A century ago the pace of innovation was very slow while businesses could count on an astronomically immense reward on a signification innovation but in the present business, environment innovation is paramount even to stay above the water (Kline & Rosenberg, 2010). The authors state there are so many things that could go erroneous with innovation even before it is done because of economic, technological factors and often other types of constraints all simultaneously.
Research organizations that had a good plan but that had something go wrong
Yoo (2013) talks about the rise and falling of Kodak fallowing the digital innovation which is the transformation of existing sociotechnical structures that were previously mediated by nondigital artifacts or relationships into ones that are mediated by digitized artifacts and relationships with newly embedded digital capabilities. Yoo, Lyytinen, Thummadi and Weiss (2010) indicate it was not because Kodak stopped innovating, in fact, it was the first company to build the digital camera on 1975 that was invented in 1969 at AT&T Bell Labs. The authors state thirty years late digital camera has become ubiquitous even integrated with mobile phones, GPS, wireless network and the web and it went beyond the original concept of just replacing it with an analog camera. Yoo (2013) state this is what drove Kodak to file bankruptcy at the year 2012 finally. Which was one of US iconic company suddenly disappeared into the shadows while new companies such as Google and Apple that did not even exist at the turn of the new millennium flourish.
An example that illustrates a potential impact for a sociotechnical plan
Elzen, Geels, Hofman and Green (2004) categorized sociotechnical theories in the transport industry into three namely sociotechnical landscape (broad processes and factors in society such as cultural development and climate policies), sociotechnical regime which is interaction between technology and society (such as interrelation between technology, policy, user preferences, infrastructures) and technological niches.
The example given by (Elzen, Geels, Hofman & Green, 2004) in expediting innovative changes in the transport industry that is usually slow, for instance, the initial development of the early internal combustion engine in the late 19th century, from the dominant horse-based regime, was nothing serious in terms of satisfying people’s transport needs. The authors gave an example of sociotechnical regime impact which can be either internal to the regime itself in the form of congestion in the mobility regime or come from the socio-technical landscape (such as the current pressure to curb CO2 emissions which affects more than just the transport regime).
Why it is relevant
Levitt (1988) state sociotechnical analysis uses action research principle to achieve the best result starting early in the research possibly by involving potential users in the diffusion process. Huse (1980) suggested the purpose of action research is to help the organization increase its problem-solving skills. This is achieved through a cyclical process of collaborative inquiry. For this reason, it is important to have an extensive evaluation of new technology use, new adoption decision, implementation procedure throughout the organizations use of innovation (Levitt, 1988). Huse (1980) state the key point of the sociotechnical plan and action research is to promote participatory or collaborative inquiry, organizational learning and increased problem-solving capabilities of the organization. The author suggested an intervention on three different levels: 1) organizational structural level: the formal organizational structure, and forms of control. 2) work-flow level: on the technical aspects of converting inputs to outputs, and the channels and networks of communication. 3) human level: on the more individual/psychological level of the organization’s members.
Two Forces That May Affect Innovation Idea
Björk and Magnusson (2009) define innovation idea as an idea that has been developed and implemented. For that reason that innovations originate from ideas (Boeddrich, 2004) has emphasized firms to have a sustainable flow of ideas from which to choose to innovate successfully. Björk and Magnusson (2009) state in present days businesses has broadened the traditional source of innovation from research and development to not only for product and services but also innovations on business models using sources both from inside and outside of the company. Shalley and Gilson (2004) categorize factors that affect innovation idea to social and contextual factors.
Creativity can, but does not always, occur in isolation (Shalley & Gilson, 2004). Creativity in an organization frequently is a product of an interactive process between coworkers and team members. As such, the social influences of others are important. Also, the opinions of others with regards to one’s work can influence how an employee perceives her job and organization (Salancik & Pfeffer, 1978). Björk and Magnusson (2009) state to increase the number of high-quality innovation ideas created by individuals, the possibility of interacting with other people should be supported and facilitated such as creating and supporting communities, using idea generation techniques in projects and other groups, increasing formal collaboration between individuals from different departments, and improving sharing.
Some authors argued the effect of specific contextual factors influence individuals’ intrinsic motivation that, in turn, influences individuals’ creativity. For example, (Amabile & Gryskiewicz, 1987) state research professionals have reported that intrinsic motivation is critical for creativity. Other traits that foster creativity according to(Tesluk, Farr, & Klein, 1997) involves risks taking as innovation is not always by trial-and-error, innovators have to be willing to try and to possibly fail. Contextual factors in the organization such as motivation of employees by leaders toward creativity are to ensure that they feel encouraged to take risks and break out of routine, safe ways of doing things (Shalley & Gilson, 2004).
A sociotechnical embraces the idea that all aspects of a system are interconnected, that none should take logical precedence over the other, and that they should be designed jointly. Technical and social systems are an interdependent and exclusive emphasis on any one component during design, for example on technology, will be sub-optimal (Karwowski & Salvendy, 1994). Kjellberg (2010) state management and planning of sociotechnical activities dealing with both people and non-human resources. Sometimes it is more technically oriented and sometimes more socially oriented, but never is one of the two components absent. Therefore management and planning will always be affected by culture. This aspect is important to take into account when working internationally. A management technique or philosophy that is appropriate in one culture can be inappropriate in another.
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Yoo, Y. (2013). The tables have turned: How can the information systems field contribute to technology and innovation management research?. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 14(5), 227.