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Innovation Theory, Aesthetics, and Science of the Artificial After Herbert Simon

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  • Helge Godoe


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    In innovation, the role of aesthetics is important, possibly paramount, but this factor is not reflected in mainstream innovation theory and research. The paper suggests that aesthetics, supported by serendipity, imagination, and creativity constitute the core, i.e., the “soul” of innovation, and that these factors fuel the dynamics of innovation. These factors are set within a framework, a type of conceptual “iron triangle” or trinity of innovation consisting of: diffusion, entrepreneurship, and novelty. Within this, the novelty, this “something” new becomes an innovation because of diffusion, but the diffusion of the innovation is critically dependent on actors with an agency of promoting innovation, i.e., diffusion is pushed by entrepreneurship. Aesthetics fuels this dynamic together with factors related to serendipity, imagination, and creativity. The challenge of incorporating aesthetics and its associates in innovation theory may become feasible by adoption and further development of Herbert Simon's theory of the science of the artificial. The article suggests how this could be done; basically by redefining Simon's notion of the role of the “utility function” in optimization as one that is ruled by aesthetics. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

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    Article provided by Springer & Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET) in its journal Journal of the Knowledge Economy.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 372-388

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:jknowl:v:3:y:2012:i:4:p:372-388
    DOI: 10.1007/s13132-011-0055-6
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    1. Freeman, Chris, 1995. "The 'National System of Innovation' in Historical Perspective," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 5-24, February.
    2. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-1171, September.
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