Studies of Innovation: Challenges and Possibilities — The Researchers’ Perspective

  • Nina Rilla
  • Pekka Pesonen


The importance of innovations for long-term growth on economic and firm level has been widely acknowledged (Cantwell, 1999). However, the explanation of the term ‘innovation’, the main motor of industry and company renewal, has often been neglected. Moreover, the lack of common definition has been a hindrance, for instance, in making comparative studies (Johannessen et al., 2001). In order to explain innovation, we need, first, to make a distinction between invention and imitation. Invention is an idea or a model for something (Freeman, 1987), whereas in order for invention to be called an innovation, it has to be commercialized on the market by a business or equivalent (Schumpeter, 1963; OECD, 2005), that is, to be diffused to other parties beyond the discoverers (Garcia and Calantone, 2002). Imitation, on the other hand, is an innovation which has been copied by others (Marquis, 1988). Imitation has not by any means always been regarded with a negative connotation but has been highly appreciated activity; this is still the case today, since imitation can also be understood as technology diffusion.


Innovation Process Innovation Activity Innovation Study Industrial Innovation Industry Life Cycle 
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© Nina Rilla and Pekka Pesonen 2009

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  • Nina Rilla
  • Pekka Pesonen

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