Generative mechanisms for innovation in information infrastructures


This paper investigates how innovation of ICT based services takes place within existing

infrastructures, including the whole network of technology, vendors and customers. Our research

question is, how can an information infrastructure provide generative mechanisms for innovation of

ICT based services?

Building on a critical realist approach, our empirical evidence was a case study within an

international airline, aiming to diversify its services. From our analysis we propose that there are two

self-reinforcement mechanisms in information infrastructures. First, we identified the innovation

reinforcement mechanism, resulting in new services. Second, there is the service reinforcement

mechanism, resulting in more users and profits.

The practical implication of our framework is to show that although ICT-based innovation cannot be

planned and managed in detail, the innovation mechanism may help organisations to facilitate the

innovation process in a structured way.

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