The International Handbook on Innovation

K. Narasimhan (Learning and Teaching Fellow, Bolton Institute, Bolton, UK)

The TQM Magazine

ISSN: 0954-478X

Article publication date: 1 August 2004




K. Narasimhan (2004), "The International Handbook on Innovation", The TQM Magazine, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 307-308.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

In total, 104 authors, both academics and practitioners, from 19 countries have contributed to this handbook. The handbook comprises 71 chapters grouped into 15 parts. The Introduction forms Part I and the Conclusion forms Part XV. The Introduction is written by the Editor, who is a Professor at the Department of Administrative Sciences in the University of Quebec en Outaouais, Hull, Canada. It provides a detailed idea of the contents of the handbook in 14 pages. Larry Vandervert, the author of the concluding chapter, is a co-founder of The Society for Chaos Theory and Life Sciences. He is a theoretician, writing in psychology and the neurosciences. He uses three integrative mappings to show the unity among the great diversity of ideas and issues appearing in the latter parts.

Part II is about the Nature of Innovation and comprises 15 chapters. It helps to understand the nature of innovation from human perspectives such as neurophysiological, psychological and social, as well as economic, management and business science. For example, Chapter 2 deals with the nature of individual innovation; Chapter 5 deals with the conceptions of giftedness and its implications; Chapters 6 and 8 deal respectively with innovation in services and ten critical success factors in product innovation; the role of flexibility and the effect of mood on creativity in the innovative process form the topics of Chapters 11 and 12. Chapter 13 is a long one (43 pages) dealing with case studies dealing with the thought process of innovation at the highest level of accomplishment. Finally, E-creativity and E-Innovation are covered in Chapter 15.

Individual Differences in Innovative Ability, is the subject of Part III, a single chapter. In this chapter it is argued that “art and science are on a continuum in which artistic thinking produces possibilities that scientists can evaluate for efficacy here and now”, by focusing on artists and scientists who have made contributions in both fields.

Development of Innovation across the Life Span, the subject of Part IV, is covered in three chapters. In Chapter 1, first the history of young inventors is reviewed and then a wide range of important findings about young inventors’ perception about the inventive process, their attitudes toward school, towards other students and an analysis of their inventions are provided. Chapter 2 address two questions: “How do great inventors appear?” And “How does their creativity manifest itself?” Finally, Chapter 3 looks at three case studies of innovations by frail elderly people and proposes nine principles of innovation, which include that the process of innovation is complex and that changing oneself represents one form of innovation.

What is innovation, and why measure innovativeness, and how to measure it in the context of research into invention, are covered in a short chapter, which forms Part V. Development of Innovation is the subject of Part VI, which comprises six chapters. A model for providing all students with opportunities for developing their creative potential is presented in Chapter 1; and Chapter 2 demonstrates how to direct the process of generating innovative ideas intelligently, by using a reflective thought process. In Chapter 3, an overview is given of the various types of creative training programs such as brainstorming and lateral thinking, and recent research findings are examined regarding their effectiveness for stimulating the development of innovativeness. In the next three chapters, 13 intuitive tools for innovative thinking, stimulating innovation, and the use of multimedia technologies in developing innovative ideas are covered respectively.

Part VII comprising nine chapters is devoted to the consideration of domain-specific innovations. The areas covered respectively are scientific innovations and the claim that they are a result of the process of ontological shifts; the reasons for the innovative capacity of Nobel Laureates in science; innovations in the social sciences and the birth of a new research tradition after the works of Herbert A. Simon, the 1978 Nobel Prize winner; poetic innovation; five strategic steps for systemic and sustainable innovation in music education; a review of studies on determinants of technological innovation; an overview of innovation in financial services infrastructure; and the impact of industry support for university research innovations in integrated electronic and related technologies.

Parts VIII and IX comprise seven chapters each and deal with Innovation in social context. Part VIII provides an overview of innovations in various contexts such as companies, universities, etc., at the group to international levels and their impact organizational members, innovation management and leadership. Topics covered include barriers to innovation and how to overcome them; how and why of creativity and innovation and the implications for competitiveness; importance of recognition and support to encourage creativity; the role of venture capital in innovation. Innovations in Social Institutions is the subject of Part IX; and innovations in organizations in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as in multi-technology firms, trans-national companies, universities in the USA, and the role of science parks in innovation are analyzed.

Innovation Management forms the subject of Part X, which comprises four chapters. Eight challenges faced in managing innovation are considered in the chapter. The next chapters deal with issues connected with managing technological innovation. Chapter 2 describes innovation patterns that typically take place within an industry, and Chapter 3 describes a constructivist approach to the understanding of managing technological innovation based on a survey of SMEs in France. In Chapter 4, four routes for further research are presented based on a review of 30 years of research on the role of promoters and champions in innovation, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Part XI is a single chapter on innovation leadership in which it is concluded that innovation leaders will always remain vulnerable, despite all their talent and qualities.

The role of market research and marketing in innovation are covered in he next two chapters, which form part XII.

Part XIII, the second largest part, comprising 11 chapters, covers examples of efforts, policies, practices or issues related to innovation in the following countries: Hungary, Singapore, Japan, Korea, India, Switzerland, Portugal, Taiwan, Canada, Germany, and Britain.

Part IV comprises two chapters. Future innovations in science and technology forms the topic of Chapter 1, which first describes scientific developments in genetics, brain science, information technology, space technology, etc., and then their practical applications. Future of innovation research is covered in Chapter 2, a rather short chapter (seven pages).

In Part XV, Larry R. Vandervert of American Nonlinear Systems, USA, first provides conclusions on the nature and development of innovation, based on the broad spectrum of ideas and applications (of artistic, scientific, and technological innovation) covered in Parts II to VII. Then, three integrative mappings are used to conclude that “a common social matrix resides behind all innovation” based on material presented in Chapters VIII to XIV.

The Handbook is very well compiled in a logical order and there are ample ideas and framework for research on various facets of innovation in a variety of situations. Most of the chapters end with a long list of references and the author index (34 pages) is useful addition to the comprehensive subject index.

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