September 2018, “The dynamics of innovation in Aerospace and Defence (A&D) industries”, by Pierre Barbaroux*

Historically, Aerospace and Defence (A&D) industries played a pioneering role in innovation and diffusion of new technologies. However, they are today facing internal and external pressures of all kinds, affecting their business models and justifying an adjustment of their invention and commercialisation capabilities. The digital and ecological revolutions, the intensification of international competition, the variety of knowledge and sources of legitimacy permanently upset their processes of design, use and value creation. All the components of A&D systems’ architecture are affected by these transformations: vectors, sensors, communication systems, individual and collective skills as well as regulatory frameworks are changing, therefore reshaping the technological landscape in which the actors of the A&D industries operate.

The thematic issue untitled « Dynamics of innovation in the Aerospace and Defence industries » of Technology & Innovation (Vol. 3, 2018) responds to the need to analyze these transformations. Building on a multiple-scale analytical grid, the nine articles which make up this issue illustrate how the dynamics of change operate across A&D industries, firm, operators and designers. The aim is to understand how automation, digitization and the functional integration of technologies, shape A&D innovation processes and modify both users’ and designers’ practices, skills and knowledge bases. These dynamics of change open up opportunities for companies and users. At the same time, they threaten their competitive positions and Research & Development (R & D) models, and even their industrial culture. The arrival of new actors and the dissemination of new practices and behaviours, especially those stemming from the digital economy, justify on the part of established actors (i.e, Nation-states, companies, scientific communities and users) an effort of adaptation. To address these challenges, we should encourage the dialogue between disciplines. In this way, the thematic issue participates in the decompartmentalization of systems engineering, science and use-based paradigms that today govern the relationships between Technology and Innovation in the A&D industries.

*Centre de recherche de l’armée de l’air, Ecole de l’air, Salon de Provence, France, pierre.barbaroux@ecole-air.fr

August 2018, Crowdfunding: « Small brooks make big rivers » by Djamchid ASSADI*

The reluctance of conventional finance has visibly marginalized the financing of small and / or young innovative firms following the 2006-2008 financial crisis. This trend was aggravated by the narrowing of public aid for drastically reducing budget deficits. In this context, financing has become selective for the benefit of leading firms and those presenting guarantees for the return on investment on a short-term horizon.

By opening the way for small investors, crowdfunding turned out to be an alternative method of financing modest innovators and those whose motives were deviating from the reassuring guarantee sought by conventional investors.

Small investors unable to participate in conventional seed capital offers for lack of small amounts they could invest, have turned to projects that did not interest the venture capital and angel investors. Young and poor innovators also found funding from their loved ones and individuals who shared the same values for examples in projects related to arts or to academic research.

Crowdfunding has become a financing instrument for innovation. However, the different types of crowdfunding, credit, donation, equity and reward, do not represent the same interests for different levels of innovation, break-up or improvement, and different areas of innovation, ranging from creative industries to high technologies.

For a breakthrough innovation in high technology, which lasts seven to ten years between the invention and the market, the ceiling of one million euros of capital or social capital debt, legislated in France, is very far from needs. Crowdfunding then appears as a complement to conventional finance rather than a substitute. While for the improvement of an innovation or the launching of cultural innovations, crowdfunding could indeed secure funding.

Another major advantage of this type of innovation financing resides in testing the acceptability of the project on the market. In addition, by directly linking the project and the individual cybernauts, the visibility and reputation of innovation were significantly strengthened.

More: https://www.cairn.info/revue-journal-of-innovation-economics-2018-2.htm

*CEREN, EA 7477, Burgundy School of Business – Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté

July 2018,”Education and Development” by Vanessa Casadella*

Since the theories of Human Capital and Endogenous Growth, it is widely accepted that education is a growth factor and a means of combating all forms of poverty. The more educated a population is, the more productive it is, having a positive impact on economic growth. Education is a condition for changing social behavior and patterns of production and is a milestone in the competitiveness of states. This role seems reinforced in the new economy of information, knowledge and innovation and cognitive capitalism.

