Philosophical reflections on the concept of innovation

Vincent Blok*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In this chapter, we philosophically reflect on the concept of innovation. To this end, we distinguish between the innovation process and outcome dimension, and between the ontic and ontological dimension of innovation. The ontic dimension of innovation concerns beings like new artefacts, and the ontological dimension concerns the being of these beings. These distinctions lead to four characteristics of our understanding of innovation with several implications for the object of innovation and its novelty, as well as for the temporality and human involvement in innovation practices. It will turn out that innovation concerns the ontogenetic process in which primarily a world is constituted - i.e. the digital world - in which the invention of new artefacts - i.e. blockchain technology - is embedded. This ontogenetic process doesn’t follow a chronological temporal order, but is constituted by a temporal iterative process. Human creativity is involved in this ontogenetic process as co-creative capacity. In section three, we show the advantage of our conceptualization of innovation and its implications for contemporary and future alternative theories of innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Alternative Theories of Innovation
EditorsB. Godin, G. Gaglio, D. Vinck
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781789902303
ISBN (Print)9781789902297
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


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