Claes Andersson
Petter Törnberg and Anton Törnberg


Insite Project

May 09, 2014


  1. INNOVATION THEORY AND MODELS Claes Andersson With Petter Törnberg and

    Anton Törnberg
  2. Activities • Theoretical work – INSITE and MD • Workshop

    series  March 21-23 2012 ”Innovation, society and complexity: a dynamics of detecting, solving and creating problems”  March 18-22 2013 “Transition and stasis in society and biology: models, theories and narratives”  May 4-8 2014: “New data – old theories: the future of theorizing about innovation in complex adaptive systems” This workshop series has attracted a large number of top people from a variety of disciplines interested in innovation from a variety of disciplines.
  3. Insight of INSITE Innovation is a highly general type of

    dynamics! Innovation in complex adaptive systems (e.g. biology, social systems, cognition...) Considerable general scientific interest Broad potential impact: INSITE has been important for getting the community to think more about this!
  4. A general view of innovation We need new theory -

    why? We need it to understand aspects of innovation that are important for INSITE’s purposes... Old theory is not enough
  5. Intriguing times for innovation research New data and new questions

    Friction with old theories! Old theories: • Fail to address sustainability issues (social science) • Are undermined by all this new data (biology,archaeology)
  6. New takes on innovation across several fields In particular we

    have looked at (in addition to INSITE in-house stuff): • Developmental evolutionary theory • Transition research/Technical change theory Why? Because they contain important insights into innovation on a general level... Insights that go very well together with the theoretical base that went into INSITE New connection between biology and social science: • Focus on process and organization • Meeting half-ways • Biology not at all obviously only a donor of models this time
  7. The main ingredients • Exaptive bootstrapping (E.g. Lane 2011) •

    Generative Entrenchment (E.g. Wimsatt and Griesemer 2007) • Multi-Level Perspective/Technical Change Theory (e.g. Geels and Schot 2007) A provisional developmental model for cultural change on the evolutionary time scale (Andersson, Törnberg and Törnberg 2014) • Lane, D. A. (2011). Complexity and Innovation Dynamics. In C. Antonelli (Ed.), Handbook on the Economic Complexity of Technological Change (pp. 63–80). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. • Wimsatt, W. C., & Griesemer, J. R. (2007). Reproducing Entrenchments to Scaffold Culture: The Central Role of Development in Cultural Evolution. In R. Sansom & R. N. Brandon (Eds.), Integrating Evolution and Development: From Theory to Practice (pp. 227–323). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. • Geels, F., & Schot, J. (2007). Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways. Research Policy, 36(3), 399–417. • Andersson, C., Törnberg, A., & Törnberg, P. (2014). An Evolutionary Developmental Approach to Cultural Evolution. Current Anthropology, 55(2), 154–174.
  8. Agent-Artifact Space • Agents and Artifacts linked – a network

    • Change propagates in the network • Cascades of reconfigurations • Innovation triggers innovation
  9. Exaptive Bootstrapping E.g. Lane (2011) describes innovation in this Agent-Artifact

    space is described as Exaptive Bootstrapping; a five-step cycle: 1. New artifact types are designed to achieve some particular attribution of functionality. 2. Organizational transformations are constructed to proliferate the use of tokens of the new type. 3. Novel patterns of human interaction emerge around these artifacts in use. 4. New attributions of functionality are generated – by participants or observers – to describe what the participants in these interactions are obtaining or might obtain from them. 5. New artifacts are conceived and designed to instantiate the new attributed functionality. #1=#5 – It’s a bootstrapping cycle
  10. Structured space • Heterogenous and structured • Links differ in

    type and strength • There are clusters, hierarchy etc.: Agents and artifacts entangled within and across levels of organization and abstraction
  11. Hierarchy #1 - Regimes • Regimes: heterogeneous tangles of structures

    and institutions • Hierarchically nested • E.g. Automobility, computers, animal management. Automobility, for instance, is tangled up with ideological, technological and economical factors – stake holders with a range of interaction modes (competing, symbiotic, commensalist, parasitic, etc.) Major Regimes: strongly tied to the Core system Minor Regimes: more in- dependent of the Core system
  12. Hierarchy #2: Generative Entrenchment Changes cascade through the system: change

    in central elements have larger cascades Change is more likely to be preserved the ”better” its effect is. Changes near the Core have lower likelyhood of having a net beneficial effect This is because they have more dependent downstream elements The Core will have inertia and the periphery will be more flexible The Core is Entrenched Design Core Edifice Qualitative Flexibility Inertia Design Space Quantitative
  13. Flexibility because of inertia – and the other way around

    Central elements (nuts & bolts, general ideas, components...) define design spaces More peripheral elements have more the character of being designs in design spaces Sociotechnical systems are thereby flexible and inert at the same time The innovation society generates a profusion of innovation: but not ANY innovation! Notably: it is incapable of mopping up all the negative side effects of the profusion of innovations that it causes! The innovation society is entrenched: it is part of a design space within which we devise our solutions
  14. The Core The innovation society is part of what we

    call The Core An entrenched tangle of Regimes that make up ”a way of life” – a prevalent design space Innovation is subordinated to the pace set by this Core
  15. Transition: changing Cores Transition – and stasis – are evolutionary

    phenomena: Macroscopic patterns of unfolding Conceived as the replacement of an Old Core by a New Core Prodromal Bootstrapping Entrenchment Old Core New Core
  16. Prodromal phase – setting the scene Minor Regimes: Covering for

    the Core – things at the side that cover for things that it cannot really deal with... (social innovation?) Substrate: A ”soup” of Minor Regimes that survive in important but marginal niches... Where they are refined. The Prodromal Phase may be mistaken as a gradual accumulation of the New Core – it is not! We rely on the Core – changing it generates destructive cascades. But the substrate undermines it... Prodromal Bootstrapping Entrenchment Old Core New Core
  17. Bootstrapping Phase #1 Push – Pull: Two things needed for

    transition... 1) A Substrate of refined Minor Regimes that provide the embryo of an alternative 2) A destabilized Old Core: by the Substrate, by an accumulation of negative by-effects of its innovations, by external events... Prodromal Bootstrapping Entrenchment Old Core New Core
  18. Bootstrapping Phase #2 Once this happens – the Old Core

    no longer sets the pace! Innovation reaches the Core – to a large extent by building upon the Substrate of Minor Regimes... But also by re-organizing fragments of the Old Core into new roles! Cascades of profound innovation on a level that constructs new major design spaces Prodromal Bootstrapping Entrenchment Old Core New Core
  19. Entrenchment Phase Prodromal Bootstrapping Entrenchment Old Core New Core A

    New Core takes shape... The more that gets constructed on top of it... ...and the more refined it becomes... The more Generatively Entrenched it becomes