Therefore, the State has the responsibility to consider the school as its priority. The responsibility to give everyone the chance to flourish. Governments must ensure that those who remain excluded and marginalized are taken into account through more targeted education policies. When these policies are impelled, public decision-makers put in place numerous tools aimed at the widening and continuity of the educational offer, the improvement of the efficiency of the education system, the dynamism of technical education and vocational training or the promotion of the Learning Culture. Very often, educational policies are accompanied by institutional arrangements enabling them to reach their medium-term objectives more rapidly. These educational policies are very heterogeneous from one context to another, from one territory to another and from one region to another, and there is not always a perfect match between them and the quantitative and quality of schooling. Overall, illiteracy remains high in developing countries and primary school enrollment is still far from being democratized.

The case of Sub-Saharan Africa remains problematic with a combination of handicaps largely highlighted by the economic literature, O.N.G and international institutions. With 58 million children out of school in 2012, Sub-Saharan Africa has been most affected by the difficulties inherent in achieving the objectives of Education For All (E.F.A), defined by Unesco. Entire groups of the population remain excluded from the education system. Nevertheless, to present more encouraging results, the 2015 edition of the EFA Global Report shows that net enrollment rates in primary education have improved significantly, reaching 93% in 2015, compared with 84% in 1999. Promising results, but which show a great disparity. The great diversity of situations within the continent is the rule, even between countries that are geographically close, culturally similar or of comparable economic level. The debates on education and its policies are thus very controversial, given the diversity of actors, practices, territories, knowledge and know-how.

For further analysis, see:


* Université Picardie Jules Verne, CRIISEA, RRI

June 2018, “Socialization of innovation processes”, by Dimitri UZUNIDIS*

The entrepreneur and the company, through multiple partnerships, are at the center of an eco-system consisting of a collective of actors who mobilize various productive capacities (material and cognitive). In this case, by their functions, the company and the entrepreneur create collective innovation, but also promote the emergence of collective innovations: clusters, coworking spaces, FabLabs, Living Labs, etc. The “innovative milieu” promotes the development of innovation networks. It emerges in economies where knowledge (and therefore informational, scientific, technical, industrial and financial) resources and technological learning capabilities are important so that innovation can be as a collective adventure. Innovation processes have a causal relationship with a – technological, economic, and social – problem posed to the market economy and identified consciously or unconsciously by its actors. Innovation is thus linked to finding the optimal solution to this problem. This assumes the use of knowledge and information from practice, experience and scientific activity.

Innovation is itself a collective, cumulative and historical process defined by seven major characteristics: (a) the impacts of innovation are difficult to predict; (b) the diffusion scale of innovation is difficult to calculate; (c) innovative activities are asymmetrical and time-lagged; d) time for learning, execution and dissemination plays a key role in the act of innovation; (e) the business climate shapes the time, scale, nature and impacts of innovation; f) the space of realization, in other words the geographical and communication distances, favors or, on the contrary, hinders the access to the information and the strategic knowledge of the process of innovation; (g) innovations are interdependent; the risk of costs and time means that innovation is sometimes – or at the same time – a collective act and sometimes the result of the collectivisation of its inputs.

The strategy of an innovative organization is based on the three “A” model: analyzing its own strengths and weaknesses and those of the technical, economic and social context to anticipate change and act to adapt or, on the contrary, to lead change. Decision and power are the two key words of the management of the company. The decision-making system of the latter ensures the regulation of its activities. It is built by the game of power and control between its owners and serves to define the decision-making power of its “technostructure”. The company is forced to increase its size and strengthen its power in the market to not disappear. To that end, it must reduce the uncertainty that characterizes the functioning of the market by giving itself all the necessary means to capture, sort, process and use the largest amount of economic, technological, financial, commercial and political information.

