Achieving innovation or the Holy Grail: managing knowledge or managing commitment?
by John Waters
International Journal of Technology Management (IJTM), Vol. 20, No. 5/6/7/8, 2000

Abstract: Recent literature asserts that knowledge is the source of innovation and, consequently, that knowledge management is a key to innovation management. However, the literature is not informative about how knowledge actually leads to innovation. Knowledge that is no more than a potential for action cannot explain the acquisition and use of knowledge in innovation. This paper argues that achieving innovation, like the search for the Holy Grail, is primarily about generating commitments. This contention is supported by analysis of the role of commitment to innovation from both strategic and internal process viewpoints, and by presenting the elements of a theory of commitment to innovation. The paper supports the view that descriptions of innovation from within the psychological and organisational processes of organisations can be as valid as those that rely on objectified forms of knowledge.

Online publication date: Tue, 08-Jul-2003

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