Methods for innovation : the varying role of industrial research in DSM's nitrogen fertilizer business, 1925-1970

J.W. Rooij, van

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    Abstract

    In this article the varying methods firms use to innovate are central in an attempt to balance our understanding of innovation processes. Often, research-driven innovation attracts the most attention, obscuring the contributions of other company functions and of external technology. In this article, three key parameters are used to distinguish methods of innovation: scope (of the technological work undertaken), localization (who was involved in the firm) and source of technology (whether internal or external). Firms choose a particular method under the influence of its broader innovation strategy. This framework is used to analyze innovation processes in the fertilizer business of the Dutch chemical company DSM in the period between 1925 and 1970. The example of DSM shows that firms have used different methods of innovation simultaneously, even in high-tech and competitive industries, and well into the twentieth century. To focus only on R&D gives a one-sided view of innovation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)550-574
    Number of pages25
    JournalTechnology and Culture
    Volume48
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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