Constructing successfully an innovation: A contemporary approach

Tobias Neumann

Student thesis: Master thesis


An increasingly fierce competition in the world economy let companies rethink their business model and approach of constructing innovations. Here, innovations become a crucial source of competitive advantage and distinguish the company in global market places. The notions to construct an innovation successfully differ significantly and also call for changes in the business model. The breadth ranges from closed company networks that generate an innovation process in-house to semi-permeable company boundaries to the actor-network-theoretic approach that calls for the incorporation of the socio-technical environment. Still, the question arises of how to construct a successful innovation. The thesis sets out to highlight the crucial break taken by scholars like Latour et at. (2002) compared to the still dominant linear approaches in the new development process. Four research questions have been developed to document the prevalent distinctions between the theoretic notions and focus on how to construct a successful innovation. The first one addresses the linear notions and how they explain success. Evidently, significant differences were observed. Still, as they follow certain patterns of linearity, an intersection could be identified. The second research question draws the attention towards the actor-network-theory and how it elucidates success. Latour et al. uses the idea of a whirlwind to illustrate the interaction of actors and spokespersons towards a socio-technical environment. Here, the success of an innovation is defined by the quality of the network being able to interesse various actors. The third research question is directed to the company of the case: Normann Copenhagen. In particular, the lamp Norm 69 has been the focus of an in-depth case study, which documents the realization of the actor-network-theory. The fourth and final research question analyzes the development of a whirlwind towards the new product development process of the “network” Norm 69 and provides arguments for its success as many actors were interessed. The thesis challenges traditional notions and introduces the Actor-Network-Theory by applying it towards a successful product. Still, certain issues were addressed and call for a reconsideration of the continuity of the ANT. The developed results may lead this notion towards a new theoretical dimension and support its applicability.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages86