What is a new invention or innovation

Wikis in Organizations: From Invention to Innovation

Content and goals

Innovation research is closely associated with the scientist Joseph Schumpeter. In 1911 he published his fundamental workEconomic development theory. In it he develops the thesis that economic growth is based on the alternating process of invention and innovation. The concept ofInvention uses Schumpeter for the technical side of an invention, while he says "Innovation" addresses the economic and social implementation of the invention. Much of the innovation research is based on Schumpeter's thesis and particularly emphasizes the aspect of the diffusion of “finished” inventions. Innovation is considered as onelinear sequence of (organizational) research, development, production and marketing of products and / or services.

Invention and innovation can also take place recursively. This is particularly evident in software development. Here products and services appear to be in an ongoing development stage known asPerpetual betanever to leave. Such a recursive process from invention to innovation (and back) can also be adopted for numerous communication media. Recently, call in particularWikis some attention. In the case of public wikis, like something like the free encyclopediaWikipedia - the technical invention has already achieved innovation status. Organizations, on the other hand, have only recently started discovering wikis for themselves. Whether this form of communication can also prevail in organizations and under what conditions is currently an open question. The research project aims to examine the usage patterns and organizational conditions under which wikis become (successful) innovations in organizations.

Research design / method

Luhmann's theory of social systems serves as the theoretical basis. Accordingly, we consider wikis as communication systems that accompany the autopoiesis of organizations. How the process differs from theInvention toinnovation designed is one of our research questions. Furthermore, a theoretically well-founded classification of wikis is to be developed, which can be used as a basis for a successful implementation of wikis in organizations. The scientific methods used are surveys, expert interviews, participant observations, as well as computer-based analysis of hyperlink topologies, change histories, co-author networks andPage Rank Algorithms used.


Symposium "Wikis in Organizations"

To present the results of the research project, an expert symposium took place in Bamberg in 2009; a summary is available here.

"Wiki Explorer" software tool

The Wiki Explorator tool was developed as part of the "Wikis in Organizations" project. With the help of this online service, administrators of a MediaWiki can generate a PDF report that offers general statistics as well as network analyzes.

As an additional bonus, the Wiki Explorators provides the code to create Flash animations of the collaboration in wikis with the help of SoNIA.