Rethinking Communication in Innovation Processes: Creating Space for Change in Complex Systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper systematically rethinks the role of communication in innovation processes, starting from largely separate theoretical developments in communication science and innovation studies. Literature review forms the basis of the arguments presented. The paper concludes that innovation is a collective process that involves the contextual re-ordering of relations in multiple social networks. Such re-ordering cannot be usefully understood in terms of ‘diffusing’ ready-made innovations. Hence, we need to think about communication as playing a role in innovation development and ‘design’. In such development processes, everyday communicative exchanges and self-organisation among societal agents are likely to be of critical significance in connection with the re-ordering of social relationships. In this light, the role of communication professionals and deliberate communication is often overstated or misinterpreted. Instead of striving for predefined change, communication professionals should facilitate that ‘the potential for change’ in complex dynamical settings increases. This includes efforts to enhance the survival chances of existing initiatives for change, by facilitating that they become more effectively adapted and/or linked to their dynamic selection environment than competing initiatives. This implies that communication professionals must play broader intermediary roles than before. A systematic rethinking of the role of communication in innovation processes in view of recent developments in communication sciences, innovation studies and complex systems thinking is largely absent. This paper fills a void.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-36
JournalJournal of Agricultural Education and Extension
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Fingerprint

communication (human)
innovation
Communication
communication
communication sciences
self-organization
Professional Role
social networks
self organization
social network
Systems Analysis
literature review
Social Support
void

Cite this

@article{1d05d60ddcd74f42be6395bd8160b26e,
title = "Rethinking Communication in Innovation Processes: Creating Space for Change in Complex Systems",
abstract = "This paper systematically rethinks the role of communication in innovation processes, starting from largely separate theoretical developments in communication science and innovation studies. Literature review forms the basis of the arguments presented. The paper concludes that innovation is a collective process that involves the contextual re-ordering of relations in multiple social networks. Such re-ordering cannot be usefully understood in terms of ‘diffusing’ ready-made innovations. Hence, we need to think about communication as playing a role in innovation development and ‘design’. In such development processes, everyday communicative exchanges and self-organisation among societal agents are likely to be of critical significance in connection with the re-ordering of social relationships. In this light, the role of communication professionals and deliberate communication is often overstated or misinterpreted. Instead of striving for predefined change, communication professionals should facilitate that ‘the potential for change’ in complex dynamical settings increases. This includes efforts to enhance the survival chances of existing initiatives for change, by facilitating that they become more effectively adapted and/or linked to their dynamic selection environment than competing initiatives. This implies that communication professionals must play broader intermediary roles than before. A systematic rethinking of the role of communication in innovation processes in view of recent developments in communication sciences, innovation studies and complex systems thinking is largely absent. This paper fills a void.",
author = "C. Leeuwis and N. Aarts",
year = "2011",
doi = "10.1080/1389224X.2011.536344",
language = "English",
volume = "17",
pages = "21--36",
journal = "The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension",
issn = "1389-224X",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",
number = "1",

}

Rethinking Communication in Innovation Processes: Creating Space for Change in Complex Systems. / Leeuwis, C.; Aarts, N.

In: Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2011, p. 21-36.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Rethinking Communication in Innovation Processes: Creating Space for Change in Complex Systems

AU - Leeuwis, C.

AU - Aarts, N.

PY - 2011

Y1 - 2011

N2 - This paper systematically rethinks the role of communication in innovation processes, starting from largely separate theoretical developments in communication science and innovation studies. Literature review forms the basis of the arguments presented. The paper concludes that innovation is a collective process that involves the contextual re-ordering of relations in multiple social networks. Such re-ordering cannot be usefully understood in terms of ‘diffusing’ ready-made innovations. Hence, we need to think about communication as playing a role in innovation development and ‘design’. In such development processes, everyday communicative exchanges and self-organisation among societal agents are likely to be of critical significance in connection with the re-ordering of social relationships. In this light, the role of communication professionals and deliberate communication is often overstated or misinterpreted. Instead of striving for predefined change, communication professionals should facilitate that ‘the potential for change’ in complex dynamical settings increases. This includes efforts to enhance the survival chances of existing initiatives for change, by facilitating that they become more effectively adapted and/or linked to their dynamic selection environment than competing initiatives. This implies that communication professionals must play broader intermediary roles than before. A systematic rethinking of the role of communication in innovation processes in view of recent developments in communication sciences, innovation studies and complex systems thinking is largely absent. This paper fills a void.

AB - This paper systematically rethinks the role of communication in innovation processes, starting from largely separate theoretical developments in communication science and innovation studies. Literature review forms the basis of the arguments presented. The paper concludes that innovation is a collective process that involves the contextual re-ordering of relations in multiple social networks. Such re-ordering cannot be usefully understood in terms of ‘diffusing’ ready-made innovations. Hence, we need to think about communication as playing a role in innovation development and ‘design’. In such development processes, everyday communicative exchanges and self-organisation among societal agents are likely to be of critical significance in connection with the re-ordering of social relationships. In this light, the role of communication professionals and deliberate communication is often overstated or misinterpreted. Instead of striving for predefined change, communication professionals should facilitate that ‘the potential for change’ in complex dynamical settings increases. This includes efforts to enhance the survival chances of existing initiatives for change, by facilitating that they become more effectively adapted and/or linked to their dynamic selection environment than competing initiatives. This implies that communication professionals must play broader intermediary roles than before. A systematic rethinking of the role of communication in innovation processes in view of recent developments in communication sciences, innovation studies and complex systems thinking is largely absent. This paper fills a void.

U2 - 10.1080/1389224X.2011.536344

DO - 10.1080/1389224X.2011.536344

M3 - Article

VL - 17

SP - 21

EP - 36

JO - The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension

JF - The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension

SN - 1389-224X

IS - 1

ER -