Innovation symbol systems: Multimodal grammars and vocabularies for facilitating mutual innovation knowledge

Stephen Fox (Corresponding Author), Mariale Moreno, Päivi Vahala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Symbol systems can provide topic-specific languages comprising multimodal grammars and vocabularies. Symbol systems can facilitate mutual knowledge for innovation when people do not already have a common language for effective communication about an innovation. For example, there can be a lack of common language among diverse participants at public co-creation workshops: especially when different participants have different perspectives about the same hyped innovation. In this paper, action research is reported, which involved the development of a multimodal symbol system for facilitating mutual innovation knowledge. Overall, this paper provides two principal contributions to the literature. First, criteria for topic-specific symbol systems are set-out with reference to relevant literature. Second, a practical example of a multimodal symbol system, which meets these criteria, is presented. Together, these contributions introduce new directions for research and practice concerned with facilitating mutual innovation knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-22
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Innovation and Knowledge
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • innovation
  • mutual knowledge
  • symbol systems
  • multimodal
  • grammar
  • vocabulary
  • hype
  • distributed manufacturing

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