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Shifting PracticesReflections on Technology, Practice, and Innovation$
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Giovan Francesco Lanzara

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034456

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034456.001.0001

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Studying Innovation as a Phenomenon

Studying Innovation as a Phenomenon

(p.13) I Studying Innovation as a Phenomenon
Shifting Practices

Giovan Francesco Lanzara

The MIT Press

The different sections of Part I deal with theoretical and methodological issues related to how to do reflective research on innovation in real life practice settings. It sets up the frame to appreciate the field studies in Parts II and III. First, the ambiguous features of the practice setting in which innovation happens are discussed: the dynamic tension between stability and change, discontinuities, shifting and drifting phenomena, the gap between practice and method, the routine/background relationship, and the ambivalent role of the observer. The exposition relies on two illustrative metaphors: real-life practice as a swamp, and routine as a path in the wood. Then the main features of the design of a reflective inquiry are discussed, like first-order and second-order inquiry, backtalk and conversations, unremarkability. Finally, the idea of a theoretical narrative is articulated as a strategy to structure and interpret the findings of the field studies.

Keywords:   innovation, change/stability, shifting and drifting, research design, first-order/second-order inquiry, backtalk, conversation, unremarkability, theoretical narrative

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