The more changing the environment, the faster the turnover of capital, the faster the pace of innovation, the higher the business risk. Continued market expansion, integration and renewal increase business and financial risks. The company must then invest in forming a network of partnerships and / or integrating existing innovation networks to arm itself against these risks through access to rare skills and knowledge, thanks to the benefit it can derive from intra-network externalities or through the intensification of its relations with customers and suppliers. In doing so, the more the world moves forward, the more the company, by need of synchronization, contributes to the socialization of innovation processes and socio-economic-technological change.

for further information : http://www.openscience.fr/Issue-2-393?lang=en

*Research Network on Innovation (RNI), d.uzunidis@openscience.fr

May 2018, “Knowledge: the backbone of innovation processes” by Blandine Laperche and Sophie Mignon

The question of the engines of innovation is not new. When technical progress emerged from the black box in which neoclassical economists had locked it up, the origins of innovation became an issue in contemporary analysis in economics and management science. On the macroeconomic level, endogenous growth scholars have considered innovation as a phenomenon originating in the economic sphere and driven by private and public sector investments. Industrial economists have supplemented the analytical tools with a more institutional approach, based on the identification of the main actors involved in the innovation process and their relationships that form a glue of the isolated elements of the system. Through a set of rules and laws that provide incentives and constraints for private action, states are called upon to build a legal framework of accumulation conducive to the production of knowledge and to innovation.

The managerial theories as well as the micro-economic approaches also place innovation at the forefront of their scientific agenda. In particular, they study the dynamic capabilities of actors and, within them, the absorptive capacities that clearly open the company to its environment. The capture of information, the transformation of information into knowledge by learning mechanisms, the creation of organizational routines, the management and construction of proximity (geographical, relational, cognitive …) between partners involved in innovation processes are key factors of creativity and invention at the business level and crucial steps towards the diffusion of innovation to consumers. Not only the intrinsic quality of the project, but also the personal traits of the entrepreneur (his charisma, his leadership …), as well as his managerial skills are essential to face the risks of the innovation process.

These factors are critical to the success of collaborative innovation, now implemented in all businesses, large and small. It is now accepted that firms no longer manage their innovations alone. These are based on the contribution of several actors: customers, suppliers, competitors, universities, research centers. But open innovation is not easy to implement and especially the sharing and co-construction of knowledge depend on many more elements than the mere signing of a contract! The questions studied by researchers in economics and innovation management are as follows: What types of knowledge (codified or tacit) can be transferred? How to transfer the tacit or rooted knowledge needed for creativity? What is the role of relay/hub actors between two organizations? How do these knowledge exchanges contribute to innovation processes? At what stage are these exchanges the most intense? How to reconcile the exploration and exploitation processes?

By their respective contributions, the articles in these issues of Innovations (Innovation and Cognition I-REMI n ° 55, 2018/1 and Multi-Scale Innovation I-JIEM n ° 25, 2018/1) feed the reflection on the engines and the inter-organizational / individual dynamics between actors (users, suppliers, competitors) engaged in an innovation process.

April 2018, “Social Business and Innovations” by Pascal GLEMAIN* and Nadine RICHEZ-BATTESTI**

Over the past twenty years, we have witnessed an inflation of the social or solidarity qualifiers to name the company, the economy or the forms of responsibility …, often blurring the representation of what we call in France the “social and solidarity economy” (ESS). Thus the social enterprise and its english version Social Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Economy … are all expressions that are confusing. However, these “new” words cover realities that are important to understand and that affect the social economy, in terms of the new devices and organizations that it promotes (activity and employment cooperatives, solidarity-based finance, social innovation …),  and of the economic models that underpin it (race to size, social impact contract).

The debate on social enterprise is not new, but it takes a more radical and polarized dimension with contemporary debates a) on the enterprise, b) on the renewed modes of production and governance of social goods and services in place of public actors, and c) on the dissemination of managerial standards from the lucrative private sector. To the hybridization of the principles of exchange mobilizing the market, the State and the reciprocity, we see on the opposite the regulatory capacity of firms and of the market and the predominance of the economy at the expense of joint regulation in which debates on political and social choices are essential. The excesses of the commodification of the social are multiple. Social innovations are fragile … Experiences at the territorial level nevertheless seem to be promising and the new financing tools (endowment funds, participatory finance …) are very popular. In a context of radical uncertainty, the social economy and the social enterprise do not escape the ambiguities of emerging regulations and the massive changes in their ecosystem, in the companies that drive them and the financial models that support them.

