In this paper, it is argued that innovation can be the result of a repetitive, multi-actor negotiation process. We present the case of an environment-related product innovation in a large multinational company that emerged as the outcome of a complex interaction process in which numerous external and internal actors negotiated to safeguard their own interests. This negotiation perspective challenges conventional economic views of innovations, in which new products and processes are regarded as exogenous variables, the outcomes of deliberately planned research, or the combination of technology (pushing) and market (pulling) inducements. Instead, innovation may be a non-linear, unpredictable process that involves multiple actors with divergent interests and that leads to outcomes that are collectively acceptable but not necessarily (sub)optimal.
Wijen, F., & Duysters, G. M. (2005). Negotiating innovation: product renewal as the outcome of a complex bargaining process. R&D Management, 35(1), 73-87. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9310.2005.00373.x