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Whatever works: uncertainty and technological hybrids in medical innovation


  • Barbera, David


  • Consoli, Davide


The persistent uncertainty that looms over the search for solutions to health problems offers important conceptual insights for the study of technological change. This paper explores the notion of hybridization, namely the embodiment of multiple competing operational principles within a single medical device, as strategy to deal with the practical shortcomings due to said uncertainty. The history of the development of the hybrid artificial disk affords the elaboration of an alternative view of hybridization and, at the same time, the articulation of a dualism between medical science as area of basic research (e.g. what disease is) and as practical knowledge (e.g. how disease can be tackled).

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  • Barbera, David & Consoli, Davide, 2011. "Whatever works: uncertainty and technological hybrids in medical innovation," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201112, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV), revised 16 Feb 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:ing:wpaper:201112

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    Cited by:

    1. Ivlev, Ilya & Vacek, Jakub & Kneppo, Peter, 2015. "Multi-criteria decision analysis for supporting the selection of medical devices under uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 247(1), pages 216-228.
    2. Ronnie Ramlogan & Davide Consoli, 2014. "Dynamics of collaborative research medicine: the case of glaucoma," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 544-566, August.
    3. Thune, Taran & Mina, Andrea, 2016. "Hospitals as innovators in the health-care system: A literature review and research agenda," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1545-1557.

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    Medical innovation; Hybridization; Uncertainty; Technological evolution; Implantable medical devices;

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