The issue of Market and Organizations https://www.cairn.info/revue-marche-et-organisations-2018-1.htm jointly addresses the renewal of entrepreneurship and financing modes directly or indirectly affecting the “social and solidarity economy”.

*LiRIS, EA 7481, Rennes 2 University and CERMi – pascal.glemain@univ-rennes2.fr

**University of Aix Marseille and LEST-Cnrs- nadine.richez-battesti@univ-amu.fr

March 2018, “Systemic analysis, knowledge management and innovative SMEs” by Pierre Saulais*

Organizational innovation in innovative SMEs can be elaborated through different axes that require both a prior reversal of thinking, an ability to apprehend complexity, and a strong support from the corporate management team.

In a firm with intense knowledge activities, one of these axes can take the form of a corporate project consisting in designing and deploying in the SME a global knowledge management plan (KM) shared by all the actors by injecting ” the KM spirit” within them. The challenges of KM are to ensure the development, sustainability and effectiveness of the strategic knowledge of the innovative SME, in order to maintain the quality and relevance of its expertise, in an anticipatory vision of needs and to promote the transfer of knowledge between the actors.

In addition, companies with a “start-up spirit” are predisposed to optimizing the benefit of the systemic approach, the implementation of which constitutes a second axis of organizational innovation. Systemic analysis has the capacity to take into account the whole system integrating an individual, an element or a problem considered, in order to apprehend it by the interactions that it maintains with the other elements of the same system. In this, it allows to take on something that appears both complex and familiar, like our relationship to a corpus of knowledge.

Furthermore, taking into account the dimension of creative stimulation brought by the methodological principles of intellectual property as regards its approach of identifying originality and inventiveness represents a third axis of organizational innovation.

These different axes of organizational innovation are proving to be rich in operational applications, for instance in problem solving, in building entrepreneurial value systems, in systemic modeling of industrial activity, in learning systems, in reasoned system of knowledge.

See the special issue of the journal  Technology & Innovation: http://www.openscience.fr/Numero-1-365

* Institut Mines Telecom and IKI-SEA (Institute for Knowledge and Innovation South East Asia, Bangkok University)

February 2018, « Third Places and Coworking » by Sophie Boutillier

Emerging in the early 2000, the coworking movement, or collaborative workspace, emerged in San Francisco in the Californian universe of Web 2.0 and free software. The spaces of coworking are defined as “third places”, according to Oldenburg’s definition, which take place between the living space and the working space, as for example coffee shops or libraries where young innovative entrepreneurs meet to develop their project.

Thus the coworking would be a new mode of work organization based on a sharing working space, developed to promote exchanges and synergies between coworkers, and to promote innovation. The coworking is generally presented as a new revolution of work organization, as the Taylorist and Fordist revolutions at the beginning of the 20th century. While the worker of the 20th century was a robot-worker, placed in the incapacity to take initiatives, the worker of the 21th century would be creative, autonomous, flexible and responsible working in an open and collaborative space. Thus the spaces of coworking should be working spaces encouraging innovation under all its forms (product, process and organizational) in, a friendly working atmosphere, generally thanks to new technical tools, such as FabLabs and 3D printers.

These spaces of coworking can be created according three different ways: 1/ by local authorities who consider it a solution to push local economic activity, to create jobs and to promote entrepreneurship; 2/ by Schumpeterian entrepreneurs who have detected in this phenomenon a new entrepreneurial opportunity. In the media and in the Web, a lot of advertisings try to attract new coworkers thanks to low rents and user-friendly working spaces; 3/ by multinational firms, such as Microsoft, Google or Pepsi, which create in big cities free coworking spaces under an open innovation strategy, to pick up new ideas and innovations. So by these different ways, the creative capacity of coworkers is captured by big firms and Schumpeterian entrepreneurs.

