Seeking the Face of Innovation with the Ethical Compass of Emmanuel Lévinas

  • Gabriel J. Costello
  • Brian Donnellan
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-87503-3_6

Part of the IFIP – The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 287)
Cite this paper as:
Costello G.J., Donnellan B. (2008) Seeking the Face of Innovation with the Ethical Compass of Emmanuel Lévinas. In: León G., Bernardos A.M., Casar J.R., Kautz K., De Gross J.I. (eds) Open IT-Based Innovation: Moving Towards Cooperative IT Transfer and Knowledge Diffusion. TDIT 2008. IFIP – The International Federation for Information Processing, vol 287. Springer, Boston, MA


A recent biographer has described the philosophy of Emmanuel Lévinas as being permeated by one simple but profound theme: Western philosophy has at best ignored and at worst suppressed the “Other.” The approach of this study involved a concept-centric examination of innovation terminology assembled from key papers in the area. The analysis presents evidence of the lack of regard in the literature for the human dimension, with the notable exception of the work of Andrew Van de Ven and his collaborators. Consequently, an ethical definition of innovation is proposed inspired by the theoretical lens of Lévinas. We argue that the work makes a practical and philosophical contribution to the emerging debate on ethics by the Information Systems community. Furthermore, we suggest that our analysis has implications for diffusion of innovations research increasingly being carried out in an open-innovation paradigm.


Emmanuel Lévinas ethics phenomenology Claudio Ciborra Andrew Van de Ven 
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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel J. Costello
    • 1
  • Brian Donnellan
    • 2
  1. 1.Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Centre for Innovation and Structural ChangeNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland
  2. 2.Business Information Systems GroupNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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