Developing strategic innovation capability of enterprises: Theoretical and methodological outlines of intervention

Tapio Koivisto

    Research output: Book/ReportReport

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    The research focuses on the question of the theoretical and methodological basis on which it is possible and sensible to approach and analyse the potentials and limitations of innovation and the development of the innovation capability - in the specific context of communities of practice and situated action and decision-making. What kind of basic theoretical assumptions, basic concepts and methodological solutions are possible and sensible as a starting point in analysing the potentials and limitations of innovation and the development of innovation capability in the specific context of practical activities and decision-making? There is no ready-made, self-evident, integrating, systemic approach or theory to serve and direct the development of the innovation capability of enterprises. For this very reason, it was necessary to set, define and construct the subject, problem and context of research rather from the point of view of practice and cooperative inquiry - critically assessing, utilising and applying existing innovation research and the theory and strategic management concepts of the enterprise. Innovation activities and development of the innovation capability of enterprises are not necessarily a priori a self-evident and inherently valuable goal. Underlying this notion is the finding that the consequences of an innovation activity and innovation may also be harmful or destructive. The development of the innovation capability of an enterprise - and innovation activity as a rule - is a contradictory, paradoxical and hence a discursive process. Schumpeter once discerned the paradox of innovation. He called the double dynamics of innovation as a process of "creative destruction". Innovation means creation of new combinations of methods and machines and at the same time radical devaluation of produced values. What, at any point of time, a social practice is depends on how human agents interpret it to be. And different interpretations constitute different realities. In other words, actors in enterprises and the management itself may have their own theories of the reform and innovation of products, services and processes. Representatives of enterprises also have their own views on the innovation capability of the enterprise, as well as the needs and challenges for its development - including the idea that no such development needs actually exist. The views of the active actors play a central and fundamental role as regards practical activities and decision-making. Practical decision-making and activity are linked to a wider network and context consisting of many specialised actors and decision-makers. Practitioners and decision-makers are connected to a world, enterprise population and context of a certain sector that are distributed and multicentered in terms of the division of labour. Organisation is not a strategically isolated entity. It is one element in a broader population of organisations, each of which is using the others as a reference point for their own strategising and sense making activities. The development of the innovation capability of an enterprise refers here to collaborative joint efforts and "productive inquiry and development" (Dewey) of the firm's innovation capability between researchers and the firm's representatives. Research and development work builds on the reflexive intervention methodology and heuristic principles. This leads us to the question of how the development of a firm's innovation capability can be perceived so that it makes sense. This, again, requires specific insight into "innovation capability", the "enterprise" as well as the mechanisms affecting the innovation capability of enterprises. The key conclusion of the publication is that the self-referential, autopoietic and paradoxical nature of organisations, enterprises and practical operations in general must be taken seriously in research and development. The solutions proposed by Jan-Peter Vos are on that remarkably promising. The solutions and models developed by Jan-Peter Vos also offer an applicable and viable basis for the development of the strategic innovation capability of enterprises.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages124
    ISBN (Electronic)951-38-6684-X
    ISBN (Print)951-38-6683-1
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Publications


    • companies
    • research and development
    • innovation
    • strategic innovations
    • small and medium-sized enterprices
    • SMEs
    • industry
    • institutions
    • innovation policy
    • globalization


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