Nevertheless, spaces of coworking do not attract only individuals with high capacity to innovate, but also individuals who are looking for a job, and who create by this way their job. In these conditions, synergic relations between coworkers do not exist. If coworkers can talk with each other about their projects in the cafeteria, the place of coworking gathers individuals with independent careers. In this context, synergic relationships do not exist.

What is, in these conditions, the creative and collaborative revolution announced? In reference to the system of louage during the 19th century, before the development of mass paid work, number of individuals are looking for a hypothetic employer, only technical tools are changed. The coworking spaces are multiplying around the world to attract the innovative capacity of some, while others, without paid job, create their own job. On the other side, Fordist enterprises always exist. This way of work organization has extended form industry activities to services activities since many years. Under the current productive system, the old and modern forms of work coexist, as well as the different means to capture the created value.

*Clersé, University of Littoral Côte d’Opale, France / Research Network on Innovation

January 2018, “Creative rationality and innovation”, by Joëlle Forest*

Since the last 15 years, financial support to innovation provided by public authorities, estimated today at ten billion euros, has been doubled in France. This support is extended to serve a national ambition that aims, on the one hand, to revive the economy and resume the path of prosperity in a context marked by growing international competitiveness and, on the other hand, a way of meeting the major challenges of our contemporary world (climate change, increasing scarcity of resources, health issues or the aging of the population). Unfortunately, we must mention that the multiplication of measures (we have apparently gone from around 30 support mechanisms in the 2000’s to 62 today) is not producing the expected results.

What then should be done to go beyond the stage of commanding innovation and to build an effective capability to innovate?

We will have to innovate in our way of thinking about innovation. More precisely, if, in 2014, 70.2% of the allocated state support related to the growth of private R&D capacities, it is because the conception of public policy in France is based on the linear innovation model inherited from J. Schumpeter. But this model has limits. The challenge is to think of innovation from its central process, namely the design process. Then it is possible to consider other possible means of action.

Adopting an artificialist perspective, the focus should be made on the creative rationality, which is the ability to bring together apparently distinct worlds, to find the unthinkable link between different actors like Johannes Gutenberg (the inventor of the printing press) or Bertrand Piccard (the father of the solar impulse project). Creative rationality is a form of thought that invites to knowledge crossing and leads to an adventurous transgression because the combination of knowledge belonging to different universes lead us away from the established norms and paradigms as it can be observe from numerous examples.

To move in this direction, the society must question the capacity of the educational system. The confusion between innovation and entrepreneurship is detrimental: our system is not conducive to knowledge crossing, or even “kills creativity” to quote Ken Robinson. It will then be necessary to rehabilitate creative rationality in the training for engineers. Such rehabilitation leads to the implementation of a “pedagogy of adventure”. It involves the indiscipline of students and teachings. Such pedagogy compels us to devise Human and Social Sciences that are not imported as such from universities, but become meaningful in engineering schools.

This book ends with raising the question of the extent to which the education system favors the deployment of creative rationality. After having caution against the risk of a harmful confusion between innovation and entrepreneurship and following the conclusion of an abundant litterature, this book explains how our education system harms the knowledge crossing and kills creativity to use the wording of sir Ken Robinson. Then the author strives towards the rehabilitation of creativity rationality in the training of engineers. Such rehabilitation leads to the implementation of a “pedagogy of adventure”. It involves the indiscipline of students and teachings. Such a pedagogy compels us to devise Human and Social Sciences that are not imported as such from universities, but become meaningful in engineering schools.

See: Joëlle FOREST, Creative Rationality and Innovation, Smart Innovation, London, Wiley, 2017 ; http://iste.co.uk/book.php?id=1246

This book dispels a number of myths surrounding innovation.

* University of Lyon, INSA Lyon


RNI Editorials

Share Button