Getting New Things DoneNetworks, Brokerage, and the Assembly of Innovative Action

Getting New Things DoneNetworks, Brokerage, and the Assembly of Innovative Action

David Obstfeld

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780804760508

Publisher: Stanford University Press


Mobilizing people to pursue action that “gets new things done” depends critically on the effective orchestration of social networks and knowledge sharing. This orchestration is vital to the pursuit of innovation, especially in a world increasingly reliant on collaborative projects that assemble actors with diverse interests, abilities, and knowledge. This book offers a framework—the BKAP innovation model—for conceptualizing how social networks and knowledge sharing combine to influence success for innovation in general, but especially where innovation is not tied to preexisting routines, as in the case of projects where, for example, an entrepreneur launches a new innovation or venture. The BKAP innovation model asserts that innovators exercise brokerage activity (“B”) and knowledge articulation (“KA”) within networks to mobilize action either in support of routine innovation (e.g., new product development) or, increasingly, in support of nonroutine innovation, that is, creative projects (“P”). Brokerage activity employs a combination of three strategic orientations: (1) conduit (or knowledge transfer); (2) tertius gaudens (or bridging while maintaining separation); and (3) tertius iungens (or connecting people, departments, and companies together). Alongside brokering in networks, innovators orchestrate knowledge through knowledge articulation to increase understanding and enlist innovation support. The BKAP model is applied to organizational innovation and other areas as diverse as artistic movements, entrepreneurship, and collective action.