Hoholm, Thomas and Araujo, Luis (2011) Studying innovation processes in real-time: The promises and challenges of ethnography. Industrial Marketing Management, 40 (6). pp. 933-939. ISSN 0019-8501
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This paper discusses the promises and challenges of innovation ethnographies. We depart from the notion that innovation processes are highly contingent, messy and non-linear and examine ways in which these processes have been studied. Our focus is on the challenges posed by the use of ethnographic methods to study innovation in-the-making. Our discussion is illustrated by an example culled from a longitudinal, real-time study of an innovation process in the food industry, inspired by actor-network theory (ANT) and its injunctions to focus on controversies and follow the actors. We conclude that although innovation ethnographies pose plenty of theoretical, methodological and practical challenges, they remain a promising and powerful method to map out the complex and tortuous paths of these processes.
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