This paper studies the productive role of innovation in organisations. Using the post-structuralist insight that innovation is an open concept that can become performative, we shift the emphasis from analysing innovations themselves to analysing how the concept of innovation affects the organisational practices through which it acquires meaning. Deploying this framework, we studied the development of an innovation unit within TUI, a corporate tour operator. We found that actors interpreted innovation in different ways and that initially the innovation unit was considered a failure. The subsequent dramatisation of this failure resulted in a new version of this innovation unit that strengthened established actors and institutions within the organisation. Our study shows how the use of the concept of innovation in an organisation can both stimulate and hamper its innovativeness. Addressing this paradox requires sensitivity to the concept's productive role and evaluations of innovation that look beyond accomplished results.
- Corporate tour operators
- Open concepts