi Baiyere, Harri Nieminen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


The concept of innovation valley of death provides a powerful metaphor to capture a challenging chasm along the innovation journey. However, within the strength of the metaphor lies its weakness. We argue in this study that the terminal loading of the metaphor holds the concept back from unleashing the potential of its theoretical value. Drawing on a 10-year long ethnographic study of three innovation projects, we demonstrate that the valley is not necessarily a terminal abyss but can be reconceptualized as challenging valleys with mountable chances along the innovation journey. This conceptualization has implications for how we theorize about the valleys along an innovation journey as it shifts the locus of the discourse from an abject focus on failure to scholarship that aims to uncover the dynamics and mechanisms for surviving such innovation valleys.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventXXIX ISPIM Innovation Conference 2018: Innovation, the Name of the Game - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 17 Jun 201820 Jun 2018
Conference number: 29


ConferenceXXIX ISPIM Innovation Conference 2018
Internet address


  • Innovation valleys
  • Innovation valley of death
  • Innovation survival
  • Ethnography

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