Armchair travelling the innovation journey

Authors Tanja Enninga
Publication date 31 October 2018
Research groups Co-design
Type Doctoral Thesis


The promotor was Prof. Erik Jan Hultink and copromotors Dr Ellis van den Hende en Dr R. van der Lugt. The title of this dissertation is Armchair travelling the innovation journey. ‘Armchair travelling’ is an expression for travelling to another place, in the comfort of one’s own place. ‘The innovation journey’ is the metaphor Van de Ven and colleagues (1999) have used for travelling the uncharted river of innovation, the highly unpredictable and uncontrollable process of innovation. This research study began with a brief remark from an innovation project leader who sighed after a long and rough journey: ‘had I known this ahead of time…’. From wondering ‘what could he have known ahead of time?’ the immediate question arose: how do such innovation journeys develop? How do other innovation project leaders lead the innovation journey? And could I find examples of studies about these experiences from an innovation project leader’s perspective that could have helped the sighing innovation project leader to have known at least some of the challenges ahead of time? This dissertation is the result of that quest, as we do know relatively little how this process of the innovation project leader unfolds over time. The aim of this study is to increase our understanding of how innovation project leaders lead their innovation journeys over time, and to capture those experiences that could be a source for others to learn from and to be better prepared. This research project takes a process approach. Such an approach is different from a variance study. Process thinking takes into account how and why things – people, organizations, strategies, environments – change, act and evolve over time, expressed by Andrew Pettigrew (1992, p.10) as catching “reality in flight”.

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Language English
Key words Innovation, Project Management

Tanja Enninga