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Networks of InnovationChange and Meaning in the Age of the Internet$
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Ilkka Tuomi

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269051

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269051.001.0001

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Innovation as Multifocal Development of Social Practice

Innovation as Multifocal Development of Social Practice

(p.8) Chapter 2 Innovation as Multifocal Development of Social Practice
Networks of Innovation

Ilkka Tuomi

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces some main concepts and assumptions that underlie the present work. It points out that innovation is fundamentally about social change, and that innovations emerge and become articulated when they are taken into meaningful use in social practice. It argues that meaningful use — as well as the meaning of technology itself — is grounded on social groups that can be called practice-related communities. As a result, innovation and technological change can be studied as phenomena that occur within an ecology of such communities. Construction of technology requires construction of meaning, and new technology is much more than improved functionality. Instead of the ‘upstream’ of the traditional linear model of innovation, we have to focus on the ‘downstream’ where social communication and change occurs. All innovation is social innovation. Innovation does not happen ‘out there’ in the world of objects, but in society and in minds. More particularly, it happens in the minds of the users, which are intrinsically integrated with the activities of the users. Those cultural and material resources that are available for the users, therefore, become key resources in the innovation process.

Keywords:   social practice, social change, cultural resources, technology

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