PhD Thesis “Everyday-Oriented Innovation”

– Towards a methodological framework for exploring and mapping radical innovation opportunities within everyday activities.


The exploration of radical innovation has long been regarded as fundamental to business growth. In the 21st century, modern organisations increasingly seek to combine business innovation with the broader goal to confront social and environmental challenges. Vision projects are a related phenomenon which explore and map radical innovation opportunities within everyday activities. The aim of a vision project is to produce an innovation map that can empower an organisation to navigate between potential innovation opportunities and pro-actively confront modern challenges for the benefit of people, business, and society.

The study seeks to improve the innovation map’s qualities as a navigational instrument by modelling a methodological framework for vision projects. It was conducted as a series of four research cycles which modelled and experimented with different methodological approaches. The modelling was based on desktop research of theory and methods, and the methodological approaches were tested in experiments with participation of students from DTU and TU Delft. Gradually, the study built up an understanding of how different types of methodological measures can improve the navigational qualities of innovation maps.

The study finds that a new body of knowledge, developed around practice theory from the field of sociology, can effectively uncover the fundamental conditions which shape everyday activities and, thereby, significantly improve the navigational qualities of innovation maps. The findings document the importance of constructing a framework on the basis of reflections about the worldviews that are propagated by different framework elements, such as methods and techniques. In the context of vision projects, the study further specifies the potential of sociological perspectives on reality as an alternative to the rational systems theoretical perspectives, that are the dominant foundation for innovation methods today.

Finally, the study presents the main elements of a new methodological framework based on a practice-oriented approach and discusses its implications in a wider context.

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