The Quest for Innovation in Information Systems Research: Recognizing, Stimulating, and Promoting Novel and Useful Knowledge

Varun Grover
Fred Niederman


Research in Information Systems (IS) is often challenged in the review process with the “what’s new” and the “so what” questions. While we believe that there is innovation in IS research, constituents in the field do not have a good, or at least a consistent understanding of what this entails. This creates a problem for editors, authors, and reviewers in assessing how innovative a study is, or what aspects of the work are indeed innovative. This paper is a response to this concern as we take on the challenging task of recognizing innovation in IS research. At the most basic level we offer a structure that examines a variety of ways that innovation may be manifested in our research output. We describe, illustrate, and discuss the challenges of using our categories of innovative research. We hope that such identification can stimulate and expand our capacity to generate innovative research and to recognize (and promote) it when it is forthcoming.