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Studying innovation processes in real-time: The promises and challenges of ethnography

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Industrial Marketing Management
Issue number6
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)933-939
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper discusses the promises and challenges of innovation ethnographies. We depart from the notion that innovation processes are highly contingent, messy and non-linear and examine ways in which these processes have been studied. Our focus is on the challenges posed by the use of ethnographic methods to study innovation in-the-making. Our discussion is illustrated by an example culled from a longitudinal, real-time study of an innovation process in the food industry, inspired by actor-network theory (ANT) and its injunctions to focus on controversies and follow the actors. We conclude that although innovation ethnographies pose plenty of theoretical, methodological and practical challenges, they remain a promising and powerful method to map out the complex and tortuous paths of these processes.