Keywords: robust innovation, NTI, social innovation, social systems, meaning, functional differentiation, innovation management, sociology, advantages, object-related dimensions, temporal dimensions, temporality, social dimensions, newness, relations, relationships, others, self, social entities, social differentiation, segmented differentiation, stratified differentiation, Switzerland, crowdsourcing, service providers, economic outcomes, lower profits, profitability, open innovation, internet, world wide web, crowds, sustainable development, sustainability
New for whom? Initial images from the social dimension of innovation
The paper presents a system-theoretical concept of innovation differentiating between an object-related, a temporal and a social dimension of newness. Due to a so far strong bias to the two former dimensions an exclusive focus on its social dimension is imperative now. Innovations thus are introduced as new, exclusive forms of relations to oneself, to others and to the relationships of others. The difference these relations make is the distinction between social entities, i.e. the differentiation of social systems. Social differentiation can take three forms: segmented, stratified and functional differentiation. We thus can relate three types of relations with three forms of social entities and receive nine dimensions of sustainable innovation management. Using the example of a Swiss crowdsourcing service provider, the paper finally shows how rewarding the balancing of these dimensions can be, and that too strong a focus on an innovation's economic outcome may result in lower profit.