1 Section for Planning and Management of Building Processes, Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 Department of Technology and Social Sciences, Technical University of Denmark
This contribution views innovation as a social activity of building networks, using software product development in multicompany alliances and networks as example. Innovation networks are frequently understood as quite stable arrangements characterised by high trust among the participants. The aim of the contribution is to challenge and transcend these notions and develop an understanding of innovation networks as an interplay between stable and dynamic elements, where political processes in innovation are much more than a disruptive and even a counterproductive feature. It reviews the growing number of studies that highlight the political aspect of innovation. The paper reports on a study of innovation processes conducted within the EU—TSER-programme and a study made under the banner of management of technology. Intensive field studies in two constellations of enterprises were carried out. One is a segment-collaboration between a few manufacturing companies and a software house, the other a complex and extensive innovation network. These studies show how negotiations, shifting positions of players, mobilising stable elements of the network, when developing new ones, and interplays between internal and external collaboration are integral and inevitable in the product development process. This leads to an understanding of a networking paradox: in seeking to reduce political uncertainties of one type, actors engage with others and build collaborative relationships which themselves lead to other and new political issues that have to be tackled.