1 Innovation and Sustainability, Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark4 Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
Towards a methodological framework for exploring and mapping radical innovation opportunities within everyday activities
The exploration of radical innovation has long been regarded as fundamental to business growth. In the 21st century, modern organisations increasingly seek to combine business innovation with the broader goal to confront social and environmental challenges. Vision projects are related phenomena which explore and map radical innovation opportunities within everyday activities. The aim of a vision project is to produce an innovation map that can empower an organisation to navigate between potential innovation opportunities and pro‐actively confront modern challenges for the benefit of people, business, and society. The study addresses the concern that vision projects do not produce sufficient navigational innovation maps, and seeks to improve their quality by modelling a new methodological framework. The study was conducted as a series of four research cycles which modelled and experimented with different methodological approaches. The modelling was based on desktop research of theory and methods, and the methodological approaches were tested in experiments with participation of students from DTU and TU Delft. Gradually, the study built up an understanding of how different types of methodological measures can improve the navigational qualities of innovation maps. The study determined that a new body of knowledge, developed around practice theory in the field of sociology, can effectively uncover the fundamental conditions which shape everyday activities and, thereby, significantly improve the navigational qualities of innovation maps. The findings document the importance of constructing a framework on the basis of reflections about the worldviews that are propagated by different framework elements, such as methods and techniques. In the context of vision projects, the study further specifies the potential of sociological perspectives on reality as an alternative to the rational systems theoretical perspectives, that are the dominant foundation for innovation methods today. Finally, the study presents the main elements of a new methodological framework based on practice theory and discusses its implications in a wider context.