Difference and Innovation

Asbjørn Daugaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


The process of innovation is a complex task to study. It is argued that the innovation literature has dealt with the innovation process through learning and knowledge creation. Following this tradition, Nonaka and colleagues’ knowledge creation theory has been taken as the starting point in this thesis. It is a theory that has received almost paradigmatic status, but it has started being criticized. Two issues have been identified, confirmed, and explored. The first issue is that Nonaka’s theory has neglected the individual aspect of knowledge creation. The second issue is that Nonaka has misunderstood the terms tacit and explicit knowledge, which serve as the basis of the knowledge creation theory. Instead of tacit knowledge becoming explicit it is suggested by Tsoukas that knowledge creation is about finding new ways of talking, fresh forms of interacting, and novel ways of distinguishing and connecting. To investigate these issues a theoretical approach has been taken. To deal with the individual dimension on knowledge creation, literature on creativity has been explored and discussed. Three paradigms in the creativity literature have been identified; a pragmatic, a social-personal, and a cognitive paradigm. Three important aspects have been extracted; Motivation, movement, and mental structures. The second issue has been dealt with by looking into epistemology, more specifically the two works ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ and ‘Lila’ by the philosophical novelist Robert Pirsig. Deleuze’s ‘Difference and Repetition’ has played a supporting role. Four aspects on the creation of new forms have been found. These are; dynamic forms, things have multiple meanings, more creative play, and bodily knowledge. It is found that movement, dynamic forms, and more creative play, can complement Nonaka’s theory.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages100