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Title: Discovery processes & the organization of innovation
Author: Kandasamy, Gajendran
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 9545
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2011
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The thesis comprises four key papers, which provide fresh perspectives pertaining to the key factors in the management of innovation: new ideas, people, transactions and institutions. First, a model of discovery is proposed, highlighting the importance of problem reshaping and shifting in addition to usual problem solving approach. To illustrate how they can be incorporated within existing models, the conventional NK model is adapted in a novel way that not necessarily constrains agents to local optima nearby. The extended model is then used to study effects of curiosity and conditions under which analogy, recombination or local search would be effective. Building on this model, we show how satisficing behaviour of agents can be described by using cognitive constructs such as attention and stimulus, which moderate the gap between local (agent) and non-local (real-world) information. Second, Innovation entails the interfacing of communities with different traditions and aspirations, in particular, the science and business domains. Through a quasi-experimental design, we explore the micro-foundations of the contact and conflict which define the science-business divide, strategies for mitigating discordance and exploit synergies are discussed. Third, the attempt to understand innovation as intra-firm or inter-firm process from a consistent perspective within the existing theories of the firm has provoked a reconceptualization of the 'firm'. A reductionist approach at the level of actions and assets of the firm is found to achieve this reconciliation and also helps introduce the concepts of quasi-boundary to appreciate interaction of firms with the market and the institutions. Third, the innovation process occasionally faces institutional impediments. One of the preeminent changes has been the involvement of the universities in innovation system, where its full commercial potential was realized over a century. The historical observation of how multiple institutions were reformed provides new insights into the mechanism of institutional entrepreneurship. Finally, consolidation of each of the factors requires acknowledgment that the innovation process exists in the context of each other, and are subject to evolution and extraneous influences. The conclusion is an attempt at synthesizing the four factors towards understanding the overarching dynamics in the innovation ecosystem. To leverage on the independent developments at each level, a proposal to build a consistent multi-level coherent framework for innovation is suggested.
Supervisor: George, Gerard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral