The metamorphoses of innovation: systemic, intensive and responsible

Armand Hatchuel

Emeritus professor at MINES Paris-PSL

This article offers insights into present-day challenges facing businesses by examining key stages in the metamorphosis of innovation. There are three clear phases: the pivot to modernity with the systemization of design (1860-1947); intensive innovation rooted in disruptive design and the formation of new ecosystems (1947-2010), and present-day responsible innovation (since 2010), which is rooted in new business models and the formulation of civilizational commitments. In each case, the focus is on sources of new knowledge, underlying principles, and the main actors involved. Furthermore, none of these phases can be a substitute for another.

Each of them creates mechanisms that stay in place as the following phase emerges. The third phase, although it points to a new path, is founded on the two previous phases. Present-day businesses need to combine these different approaches if they are to meet stakeholder expectations.