Complexity Perspectives in Innovation and Social Change

  • David Lane
  • Denise Pumain
  • Sander Ernst van der Leeuw
  • Geoffrey West

Part of the Methodos Series book series (METH, volume 7)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-IX
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. David Lane, Robert Maxfield, Dwight Read, Sander van der Leeuw
      Pages 1-7
  3. From Biology to Society

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. David Lane, Robert Maxfield, Dwight Read, Sander van der Leeuw
      Pages 11-42
    3. Dwight Read, David Lane, Sander van der Leeuw
      Pages 43-84
    4. Sander van der Leeuw, David Lane, Dwight Read
      Pages 85-116
  4. Innovation and Urban Systems

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 195-195
    2. Anne Bretagnolle, Denise Pumain, Céline Vacchiani-Marcuzzo
      Pages 197-220
    3. Luíis M.A. Bettencourt, Josée Lobo, Geoffrey B. West
      Pages 221-236
    4. Denise Pumain, Fabien Paulus, Céline Vacchiani-Marcuzzo
      Pages 237-260
  5. Innovation and Market Systems

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 261-261
    2. Federica Rossi, Paolo Bertossi, Paolo Gurisatti, Luisa Sovieni
      Pages 289-310
    3. Federica Rossi, Margherita Russo
      Pages 311-327
  6. Modeling Innovation and Social Change

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 329-329
    2. Denise Pumain, Lena Sanders, Anne Bretagnolle, Benoît Glisse, Hélène Mathian
      Pages 331-360
    3. Roberto Serra, Marco Villani, David Lane
      Pages 361-388
    4. Davide Ferrari, Dwight Read, Sander van der Leeuw
      Pages 389-412
    5. Marco Villani, Stefano Bonacini, Davide Ferrari, Roberto Serra
      Pages 413-432
    6. Dirk Helbing, Christian Kühnert, Stefan Lämmer, Anders Johansson, Björn Gehlsen, Hendrik Ammoser et al.
      Pages 433-450
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 481-492

About this book


Innovation is nowadays a question of life and death for many of the economies of the western world. Yet, due to our generally reductionist scientific paradigm, invention and innovation are rarely studied scientifically. Most work prefers to study its context and its consequences. As a result, we are as a society, lacking the scientific tools to understand, improve or otherwise impact on the processes of invention and innovation. This book delves deeply into that topic, taking the position that the complex systems approach, with its emphasis on ‘emergence’, is better suited than our traditional approach to the phenomenon. In a collection of very coherent papers, which are the result of an EU-funded four year international research team’s effort, it addresses various aspect of the topic from different disciplinary angles. One of the main emphases is the need, in the social sciences, to move away from neo-darwinist ‘population thinking’ to ‘organization thinking’ if we want to understand social evolution. Another main emphasis is on developing a generative approach to invention and innovation, looking in detail at the contexts within which invention and innovation occur, and how these contexts impact on the chances for success or failure. Throughout, the book is infused with interesting new insights, but also presents several well-elaborated case studies that connect the ideas with a substantive body of ‘real world’ information.

The research presented in this volume, developed in the EC-funded Project ISCOM (Information Society as a Complex System), takes off from two fundamental premises: -- to guide innovation policies, taking account of the social, economic and geographic dimensions of innovation processes are at least as critical as the science and technology; and -- complex systems science is essential for understanding these dimensions.


Agent based modelling Complex Systems Europe Innovation Studies Nation Social Evolution Social Sciences Urban Systems networks organization organizations prehistory social systems technology

Editors and affiliations

  • David Lane
    • 1
  • Denise Pumain
    • 2
  • Sander Ernst van der Leeuw
    • 3
  • Geoffrey West
    • 4
  1. 1.Università Modena e Reggio Emilia Fac. Economia41100 ModenaItaly
  2. 2.Universités Paris 1 CNRS UMR Géographie-Cités75006 ParisFrance
  3. 3.Arizona State University School of Human Evolution & Social ChangeTempe AZ 85287-2402USA
  4. 4.Santa Fe InstituteSanta Fe NM 87501USA

Bibliographic information